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Causes Of Yeast Infections
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|What Causes Yeast Infections?
There are certain conditions which may predispose a woman to Candida overgrowth yeast infection, and these are:
Weakened Immune System
If you suffer from recurrent yeast infections, vaginitis, vulvodynia, severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or endometriosis, it may be because you have a depressed immune system. Other problems related to a depressed immune system include weight that will not shift, asthma, fibromyalgia and sinusitis. When we are run down, yeast organisms (Candida albicans) can colonize resulting in an imbalance in the digestive tract that results to illness. Factors which can cause a weakened immune system include:
Antibiotics tend to kill the ‘good’ bacteria, as well as the bad ones they are targeting. Those good bacteria are needed to suppress and control the Candida population. Effects can be long-term, so the problems you experience today may not only be related to antibiotics taken in adulthood, but those taken as a child or teenager. Antibiotics are of course important for saving lives but there is no doubt that they are over prescribed. If you are prescribed antibiotics for a serious bacterial infection, ask your doctor about combing it with an anti-fungal medication such as nystatin or Diflucan to reduce the risk of developing a secondary yeast infection. See yeast infection treatment for more details.
Excess sugar in the diet literally feeds yeast and promotes growth. This includes sugar ingested from dairy products and simple carbohydrates like bread, candy, cakes, cookies and sodas. Most patients with yeast infections do well enough by simply avoiding obvious sources of sugar including maple syrup, honey, and fruit juice and avoiding adding sugar to teas and coffees. Those with recurring infections will need to consider wider restrictions, see Candida diet guidelines and yeast infection diet plan. Or check out book on yeast infections for cookbooks and guides.
Stress can weaken the body's immune system making us more vulnerable to all sorts of problems, including yeast infections (also known as Thrush). Stress leads to a reduction of white blood cell production leaving us susceptible to disease and illnesses. The level of reduced white cell production is directly linked to the level of stress. Conversely when we are happy our immune system functions much better. In 1979 Normal Cousins wrote a book called the Anatomy of an Illness. He described his attempt to fight a serious illness by watching comedies on TV. It showed the benefits of laughter in healing the body. Initially his research was rejected by the medical community, but today fortunately, the effects of happiness on the health of the body are widely accepted. Check your stress levels with our online stress quiz and read more under dangers of stress.
Other Possible Causes
This is one reason why yeast infections affect more women than men. Hormone changes seem to have some effect on yeast overgrowth. For example, raised levels of estrogen during pregnancy increase the sugar content (and pH level) of the vagina. This provides a perfect breeding ground for yeast. Hormone changes associated with a regular menstrual cycle also have some effect. Other culprits include oral contraceptive pills but this has not been verified; and risk appears to be lowered with a low dosage pill.
Women with diabetes tend to experience a higher rate of yeast infections. This is because their blood contains more glucose (sugar), so their vaginal secretions in turn contain more sugar. This makes their vagina a friendlier home for the growth of yeast organisms. Additionally, hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar interferes with the immune functions that helps to prevent yeast infections. If a woman with diabetes develops a yeast infection, it is usually a sign that she is not controlling her blood sugar levels well or that an infection is brewing in another part of the body. To read more about diabetes check our article on symptoms of diabetes.
Yeast infections, according to recent studies, are more common in people with allergies to chemicals and mold. After World War II, America fell in love with the ‘progressive’ potential of chemicals and they were promoted as the way of the future. Subsequently many of those chemicals have proven to be hazardous; others are still a daily part of our life, causing a variety of illnesses. Those that are still a part of our life include lead and other chemicals added to gas for our cars; DDT added to pesticides; weed killers which find their way into the food chain and protective coatings applied to household furnishings. Meanwhile indoor molds are causing problems for more and more people, causing asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, headaches, eye irritations and nasal congestion. If you suspect this may be a problem, avoid letting people smoke in your house. Do not spray insecticides in or around your house or close your windows if you need to. See also: Natural remedies for treating yeast infections.
A decrease in digestive secretions such as gastric hydrochloric acid and bile can lead to the overgrowth of yeast cells. Patients taking anti-ulcer drugs such as Tagamet and Zantac usually develop Candida overgrowth as these medications restrict the natural production of hydrochloric acid. Signs of decreased secretions include bloating, flatulence, belching and a burning sensation after a meal. A doctor can diagnose the condition with a technique known as the Heidelberg gastric analysis and it can be treated with a hydrochloric acid supplement.
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