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Genital yeast infection: how to identify and treat it

A yeast infection also called candidiasis is an infection caused by the overgrowth of the Candida fungus, which usually occurs when your immune system is weakened or because of the use of antibiotics, for example.

This type of infection can occur in men or women and has a cure, being treated with ointments or remedies that eliminate the fungi that are causing the disease, aiding in the relief of symptoms.

Genital yeast infection: how to identify and treat it

Yeast infection test

When you think you have a yeast infection it is important to stay alert to the following signs:

  1. 1. Intense itching in the genital area
    Yes
    No
  2. 2. Redness and swelling in the genital area
    Yes
    No
  3. 3. Whitish plaques in the vagina or head of the penis
    Yes
    No
  4. 4. Bleached white discharge, similar to carved milk
    Yes
    No
  5. 5. Pain or burning while urinating
    Yes
    No
  6. 6. Discomfort or pain during intimate contact
    Yes
    No
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Usually, this type of fungus lives in the human body, but the immune system is able to prevent its overgrowth. However, when the body is weaker or undergoes hormonal changes, such as after a flu or during pregnancy, these fungi may over reproduce causing the yeast infection called candidiasis.

Candidiasis can also manifest itself in other places in the body, such as the skin, mouth or intestines, for example. 

How is the treatment done

Genital yeast infections can affect both men and women, and its treatment is similar and made with antifungal ointments in both cases, such as Candicort or Fluconazole, which should be applied 2 to 3 times a day, between 3 to 14 days, according to your doctor's recommendation.

It is further recommended:

  • Wear cotton underwear as they allow the skin to breathe;
  • Wash the genital area only with water and neutral soap or soap suitable for the region;
  • Sleeping without underwear, whenever possible;
  • Avoid internal absorbents;
  • Avoid having unprotected intercourse during the treatment time.

These recommendations help to speed up the treatment, however, you can also wash your genitals with oak bark tea or other home remedies to complete the treatment.

On top of all that, having a low-sugar diet also helps the body fight the fungus more easily by curing candidiasis faster. See some examples of home remedies for yeast infections.

In case the symptoms do not disappear after 2 weeks, it is advised to return to the doctor as it may be necessary to start treatment with antifungal pills, which help fight infection from the inside of the body, achieving better results than just the ointments.

How to confirm it is a yeast infection 

Although the symptoms may be easy to identify, there are other genital problems, such as vaginitis, herpes, or gonorrhea, for example, that can cause similar symptoms.

The best way to confirm the diagnosis is to go to a gynecologist, in the case of women, or to an urologist in the case of men. In addition to identifying the problem, the doctor can still assess if there is a cause and indicate the most appropriate treatment.

What can cause a yeast infection

Some factors that are associated with increased yeast infection risk include:

  • Frequent use of antibiotics, contraceptives and corticosteroids;
  • Pregnancy or during menstruation;
  • Diseases such as diabetes, AIDS, HPV and lupus that make the immune system weaker;
  • Frequent use of tight or wet clothing;
  • Doing intimate hygiene more than 2 times a day and using an absorbent for more than 3 hours in a row.

A person may also be contaminated with the fungus and not know because the disease usually manifests when the immune system is weakened.

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