Systemic candidiasis occurs when Candida yeast enters the bloodstream and may spread (becoming disseminated candidiasis) to other organs, including the central nervous system, kidneys, liver, bones, muscles, joints, spleen, or eyes. Treatment typically consists of oral or intravenous antifungal medications. In candidal infections of the blood, intravenous fluconazole or an echinocandin such as caspofungin may be used. Amphotericin B is another option.
Because yeast can be present normally in the vagina of healthy women, not all yeast infections can be prevented. However, it is possible to take preventive measures that may reduce your risk of getting a yeast infection. These include always cleaning the genital area from front to back and changing out of wet bathing suits or damp clothes as soon as possible. Wearing loose-fitting cotton underwear can help reduce moisture and prevent yeast infections. Since chemical irritants can influence the balance of bacteria in the vagina, avoiding products with potential irritants like douches or scented tampons can also help. Regular baths or showers are an adequate way to cleanse the vagina, and douching is not recommended and may actually increase your risk of yeast infection.
Candida is the organism responsible for yeast infections, but it usually lives in the vagina in balance with bacteria without causing any problems. Changes to vaginal acidity and the balance of organisms can occur due to antibiotics, diabetes, pregnancy, hormonal therapy, contraceptives, or an impaired immune system. When that happens, Candida cells can multiply unchecked, resulting in a yeast infection.
In people who have a weakened immune system because of cancer treatments, steroids, or diseases such as AIDS, candida infections can occur throughout the entire body and can be life-threatening. The blood, brain, eye, kidney, and heart are most frequently affected, but Candida also can grow in the lungs, liver, and spleen. Candida is a leading cause of esophagitis (inflammation in the swallowing tube) in people with AIDS.
A laboratory test is usually needed to diagnose vaginal candidiasis because the symptoms are similar to those of other types of vaginal infections. A healthcare provider will usually diagnose vaginal candidiasis by taking a small sample of vaginal discharge to be examined under a microscope or sent to a laboratory for a fungal culture. However, a positive fungal culture does not always mean that Candida is causing the symptoms because some women can have Candida in the vagina without having any symptoms.
The first time you experience the symptoms of a yeast infection, you should see your doctor to rule out any other conditions. Even if you’ve had a yeast infection before, you should consult your physician if the condition isn’t improving despite using medication, or if you experience four or more yeast infections per year. You might need something stronger than what’s available over-the-counter. Finally, if your discharge has a bad odor, if you have a fever, or if you have other serious medical problems, you should definitely seek medical attention.
Birth control is available in a variety of methods and types. The method of birth control varies from person to person, and their preferences to either become pregnant or not. Examples of barrier methods include barrier methods (sponge, spermicides, condoms), hormonal methods (pill, patch), surgical sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy), natural methods, and the morning after pill.
An Anti-Inflammatory Diet PlanDiabetes Smart TipsLiving Well with Rheumatoid ArthritisLiving Well with Colitis or Crohn'sManage Your Child's ADHDMood, Stress and Mental HealthTalking to Your Doctor About Hepatitis CTalking to Your Doctor About PsoriasisTalking to Your Doctor About Rheumatoid ArthritisYour Guide to Diabetes ManagementYour Guide to Headache and Migraine PainYour Guide to Managing DepressionSee All
Here are some simple steps you can take that may help you avoid yeast infections: Don't douche or use feminine hygiene sprays, bubble bath or sanitary pads or tampons that contain deodorant. These items seem to affect the balance of acidity of the vagina, which can lead to an infection. Wearing cotton panties, avoiding tight-fitting clothing, avoiding regular use of panty liners and wiping from front to back after using the toilet can help you avoid yeast infections. Since the microorganisms responsible for yeast infections thrive in warm, moist environments, be sure to dry your genital area well after bathing and before getting dressed.
The 2016 revision of the clinical practice guideline for the management of candidiasis lists a large number of specific treatment regimens for Candida infections that involve different Candida species, forms of antifungal drug resistance, immune statuses, and infection localization and severity. Gastrointestinal candidiasis in immunocompetent individuals is treated with 100–200 mg fluconazole per day for 2–3 weeks.
Boric acid. Boric acid — a vaginal insert (suppository) available by prescription — may be considered to help treat chronic, less common strains of candida and candida that are resistant to azole medications. Treatment is only vaginal and is applied twice daily for two weeks. However, boric acid can irritate your skin and can be fatal if accidentally ingested, especially by children.
For the culturing method, a sterile swab is rubbed on the infected skin surface. The swab is then streaked on a culture medium. The culture is incubated at 37 °C (98.6 °F) for several days, to allow development of yeast or bacterial colonies. The characteristics (such as morphology and colour) of the colonies may allow initial diagnosis of the organism causing disease symptoms.
Guys can get an infection of the head of the penis that is caused by the same Candida that causes vaginal infections in girls. Guys who have diabetes or are on antibiotics for a long time are more prone to this infection. A guy with a yeast infection may not have any symptoms or the tip of the penis may become red and sore or itchy. Some guys might have a slight discharge or pain with urination as well.
You can treat a yeast infection with over-the-counter antifungal medications (creams, ointments, or suppositories for your vagina), or your doctor may opt to give you a prescription for a one-day oral antifungal like fluconazole. Changing up habits to ones that support vaginal health—like staying away from tight clothing, using an unscented body wash, changing pads and tampons often, and changing out of workout clothes after exercise—can help lessen the aggravation of symptoms or decrease the likelihood of recurrence, Dr. Atashroo says.
Expert Working Group on Canadian Guidelines for Sexually Transmitted Infections (2014). Canadian guidelines on sexually transmitted infections: Supplementary statement for recommendations related to the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of vaginal discharge. Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/std-mts/sti-its/cgsti-ldcits/disc-pert-eng.php. Accessed May 22, 2015.
Most experts do not consider yeast infection to be a sexually-transmitted disease, but cases of irritation and itching of the penis in men have been reported after sexual contact with a woman with a yeast infection, so it is possible for an infected woman to spread the infection to her male sex partner. Treatment of male sexual partners is not considered necessary unless the man develops symptoms.