Taking the Stigma Out of Yeast Infection

Candida albicans, a diploid asexual fungus, is fond of warm moist areas and starts multiplying very rapidly when it is able to find such an area within a human or an animal body. It is mainly responsible for vaginal yeast infection among women. The vaginal area becomes sore and takes on a flaming red color with a constant burning and itching sensation. If a vaginal yeast infection is really severe, the vulva gets swollen and the woman starts urinating frequently. Seventy five percent of women the world over suffer at some point of time in their lives from vaginal yeast infection.

Having yeast infection has been equated to social suicide because of its connotation of being a sexually transmitted disease. This is a serious misconception, however. Candidiasis is not a sexually transmitted disease per se. The only sexual thing about it is probably one of the many possible locations for this infection – the vagina.

The culprit for this condition (a type of fungus known scientifically as Candida albicans) is not exactly foreign to the body. On the contrary, it is one of the many microorganisms that are normally found inside the human body – in the mouth, esophagus, down to the other parts of the digestive tract, the urinary bladder, and most especially, in a woman’s vagina. This single-celled organism, among many others, comprises what is known as the body’s normal flora.

If we have this hotpot of potentially disease-causing microorganisms in our own bodies, why are we not riddled with almost every disease known to man all at one time? The answer to this is quite remarkable. Despite their multitude, a rather symbiotic relationship has formed between these organisms and the body. They contribute to or perform certain functions and in return, your body provides them with the environment and needed nutrients to proliferate. Their numbers, however, are constantly being kept in check so as to have enough to perform without eliciting symptoms of disease.

This is the ideal setup but if any disturbance or imbalance takes place in the body, this may lead some types of organisms to flourish more than others. If one of the more lucky ones is Candida albicans, then you get yeast infection. Factors that may prompt the emergence of such would include pregnancy, a diet high in sugars, the use of antibiotics, as well as steroids and oral contraceptives, and certain medical conditions where a person’s immune system has been greatly compromised, like in the case of cancer, AIDS, or transplant patients. Not even a mention of unprotected sexual intercourse, right?

Furthermore, candidiasis is not even restricted to just the vagina. As previously mentioned, C. albicans thrive in various parts of the body so the focal point of the infection, its symptoms, and mode of treatment may greatly differ as well, depending on the affected part. If the infection is indeed in the vagina, then the person would most likely report itchiness on the vulva area and a whitish, cream cheese-like discharge. However, if the overgrowth is in the oral cavity, then it would present white patches on the tongue and soft palate.

Therefore, be a little bit more considerate. Yeast infection afflicts just about anyone. You never know, you just might end up getting infected yourself at one point or another.

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