Systemic yeast infections can affect men, women and children. Signs and symptoms can be both external and internal. Systemic yeast usually starts with an overgrowth of candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus that lives naturally in the digestive tract and colon. This condition is called candidiasis, which is a yeast infection. This excess systemic yeast can stem from taking too many antibiotics or birth control bills, an overuse of corticosteroids, poor diet or food allergies, chlorinated water and even air pollution. Most people experience symptoms at some point, especially if the candida overgrowth has been building up in the large intestines over an extended period of time.
Skin Rash or Irritation
One symptom of systemic yeast infection is a skin rash or irritation. These rashes can appear anywhere on the body. Some common locations for babies include around the mouth and diaper area. Adults can have these rashes or irritations on their face, on the scalp, under the breast, in the lower abdominal region, beneath skin folds and inside their toenails. Many people treat external symptoms with nystatin creams when the underlying problem is more systemic in nature.
Genital Itching and Irritation
Women sometimes get vaginal yeast infections. One symptom of this type of infection is a thick white or yellowish discharge that looks like cottage cheese. Burning and itching is another symptom. There may also be a starchy odor. Women with vaginal yeast infections often have burning when they urinate. Unlike urinary tract infections, this burning sensation is usually felt as the urine exits the body.
Men can get yeast infections on their penis or scrotum. A rash with little red bumps may indicate a yeast infection. Men can have severe itching and burning with this type of infection, and there might be an odor as well.
While candida lives externally as well as inside the colon, recurring yeast infections in the genital area usually indicate that the problem is systemic.
Those who have food allergies or intolerances may get gastritis from systemic yeast. The food to which one is allergic can irritate the lining of the stomach, making him more prone to a yeast infection. Common food allergies include milk, wheat, yeast and soy. People with gastritis often take nystatin to eliminate the yeast infestation. Gluten- and sugar-free diets are also recommended for people with food allergies.
Small amounts of candida are also present in the mouth. Systemic yeast overgrowth can cause candida in the mouth to overproduce as well. Thrush usually causes creamy white and small lesions within walls of the cheeks or under the tongue. It can also occur on the roof of the mouth, gums and at the back of the throat. Older adults who wear dentures may have an irritation in their gums. Lesions can have a cottage cheese appearance. The soreness can make it difficult to brush the teeth. Sometimes, thrush can spread into the esophagus.
Over time, candida overgrowth can cause certain autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn's disease and multiple chemical sensitivities. Those who suffer from fibromyaligia suffer from chronic pain in the muscles and joints. People with chronic fatigue syndrome often have little energy to do even basic tasks. And Crohn's disease causes severe and chronic diarrhea. Anyone who has these symptoms may have a problem with candidiasis.