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Yeast Infection Treatments That Work

Yeast (Candida albicans) is a common type of fungus found on normal human skin, especially the moist surfaces like the mouth, the diaper are and the female vagina. When the amount of yeast increases in proportion to other normal bacteria of the skin due to some conditions like hormonal imbalance, a yeast infection is said to occur, and problematic symptoms like excessive itching arise. Learn more about yeast infection and the different drugs used to treat the disease.

What is Yeast Infection?

The abnormal proliferation of yeast (Candida albicans) in moist surfaces of the skin is technically known as Candidiasis, moniliasis or oidiomycosis. This type of infection usually occurs in superficial areas such as the vagina, the diaper area and the mouth but severely compromised individuals may also suffer from systemic or widespread infection that involves the blood.

Yeast infection may be classified according the area affected:

  • Oral candidiasis – also known as thrush, affects the mucous membranes of the mouth of babies
  • Oral candidosis or moniliasis – yeast infection that affects the mouth or throat of adults
  • Candidal vulvovaginitis – yeast infection that affects the vulva and vagina
  • Diaper Candidiasis – affects the moist areas usually covered by the diaper
  • Perianal Candidiasis – affects the area around the anus
  • Candidal paronychia – inflammation of the nail fold infected by yeast
  • Angular cheilitis – also known as angular stomatitis, may be caused by fungal infection at the corners of the mouth, although this condition may also be brought about by other conditions like malnutrition
  • Candidal intertrigo – found between intertriginous folds of skin, or areas where there is frequent skin-to-skin contact, such as the axilla and the skin between the breast
  • Candidiasis of the skin, scalp,urinary tract, brain membranes, gastrointestinal system respiratory system and almost any other organ or system in the body
  • Systemic Candidiasis – a disseminated type of infection, causing disease to the different systems of the body

Treatment for Yeast Infection

Candidiasis is effectively treated by antifungal medications known as antimycotics which may come in different preparations, depending on the areas being treated and the severity of infection. These preparations may be in the form or tablets, capsules, powder or suspensions that may be taken by mouth, intravenous injections, topical creams, vaginal suppositories and more. Common antifungal treatments that are known to work effectively include:

Azole Antifungal Drugs

This class of drugs has a broad-spectrum activity, and can be divided into two groups – the triazoles and the imidazoles. These drugs work by inhibiting cytochrome P450-dependent enzymes involved in the conversion and biosynthesis of ergosterol in the fungal cell membrane, resulting in leakage of the membrane that leads to the destruction and death of the cell.

Triazole antifungals include fluconazole, isavuconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, pramiconazole, and posaconazole. Popular trade names currently being prescribed are Diflucan and Fluconazole (fluconazole), Sporanox (itraconazole), Vfend (voriconazole) and Noxafil (posaconazole).

Imidazole antifungals include ketoconazole (Nizoral), miconazole (Monistat) and clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin and Mycelex-7).

Care should be taken with long term use of these drugs because of their potential to lead to life-threatening liver toxicity. Other concerns with the use of these drugs are the potential interaction with other drugs such as cyclosporin, certain antihistamines, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, oral hypoglycemic drugs and other medications that are metabolized via similar pathways in the liver.

Polyene Antifungal Drugs

Amphotericin B (Amphotec), nystatin (Mycostatin), and pimaricin (Natamycin) are antifungal agents that interact with ergosterol in the cell membrane to form channels in the fungal cell membrane, resulting in the leakage of small molecule from the inside of the cell to the outside, ultimately leading to cell death.

Nystatin is the first antimycotic drug to be developed and is still being prescribed today for topical use.

Amphotericin B, discovered in 1956, is considered to be the gold standard of life-threatening types of yeast infections (except those affecting the skin) and must be administered intravenously. Serious side effects include renal toxicity.

Allylamine and Morpholine Antifungal Drugs

These drugs (naftifine, terbinafine) inhibit ergosterol biosynthesis and therefore interfere with cell membrane structure and function. They are marketed as Naftin and Lamisil, respectively. These are used for the treatment of yeast infection of the skin and nails.

Antimetabolite Antifungal Drugs

5-Fluorocytosine (Flucytocin) inhibits the synthesis of both DNA and RNA via the intracytoplasmic conversion of 5-fluorocytosine to 5-fluorouracil. Fluorouracil exerts its antifungal activity through subsequent conversion into several active metabolites which inhibit protein synthesis.

5-fluorocytosine is seldom used alone because of the emergence of drug resistance which is often encountered. It is therefore used in combination with amphotericin B to treat different types of fungal infection.

Other Antifungal Treatments

Griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Grisactin) is an antibiotic derived from Penicillium griseofulvum.It acts by inhibiting mitosis in fungal cells and is active against chronic fungal infections affecting the skin and nails.

Potassium iodide is the salt form of iodide, a naturally occurring substance. It is more commonly known for its use as an expectorant, an agent that thins mucus secretions from the respiratory system. It is also popularly used for thyroid protection. As an antifungal it is used orally to treat chronic cutaneous and lymphocutaneous sporotrichosis, an infection caused by the Sporothrix schenckii, a fungus found in vegetation such as rosebushes or briars, or in mulch-rich dirt.

Gentian violet or crystal violet is a type of dye used in pathological examinations like Gram’s staining method of classifying bacteria. Its medical use is related to its antibacterial, antifungal, and anthelmintic properties. It is commonly used to treat oral thrush.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

References

Dixon, Dennis M. and Walsh, Thomas (1996). Antifungal Agents. Medical Microbiology (Chap 76) Galveston, Tx: NCBI. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK8263/

Drugs.com, accessed 2/2/12

WebMD.com

Debunking the Probacto Myth

A few years ago, I was at the top of my game. My career was improving and I’d just gotten a promotion. I exercised daily and was at my dream weight. My wife and I had a fantastic relationship and our youngest child was just entering high school.

That all changed very quickly. I found myself in the hospital with a burst appendix, barely clinging to life as the doctors worked to clear my body of infection. Hopkins Medicine shows that a burst appendix can cause death. After rounds of intravenous antibiotics and tons of other medications, they released me to go home. I had a couple of minor infections around my surgical wound and some antibiotics were used to clear those up, too.

A couple of months after surgery and the entire ordeal, I was still having problems with my stomach and gut. Gas, nausea, occasional vomiting, severe intestinal pain, and alternating bouts of diarrhea or constipation. I felt awful and my doctor kept telling me that my body was still recovering from the appendix and surgical trauma.

I tried to hang in, but I was becoming depressed. I couldn’t exercise due to the pain, which was spreading to my joints, and I was gaining weight. I became irritable and moody and I’m sure I was not a treat to be around. If I wasn’t in a bad mood, all the better, but I usually had such bad gas no one wanted to be around me.

Probacto’s Diet

My wife was my rock during all of this. She told me to start exercising little bits at a time. She tried to cook healthy meals and encouraged me to become more active. I just couldn’t get past the pain. There were nights where we’d argue because I just didn’t feel like doing anything at all, and I spent more than a few nights sleeping on the couch.

Despite all of this, she was constantly trying to find a way to help me find my old self. Little did I know, she had one day come across curezone.com, a popular alternative health website. She did a lot of research and decided that I had a systemic Candida infection. Tricky woman that she is, she didn’t actually tell me what she’d found out. She just asked me if I’d be willing to try a diet and nutrition plan she thought might help.

It’s probably a good thing she didn’t tell me all of the details because I would have thought she was nuts, explaining a yeast infection in a man. She actually put me on Probacto’s anti-candida diet plan as well as their probiotics and antifungals. After a couple of months, when my improvements had become really notable, she sat me down and explained what she’d done.

Apparently, yeast is in all of our bodies. Yup, even guys. Different things, especially the antibiotics I was on in the hospital, can throw the natural balance off, allowing yeast to thrive and turn into fungus. That is what she thinks happened to me.

She was really super-supportive of me throughout the process. I am glad she didn’t initially tell me what she was trying to treat upfront. I probably wouldn’t have believed her and would have cheated on the diet quite a bit. What happened really amazed me, though.

We started by cutting a lot of foods out of our diets. I couldn’t have any processed foods or anything remotely related to sugar or yeast. No soda, cake, candy – I even had to cut out coffee for a little while. I wasn’t even allowed diet soda as that was just as unhealthy says wcpo.com. After months of following this regime my gastrointestinal difficulties had significantly subsided. I had less pain in my joints and I was able to start exercising again, which made me feel even better about myself. Before long, I was actually happy and smiling – something my family hadn’t seen in quite some time.

Once my wife told me about Probacto, I actually sat down to read every page of their blog, their free publications, newsletters, books and anything else they put out. Everything in it made a ton of sense and I was, of course, living proof that it worked. Now my entire family is healthier, eating better, and conscious of the way medications impact our bodies. Even if it wasn’t Candida, just the change in diet to such a healthy one would certainly benefit our lives.

I actually got a phone call from my doctor’s office the other day. They wanted to know why I’d canceled my last appointment. I explained the Candida ordeal and they told me that all of that was just a myth and that my body had eventually grown past the issues, as they had predicted it would. I told the woman who called that I’d be looking for another doctor.

Don’t let people cry about myths when you’re searching for a cure for your own ailments. Do your own research and give the Probacto’s diet a try if you think you’re suffering from systemic Candida. Once you start to feel better, you’ll never want to revisit that low point in your life again.

Symptoms and Signs of Yeast Infection

What is yeast infection and how does it occur:

Firstly we must understand what yeast infection is. The yeast is a common fungus that is normally present on the human body surfaces. However, normally, this does not produce any pathology in the body. The symptoms and signs of yeast infection occur only when there is an overgrowth of yeast (this is a variety of fungus) anywhere in the human body. Candidiasis is by far the most common type of yeast infection. There are more than 20 species of Candida. Of these, the most common variety is Candida albicans. These fungi live on almost all surfaces of the human body. Under certain conditions, they tend to proliferate which is when they are said to produce the symptoms of infections. This happens most commonly in warm and moist areas of the body such as the vagina and oral cavity; these infections are called vaginal yeast infections (fungal vaginitis), thrush (infection of tissues of the oral cavity). In yet others, yeast infection occurs in the skin, e.g. diaper rash (babies), and nailbed infections. Candidal infections also commonly occur in warm moist body areas, such as underarms. Usually the skin effectively blocks the yeast organisms, but any breakdown or cuts in the skin may allow this fungus to penetrate into the internal regions of the body.

So which parts of the human body are commonly affected by yeast infection or candidiasis?

A) In the pediatric age group or children:

In babies, the typically affected areas in babies include the mouth and areas of skin in contact with diapers. Oral candidiasis is also known as thrush. Thick, white lacy or cheesy patches are seen to form on top of a red base on the tongue, palate, the inner linings of the cheek and elsewhere within the mouth. These patches sometimes look like milk curds but cannot be wiped away as easily as milk; this is an important point of differentiation from milk or milk products that may be seen in the oral cavity of infants. Another important method of diagnosing the presence of thrush is that the white plaques when wiped away with a blade or cotton-tipped applicator, causes the underlying tissues to bleed. This infection also may make the tongue look red without the white coating, a condition called glossitis. Since infants are incapable of communicating their discomfort, it is from these signs and symptoms that thrush can be diagnosed. It must be noted that thrush is an extremely painful condition and makes it difficult for the infant or baby to eat. In such cases, care should be given to make sure a person with thrush does not become dehydrated.

B) In women:

In women, the commonest site of yeast infection or candidiasis, is the vagina and vulval regions. Vaginal yeast infection is the most common form of vaginitis or inflammation of the vagina and is often called vaginal Candidiasis. In such cases the signs and symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are a white discharge that is thick and often said to have a cottage cheese appearance. Here the infection typically causes itching and irritates the vagina and vulva (the surrounding outer tissues of the female genitalia). Many sexually active women also complain of pain during sexual intercourse or burning sensation with urination.

C) In adults, both men and women:

In adults, oral yeast infections become more common with increased age. Adults also can have yeast infections around dentures, in skin folds under the breast and lower abdomen, nailbeds, and beneath areas of the body where there are skin folds, such as the fatty apron of the belly. Most of these candidal infections are superficial, if the skin is intact and the infection heals easily with short term medical treatment. However, infections of the nailbeds often require prolonged therapy, as the infection here is difficult to access with antifungal medicines.

So what are the symptoms and signs of candidal skin infections? It must be noted that candidal organisms normally live on the skin, but, it has been found that breakdown of the outer layers of skin promote the yeast’s overgrowth. This typically occurs when the environment is warm and moist such as in diaper areas and skin folds. Superficial candidal skin infections appear as a flat and red rash with sharp scalloped edges. There are usually smaller patches of similar appearing rashes nearby (satellite lesions). These rashes may cause severe itching or pain. The differences between thrush or candidal infection of the oral cavity and vaginitis must be emphasized here. Thrush and vaginitis produce cheesy or curd like coatings or discharges (vaginal) due to the surfaces here being made of mucous linings or mucosa in contrast to the changes seen in the skin which merely causes formation of red rashes.

D) Systemic fungal infection:

Rarely, the yeast infection may spread throughout the body. In systemic candidal disease (in which the fungus enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body), almost half of the number of such severe infection cases may result in mortality. Even common mouth and vaginal yeast infections can cause critical illness and can be more resistant to normal treatment. These types of severe systemic infections usually occur in immuno-compromised hosts or patients with diseases such as AIDS or leukemia.

In people with weakened immune systems, candidal infections can affect single or multiple internal organs and cause pain or dysfunction of one or more organs or systems. This is most prominent in patients with suppressed immune systems due to AIDS, chemotherapy (on treatment for cancers), or other conditions such as immune suppression treatments in organ transplant cases. In such patients, yeast infection can result in esophagitis in their upper gastrointestinal (GI) systems. This infection is similar to thrush but extends down the mouth and esophagus and all the way down to the stomach. Candida esophagitis can cause painful ulcers throughout the GI system, making it too painful to swallow not only solid foods but even liquids. In many such cases the infection spreads into the intestines, resulting in poor absorption of food. People with this condition are in danger of becoming dehydrated (poor fluid content in the body). There can also be associated pain in the area of the sternum (breast bone), pain in the upper abdomen, and/or nausea and vomiting.
Septicemia: another form of systemic infection is fungal or candidal septicemia: If Candida or yeast infection gets into the bloodstream, the person may become extremely sick with usually associated high grade fever and chills. If the infection spreads to the brain, they may have alteration in mental function or behavior and severe neurological symptoms similar to a condition called encephalitis.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

DR. JOE ANTONY, MD.

10 Great Remedies for Yeast Infection

Yeasts infection is caused by fungus known as Candida albicans. These fungi are present naturally in our body and cause disease only when their number outgrows. Yeast infection can occur around dentures, under the breasts, vagina, lower abdomen, beneath skin folds, and nail beds. Although yeast infection is more common in women, it may also affect men. If you are also suffering from candida infection, don’t worry. Yeast infection is curable. A wide range of treatment options such as creams, lotions, tablets, capsules and vaginal suppositories are available to treat candida infection. Most of the candida infection can be treated with topical ointments or oral tablets which may be over-the-counter or prescription drugs and will likely resolve within a week. Home remedies are also available to treat yeast infection. However, for complicated or recurrent yeast infection, you must consult your doctor. If your immune system has been weakened due to any cause, consult your doctor before attempting self-treatment.

Treating vaginal yeast infections:

  • A lot of creams and suppositories are available over-the-counter to treat vaginal yeast infection. Antifungal creams containing clotrimazole, miconazole, Tioconazole, or Butoconazole should be applied to the infected area for two to seven days.
  • A single dose of fluconazole tablet can cure most of the vaginal yeast infection. Fluconazole is a prescription drug.
  • Pregnant women suffering from vaginal yeast infection should consult their physician.
  • To prevent vaginal yeast infection, avoid using synthetic undergarments. Always use cotton undergarments, void wearing tight pants. Avoid using scented toilet papers, deodorant tampons, feminine sprays etc.

Treating thrush:

  • Thrush is the name given to yeast infection of mouth. It can be treated by lozenges or mouthwashes containing antifungal agent nystatin which can kill the yeast. Antifungal lozenges and fluconazole tablets can be added to nystatin mouthwash.
  • Adults and older children have many treatment options available than smaller babies. Breastfeeding mothers should be assessed for candida infection of the breast.
  • For prevention of oral thrush, key thing is to maintain good oral hygiene. It is recommended to brush twice a day and to use a mouthwash.
  • If you are using dentures, clean them before each use.
  • Any object to be put in child’s mouth should be washed thoroughly.

Treating nail bed infections:

  • Treatment of nail bed infections of yeast is difficult. Itraconazole or fluconazole tablets have to be taken under supervision of physician in addition to topical antifungal creams and steroids.
  • The antifungal treatments may need to continue for many months to treat nail yeast infections. Treatment of toe nail infection usually requires a longer treatment than finger nails.
  • To prevent nail infections, moisture should be avoided. Wearing gloves while gardening also helps to prevent nail yeast infection. Avoid contact with the person having this disease, avoid sharing personal items such as nail clippers, socks etc.

Treating skin yeast infections and diaper rash:

  • For superficial skin infections, clotrimazole creams and lotions are helpful. For oral antifungal medications, prescription from a physician is required. Ketoconazole containing creams are also effective and are available on physician’s prescription. The affected area should be kept clean and dry.
  • For diaper rashes antifungal creams containing nystatin and supplements containing acidophilus are useful. Frequent change of diaper is recommended to hasten recovery.
  • To prevent diaper rashes, the covered area should always be kept clean. Use of cotton diapers should be preferred than disposable ones.
  • For treatment of Perlèche, topical antifungal along with mild corticosteroid creams are useful. Minimize licking your lips and lip corners
  • Intertrigo is treated with nystatin powder. It acts as antifungal as well as controls the moisture.

Effective home remedies for yeast infections:

Yoghurt: yoghurt is a great natural source of lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria which is a useful bacterium of our body. The person who is getting candida infection, there has been some imbalance in his/her normal bacterial flora thus allowing the yeast to grow rapidly. Thus, supplementing acidophilus bacteria should be a part of candid infection treatment at home. It is recommended to add one or two cups of yoghurt in your everyday diet. It can also be used for local application to the affected area.

Acidophilus and probiotics: Capsules or liquids containing acidophilus bacteria are popularly known as probiotics. It may be a good alternative for people with lactose intolerance or those who don’t like yoghurt. Even if you like yoghurt, consider adding a good quality probiotic along with yoghurt. Probiotics should be taken for a month after completing the course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.

Garlic: Garlic is well-known for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Eating a clove of fresh garlic once or twice daily at the beginning of yeast infection is helpful. Similar to yoghurt, garlic can also be used for local application. If you are having trouble chewing garlic cloves, remove the skin of the garlic clove, mince it and swallow with a glass of water or your favourite drink. If you have difficulty with this also, then try the garlic tablets. Using these tablets gives you the benefit of fresh garlic without facing its strong odor.

Tea tree oil: Application of diluted tea tree oil is an effective remedy for yeast infection. Although it is a strong antiseptic, it may cause irritation to some women. If you feel any irritation, wash the area thoroughly with plain water and discontinue the use. Women can also take a sitz bath after putting few drops of oil in lukewarm water. For vaginal yeast infection tea tree oil suppositories can be used.

Herbs: There are a variety of herbs which are effective to treat yeast infection. These can be either taken internally or applied directly to the affected area. Some of them include:

  • Black walnut
  • Licorice
  • Camomile
  • Oil of oregano

These can be used alone or in combination.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

Yeast Infection in Past 10 Years

Yeast infection or candidiasis is a common pathogen and is a primary cause of infection inside the oral cavity (in both men and women, where it is called thrush) and the vagina (vulvo-vaginitis) in women. In the immuno-compromised patient, candidal infection can result in blood borne infection or candidemia. The magnitude and wide spectrum of yeast infections or candiadisis has resulted in increased and intense research into both the pathogenesis of the disease and the analysis of the mechanisms by which candida albicans, the causative organism, replicates and interacts with the host.

Recent developments in alternate medicine and yeast infection:

Alternative medicine proponents suggest that there is a widespread occurrence of systemic candidiasis (or candida hypersensitivity syndrome, yeast allergy, or gastrointestinal candida overgrowth), a medically unrecognized condition. This is a view that is most widely promoted by Dr. Crook and hypothesized that a variety of common conditions such as fatigue, PMS, sexual dysfunction, asthma, psoriasis, digestive and urinary problems as well as multiple sclerosis, and muscle pain could be caused by subclinical candidiasis. Dr.Crook suggested a number of remedies to treat these symptoms, including dietary modification, prescription antifungals, and colonic irrigation. With the exception of the few dietary studies in the urinary tract infection section, conventional medicine has not used most of these alternatives, since there is limited scientific evidence to prove either their effectiveness or that subclinical systemic candidiasis is a viable diagnosis.

Pathology studies of yeast reproduction:

The success of a fungal pathogen in becoming a persistent and opportunistic source of infection in human beings may be due to a mating strategy that can best be described as “don’t be too choosy.” Recent findings and research suggest that Candida albicans (the fungus that causes candidal or yeast infection) will respond to so called sex hormones or chemicals called pheromones of several different species, not just its own, and if an opposite-sex partner isn’t around, it can switch over to same-sex mating, a phenomenon not unknown in lower organisms. When the yeast is not in a sexually active state, some of the variety of pheromones that the yeast generates can inspire it to clump together in tough-to-treat biofilms (microscopic membranes), which prevent the complete or adequate eradication of yeast infections.

The surprising finding that Candida albicans is so indiscriminate about pheromones could help in the fight against yeast infections, is now thought to be the reason why yeast infections can sometimes be deadly for patients who are immune-compromised. These studies suggest that the yeast organism is extremely adaptive.

Research into candidal infection on a genetic level:

Of late, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology have been taking advantage of cutting-edge gene sequencing technology to find out which genes play a role in causing the disease to break out in the patient.
Researchers are working with genetic and pathological system biology scenarios that they hope will help explain the essential pathogenic mechanisms.

Developments in the prevention and management of candidal infection:

The use of certain naturally occurring oils has proved to be a recent and formidable tool in the management and prevention of candida albicans infection. Research by Tyagi and Malik (2010) reveals that lemongrass (biological name -Cymbopogon citratus) essential oil exhibited the strongest antifungal effect (on C. albicans) followed by mentha (biological name- Mentha piperita) and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) essential oils. The MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) of lemon grass essential oil in liquid phase (288 mg/l) was found to be sufficient to cause a complete loss in viability of C. albicans fungal cells. This suggests that lemon grass oil commonly used in certain South Asian nations as a routine disinfectant can play a major role in the control of yeast contamination.

Use of microbes to fight other microbes and yeast infections:

A team of microbiologists observed several clinical strains of Streptococcus mutans capable of arresting the growth of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. The bacteria species, S. mutans (streptococcus mutans) has been found to keep other oral microorganisms in check by producing a substance called mutanobactin A, which suppresses the growth of pathogenic microbes and thus prevent major infections and diseases in humans.

Further tests are underway to evaluate the use of mutanobactin A as a drug for the treatment of thrush (oral candidiasis) and related Candidal infections.  This compound, mutanobactin A, may hold the key to gaining better insight into how microorganisms live and cooperate inside a human host.  Also, these findings could provide clues to how the body’s native microflora, use naturally-occurring compounds to combat the invasion and spread of highly pathogenic microbes.

These microbes have been found to strike an amazing balance between enhancing human health and causing devastating disease.  Chemicals like mutanobactin A will, in the future, help doctors carefully control microbial pathogens while maintaining the integrity of important symbiotic organisms.  This will ultimately lead to newer and more effective medicines for treating infections and provide antibiotics that are less susceptible to the development of resistance.

Use of vitamins to control and treat yeast infections:

A recent research study has found that a C. albicans enzyme, known by its abbreviation as Hst3, is essential to the growth and survival of the yeast. Researchers found that genetic or pharmacological inhibition of this enzyme, Hst3 with nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, strongly diminished the activity of C. albicans. Of most importance was the discovery that both normal and drug-resistant strains of C. albicans were susceptible to nicotinamide. In addition, this research suggests, that nicotinamide (vitamin B3) prevented the growth of other pathogenic Candida species and Aspergillus fumigatus (another major human pathogen), thus demonstrating the broad antifungal properties of nicotinamide (vitamin B3).

Use of experiments on worms to control yeast infections:

A research team has developed a new and novel technique to control resistant yeast infections. They used the microscopic soil worm Ceanorhaditis elegans (C. elegans) as a test host which was then infected with the fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae). This fungus is commonly known as baker’s yeast or brewer’s yeast, and doesn’t cause any problems in humans, but the research team found that it can infect, and if left untreated, kill the worm. Since S.cerveisiae has many genes in common with fungi that do cause human disease, the genetic and molecular analysis now possible with this new testing model can be used to identify targets that could prevent or treat fungal infections in people.

Researched piece by DR. JOE ANTONY, M.D.

Vaginal Yeast Infection

Most women experience a vaginal yeast infection at some time of their life. Yeast (Candida albicans) is part of the normal flora of the body. These fungal organisms are found in small numbers in the vagina, mouth, digestive tract, and on the skin and do not usually cause symptoms. However, these can proliferate and cause distressing symptoms when certain conditions favor their growth. Learn more about vaginal yeast infection, its causes, symptoms and treatment.

What is Vaginal Yeast Infection?

When the normal balance of microbial growth in the vagina and surrounding areas (vulva) is upset, overgrowth of fungal organisms called Candida albicans may occur. Although these organisms are usually present in small numbers in this area as well as in other areas of the body, their proliferation may cause an infection called candidiasis, also known as moniliasis.
Vaginal yeast infection or Candidal vulvovaginitis occurs at least once in 75% of women and more than once in 50%. It can be mild to moderate in severity and if it occurs for less than four episodes in a year it is considered to be uncomplicated. However, in some women symptoms of inflammation may be severe and they may experience more than four episodes in a year. These infections may be associated with pregnancy, disease or immune deficiency, and they are considered to be complicated.

Causes and Risk Factors

Vaginal yeast infection is caused by overgrowth of the fungus C. albicans which may be due to certain risk factors like stress, pregnancy, menstruation, hormonal imbalance, poor diet, certain medications such as antibiotics, and diseases like diabetes and HIV/AIDS. A deficiency in one’s immune system also predisposes to fungal infection, such as in people who are undergoing chemotherapy or steroid therapy.

Vaginal thrush, as it is sometimes called, is more common among women between the ages of twenty to thirty, and less common in girls who have not started menstruation or in women who have begun menopause.

Candidiasis is not related to sexual behavior or the number of sexual partners. It is not transmitted sexually, nor is it associated with poor hygiene. However, wearing tight fitting clothes may put one at risk for developing the infection.

Signs and Symptoms of Candidiasis

Candidal vulvovaginitis may be recognized when signs of inflammation are present in the area, such as redness of the vulva and vagina, edema, cracking of skin and in severe cases, the presence of sores or satellite lesions.

Symptoms experienced include:

  • vulval itching and burning
  • vulval soreness and irritation
  • pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • pain or discomfort during urination
  • odorless “cottage cheese” vaginal discharge

Diagnosis

Women who experience the signs and symptoms of vaginal candidiasis should consult a doctor for proper evaluation and treatment. Most of the symptoms experienced are similar to other conditions related to sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and Chlamydia infection. Therefore proper diagnosis is necessary for treatment.

To diagnose the disease the doctor will have to perform a pelvic exam to examine the signs of the vulvovaginitis and to take swab samples of the discharge. The swab specimen will then be examined in the laboratory to identify the presence of C. albicans.

Treatment

Before treatment be sure to inform your health provider if you are pregnant or lactating as this might alter the drug choices in the treatment of the vaginal infection. Mild infections or uncomplicated yeast infection may resolve without treatment although symptoms are usually irritating. If vaginal yeast infections occur very often proper evaluation must be done because they might be associated with other undiagnosed or untreated diseases like diabetes.

Drug treatment comes in various forms, including tablets for oral intake, creams for topical application, vaginal tablets and suppositories for intravaginal insertion. Some of these treatments are available over the counter although some are available only upon prescription.

Topical creams and suppositories are used in short course treatments (single dose or 1-3 day therapy). They are preferred especially for pregnant and lactating women because their action is confined locally and drugs do not enter the general system. However, these products are oil-based and might weaken latex condoms and diaphragms when they are in use.

Topical Creams, Ointments, Vaginal Tablets and Suppositories

Topical medications containing vaginal antifungals include:

  • Butoconazole
  • Clotrimazole
  • Miconazole
  • Nystatin
  • Tioconazole
  • Terconazole

Adequate treatment results in relief of symptoms and negative cultures in 80%–90% of patients. Since these are available in many pharmacies without the need for prescription, women who experience similar symptoms might use these for repeated episodes. However caution must be observed because this can lead to unnecessary cost (if there is no actual infection) or delay of diagnosis in those who may be suffering other conditions.

Oral Antifungals

Fluconazole 150 mg tablets are available for oral use as a single dose, a more convenient alternative. It is not prescribed for women who might be pregnant. Side effects from these tablets are rare with one dose, but they may include nausea, headaches and abdominal pain.

Indiscriminate use of antifungals can lead to resistant infections which do not respond to treatment. This is why it is better to get proper medical advice than to do self treatment for repeated infections.

Prevention of Vaginal Yeast Infection

It is always better to prevent getting the infection than to suffer the symptoms and seek treatment. These are some ways women can avoid getting candidiasis:

  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting underwear and clothes like leggings, stockings and pants. Cotton underwear is best for adequate absorption of moisture around the vaginal area.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grain and nonfat dairy products.
  • Avoid spreading yeast from the anus to the vagina by wiping the area from front to back after using the toilet.
  • Exercise proper hygiene and use only mild, unscented soap to wash the vaginal area.
  • Avoid using products that may alter the natural balance of acidity in the vagina such as deodorant tampons, scented toilet paper, feminine sprays, talcs, or perfumes.
  • Avoid douching which can also alter the normal balance of microorganisms in the vagina.
  • Maintain normal blood sugar to avoid diabetes.
  • Avoid indiscriminate use of antibiotics which can alter the balance of normal skin flora.

References

Womenshealth.gov, Vaginal yeast infections fact sheet
WebMD, Vaginal Yeast Infections
Wikipedia, Candidal Vulvovaginitis

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.