What Causes Yeast Infection (Candida Albicans) and How to Treat It?
Candida albicans, also called yeast, along with a few other types of bacteria are normally present in relatively small numbers in the crotch (groins). Sometimes, the yeast multiplies rapidly and take over, causing a full-fledged yeast infection, also known as candidiasis or moniliasis. This can be due to a change in the skin environment, injury, sexual transmission, or HIV.
Factors Supporting Growth of Yeast
Common environmental changes that favor yeast growth includes increased pH, increased heat and moisture, allergic reactions, elevated sugar levels, hormonal fluxes, and reductions in the populations of bacteria that are normally present.
These can generally be traced to a few categories of culprits:
- Antibiotics are probably the leading cause of yeast infections. Say you take an antibiotic to cure your sinus infection. The antibiotic kills the unwanted bacteria in your sinuses, but can also kill the “good” bacteria in your crotch, upsetting the balance of your local ecosystem, allowing the yeast to take over. (antibacterial deodorant soap can have the same effect.)
- Clothing: Crotch yeast flourish in non-cotton, tight, or dirty clothes that trap heat and moisture. Use unbleached, undyed cotton underwear and breathable clothes. It’s a good idea to change the underpants regularly, like maybe once a day. If at all possible, don’t sleep in underwear; if you do, put on clean stuff. Yeast can live in the underwear, so be sure to wash it well, particularly during and after a yeast infection.
- Chemicals, such as inks, dyes, and perfumes, can upset the balance in the crotch or trigger allergic reactions that lead to yeast infections. You should never soap your crotch. There are other, less obvious sources of nasty chemicals, for example, colored, perfumed toilet papers. If you think that’s a problem, try an unscented, undyed toilet paper, like Scott. Even better, use a recycled, unbleached eco brand. Similarly, some laundry detergents and fabric softeners have allergenic dyes and perfumes. Try an eco brand, or something like Arm & Hammer fragrance free detergent.
- Condoms can promote yeast infections in two different ways. First, a lot of condoms come packaged with a lubricant that contains nonoxynol-9, a spermicide. Nonoxynol-9 is linked to yeast infections. If you suspect this is a problem, try using a condom that doesn’t have a spermicidal lubricant, and use a different spermicide or additional barrier protection. Condoms can also cause yeast infections if one is allergic to latex, although this is less common. If this is the case, try some of the newer plastic (polyurethane) condoms.
- Steroids used in the treatment of disorders like arthritis, asthma, or lupus can contribute to yeast infections. Diseases such as diabetes also make the person prone to yeast infection.
- Sexual transmission: Candida can be transmitted between people by direct contact. If you or your lover has an active infection you should be extra-careful to follow the safer sex guidelines: wash your hands or change your gloves in between touching your own crotch and your partner’s. It’s not uncommon for a yeast-infected woman who has unprotected sex with a man to infect her lover, treat her own infection, and then get reinfected next time she has sex with him. If you think your male lover might have a yeast infection, get him some treatment, and practice safe sex at least until both of you are sure that your infections are gone.
- Weakened immune system: Person with compromised immune systems due to HIV or Lyme disease are extremely prone to suffering from yeast infections. In addition to the yeast infections, such people are particularly susceptible to thrush, a yeast infection of the throat, or esophageal yeast infections.
- There are many over-the-counter anti-fungal treatments available (e.g. monistat, terazol etc). These can be applied twice daily on the affected part for at least a week.
- Keep the area clean and dry.
- Wear loose cotton innerwears.