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yeast infection

What is a yeast infection?

An infection with a yeast fungus is a disease caused by yeasts. The budworms are generally assigned to the mushrooms. The fungi in turn form a core group of microbiology in addition to bacteria, viruses, protozoa and algae. Among the yeasts, as the most important species, are the non-pathogenic (non-pathogenic) Saccharomyces, baker's or vine yeast fungus.

Furthermore, the facultative disease-causing (pathogenic) species Candida, as well as Trichosporon and Cryptococcus can be delimited. In facultative pathogens are in medicine to disease-causing microorganisms that can cause an acute disease, but do not do so in all cases. This in turn means that you do not have to develop acute symptoms when you have an infection with a yeast fungus, but that an asymptomatic offense is possible.

  • mushrooms
  • Yeast in the mouth

How is a yeast infection noticeable?

Accompanying certain yeast infections can occur certain symptoms that are included in the differential diagnostic procedure.

skin

The manifestation of the pathogens on the skin can cause redness, scaling, inflammation, itching and oozing.

mucous membrane

In infestation of the mucous membrane, such as in the mouth and throat area shows the image of a thrush. In this case, the examining doctor noticed raised swollen and reddened areas of the mucous membrane, which are covered with whitish deposits in frequent cases.

genital fungal

Often, the yeast fungus also affects the vagina, where he finds an ideal environment (vaginal fungus). Notably, this local manifestation is characterized by strong burning and itching. Also, a creamy discharge and a noticeable smell in the vaginal genital area are not uncommon. Of course, through sexual intercourse, the vaginal fungus can also be transmitted to the male sex. Cardinal symptoms are an inflammatory reaction of the foreskin and the glans. Across genes, a genital fungus can cause severe pain in urination and sexual intercourse.

Internal organs

Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or abdominal pain, flatulence and heartburn may be indicative of a bowel fungus infection. Often, the yeast pathogens are therefore taken up via the gastrointestinal tract with the primary oral cavity and the genital tracts.

Another typical site for infestation with yeasts are the nails. A manifestation on the skin and mucous membrane in combination with the above-described symptoms in the area of ​​the body cavity openings should at least make the doctor think of a possible yeast infection. Other nonspecific signs of an infectious event may include general decline, fatigue and headache.

How is a yeast infection treated?

In the therapeutic approach in yeast infections, several principles can also be pursued. First, a trial with a specific antimycotic can be initiated. Antifungals (anti = against, mycotic = fungus) intervene in different metabolic processes of the fungi and inhibit them logically. This group of drugs can be administered either locally or systemically. Locally, antimycotic creams and ointments are used as part of a conservative therapy. If these do not show any desired effects, then a more intensive systemic therapy should be used.

Antifungals are also differentiated by their mechanism of action. On the one hand, they can form pores at specific sites of the plasma membrane of fungi. Examples include nystatin and amphotericin B. Others (for example, clotrimazole, itraconazole) inhibit ergosterol synthesis. Cell wall or RNA synthesis can also be inhibited. In choosing the right antimycotic, circumstances such as the location and the extent of the infection play a role.

On the side of the drug is decided based on the above-mentioned mechanisms of action and the possible side effects. The side effects may include fever and headache, nausea and vomiting, stomach and bowel problems. Contraindicated for a therapy with systemically active antifungals are an existing pregnancy or the presence of a serious liver disease.

Duration and prognosis of a yeast infection

Depending on the location, the prognosis and the duration of the disease and treatment vary.

vaginal yeast infection

A vaginal fungus is usually a prognostically favorable disease. However, it comes for various reasons to lengthy progressions with persistent symptoms. The antifungals therapy should not be stopped early and be carried out continuously. A renunciation of sexual intercourse or the protected sexual intercourse (with condoms) have a preventive effect.

About 5-10% of all vaginal mycoses develop into protracted, persistent clinical pictures. If the sex partner is also suffering from a genital fungus (fungus on the penis) he must inevitably be treated antimycotic. In the extreme case of severe immunodeficiency, a vaginal fungus can also spread systemically into the organ systems and trigger persistent infections.

Intestinal fungal infection

The intestinal fungus is usually a well-treatable disease with favorable prognosis. Through a productive onset of antifungal therapy to get a bowel fungus infection within a few days to weeks under control. Of course, as with all other fungal infection manifestations, the healing success also depends on the current performance status of the immune system.

Especially in the case of intestinal fungus infection, a diet is used in addition to the systemic drug therapy. In about 4 weeks should be dispensed with sugar, wheat flour and alcoholic foods. The consumption of vegetables and whole-grain products is intensified as part of this therapeutic principle. In some cases, this combination leads to a quick relief of the symptoms. Especially preventive, a few principles play a crucial role. A pronounced hygiene, the well-balanced nutritional principle and the avoidance of a lack of nutrients (especially of zinc) have shown a preventive value.

Fungal infection in the mouth

If the infection with a yeast fungus affects the mucosa of the mouth and throat, it is called an oral thrush. This manifests on the lips, the tongue or the palate. Again, a good prognostic outcome of the disease has been shown. A consistent therapy, however, also represents an essential importance of the therapy regimen.

A whole range of measures can help prevent oral thrush. For children, pacifiers, teats and toys should be cleaned regularly. A pronounced dental hygiene should also be done. In elderly immunocompromised patients prophylactic administration of antimycotics may be sought. Dentures or all other foreign media in the mouth area should also be cared for with pronounced hygiene.

Fungal infection on the glans

As in women, the yeast infection in men (penile fungus with Candida balanitis) has a good response to antifungal therapy. Both women and men are usually the same pathogens, which is why they can be treated identically. Even if it is a very unpleasant clinical picture, the penile fungus heals with early and consistent therapy within a few days.

Basically, all manifestations of the fungal infection can lead to recurrences, which should be given as soon as possible to another antifungal therapy.

causes

Infection with the most common Candida species is primarily infection with Candida albicans. This is by far the most common species worldwide. They colonize skin as normal inhabitants and in most cases also the mucous membranes of the human body. In this condition, they pose no direct danger to the body, but perform important function in a complex system of bacteria and fungi. If the microbial environment on the skin and mucous membrane out of balance (for example, by an immune deficiency), Candida albicans can transform into a hyphal form and immigrate into deeper tissues. Once there, an infectious event often unfolds. If this can be limited superficially and locally, one speaks of a candidosis.

On manifestation on the skin and mucous membrane, the well-known picture of a mucocutaneous candidosis or thrush may show up. With very pronounced weakening of the immune system, the pathogen can multiply spread in the blood and organ system and ultimately lead to systemic mycosis.

The lesser-known species Cryptococcus can be divided into the pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. The associated disease is called cryptococcosis. The pathogens are usually found on grasses and other plants. Especially in the pathogen Cryptococcus gattii can be noted that this can be found preferably in tropical regions. When the pathogens enter the gastrointestinal tract after being ingested by the diet of birds (especially pigeons), they can initially multiply in a suitable environment. Humans in particular become infected with the pathogens via the feces excreted by the birds or the contaminated dust from excrement products of the birds. Cryptococcus infection usually affects the lungs in most cases. In massive immunodeficiency, it can also lead to a manifestation of the brain or the meninges (meningoencephalitis). A massive immunodeficiency occurs especially in autoimmune diseases, such as AIDS.

How does the doctor recognize a yeast infection?

The infections caused by the different types of yeast fungus are basically based on different diagnostic methods.

In case of an infection with Candida albicans, a microscopic examination is the first diagnostic option. One can improve the examination level with the help of optical brighteners or a silver stain (Grocott). Nowadays, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry is also increasingly used after previous culture cultivation. In this method, the proteins contained in the bacteria are separated and differentiated by a pinpoint ion bombardment. Also possible is an investigation of mannan or glucan antigens, which can be specifically assigned to the Candida species. This diagnostic agent usually succeeds from a sample in the blood serum or a bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).

Very similar is the diagnostic phase in a Cryptococcus infection. Here one uses fine methods such as microscopy, a PCR or, as already mentioned above, an antigen detection from the patient's serum.

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