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Candida

Candida is a fungal infection. It’s also known as yeast infection, Candidiasis, thrush, or genital Candidosis.

Candida usually exists as a harmless fungus that grows in the vagina, anus, mouth, and under the foreskin in uncircumcised men.

However, when yeast grows in excess it causes irritation and unpleasant symptoms in these areas.

 

It’s not actually a STD. But you can pass it on by a variety of different behaviours including sex. This is why it’s included in the STD section.

 

In general, you don’t need to treat it unless you experience symptoms.

How do you get candida infection?

You can get a Candida infection when this yeast grows in excess. Generally, this happens only when your body’s system is out of balance. And the balance of bacteria and yeast in your body has been disrupted, resulting in this excessive growth of yeast.

Common causes of yeast infections are:

  • Taking birth control pills or other hormones
  • Changes in hormone levels before your period or during pregnancy
  • Taking antibiotics, particularly ‘broad spectrum’ ones such as penicillin
  • Taking steroid medicines
  • Having elevated blood sugar levels
  • Having vaginal intercourse, especially dry sex
  • Using spermicides
  • Leaving a tampon in for too long
  • Using harsh soaps
  • Douching

How do you protect yourself from getting Candida?

There are several ways to prevent a yeast infection or thrush.

If you’re a woman:

  • Wash the inner and outer labia of your vulva where yeast is likely to grow
  • Dry your vaginal area thoroughly after taking a shower/bath
  • Avoid using harsh soaps or perfumes, including talcum powder
  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet (vulva to anus)
  • Wear 100 percent cotton underwear
  • Use hot water to wash underwear and avoid using fabric softener
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting slacks or shorts
  • Use unscented sanitary pads instead of tampons
  • Change sanitary pads or tampons often
  • Eat foods like yoghurt that contain ‘good’ bacteria known as lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Avoid having dry sex - use lubrication
  • Use a water-soluble lubricant when you have sex, such as K-Y Jelly
  • Avoid using spermicides
  • Ask your partner to wash his penis and hands before having sex with you
  • Use a condom
  • Avoid vaginal douching
  • Switch to a non-hormonal method of birth control, such as condoms, inter-uterine devices, diaphragms, or withdrawal

If you’re a man:

  • Wear 100 percent cotton underwear
  • Use hot water to wash underwear, and avoid using fabric softener
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting slacks or shorts
  • Wash your hands and penis before having sex
  • Use a condom
  • Avoid harsh soaps and perfumes, including talcum powder
  • Eat foods like yoghurt that contain ‘good’ bacteria known as lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Use a water-soluble lubricant when you have sex, such as K-Y Jelly
  • Avoid using spermicides

What are the signs that you've got Candida?

Generally speaking, most people infected with Candida - or yeast infection - don’t have any symptoms. You're more likely to notice it if you’re a woman than if you're a man.

If you think you’ve got a yeast infection get it checked out. Sometimes, a yeast infection is confused with an STD infection like trichomoniasis.

A doctor can use a speculum to see inside the vagina.

In women, symptoms of a yeast infection are:

  •     Irritation, itching, redness, soreness and swelling of the vulva and vaginal area
  •     Thick, curd-like vaginal discharge
  •     Vaginal odour
  •     Pain when you urinate
  •     Pain when you have sex

In men, symptoms of a yeast infection or thrush:

  •     Irritation, redness, and scaly look on the head of the penis
  •     Swelling of the head of the penis
  •     Difficulty in pulling back the foreskin of the penis
  •     Whitish discharge from the penis

Image removed.

Remember, if you have candida it may look totally different from the photos! Sometimes you don’t even notice it. If you’re in any doubt, go to the doctor or a clinic.

How do you get tested for Candida?

If you think you’re infected with Candida - a yeast infection - you can go to your doctor to get tested. Your doctor will examine the infected area, and may take a swab and test it for Candida.

How do you get rid of Candida?

Candida or thrush is easily treated.

The symptoms of irritation, itchiness, and discharge don’t cause serious health problems.

You’ve a few options for treatment:
1. Natural remedies such as Acidophilus tablets
2. Over-the-counter creams or suppositories, such as Monistat, which come in one-day, three-day, or seven-day packages.
3. Prescribed medication such as the one-dose fluconazole (Diflucan)

Depending on how bad your symptoms are, your doctor may recommend any of the three treatment options.

Keep in mind that over-the-counter creams or suppositories may contain oil that can damage condoms. So speak to your local pharmacist to see whether your suppository or cream contains any oil. If it does, avoid using it with condoms.

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