Over 70 percent of women will experience a vaginal yeast infection sometime in their life. For many, they will experience more than one, and the symptoms are undeniable. Different factors cause yeast infections, and there is no shortage of over-the-counter and prescription medications, along with a long list of all-natural home remedies. Before you can understand how these treatments work, you first have to understand what it is that makes you itch in the first place.
Most Common Yeast Infections
The most common type of yeast infection the vaginal kind, known as Candidiasis. Candida is a fungus found on all human bodies, but when there is an overgrowth of fungi, it results in an infection. Women are not the only ones who experience yeast infections, nor are vaginal infections the only type of yeast infection. Men also can develop yeast infections on their genitals, and the yeast can be passed back and forth between sex partners.
Other Places Where Yeast Infections Occur
Thrush is one example of another type of yeast infections. Thrush appears in the mouth and can spread to the esophagus. Yeast infections also can appear anywhere on the skin, and yeast that enters the bloodstream can be life-threatening. Interigo is an infection of the folds of the skin, such as the groin, under breasts and abdominal folds. Other infections include candidal diaper rash, body rash caused by excessive sweating or antibiotic use and infections of the folds around the fingernail and the webbed skin between fingers.
Symptoms of Yeast Infections
The No. 1 symptom of a vaginal yeast infection is itching, sometimes severe. Other symptoms include burning in the vagina and the vulva, a white discharge that sometimes resembles cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, pain during sexual intercourse and swelling of the vulva. Men typically experience a red rash around the genital area, along with burning and itching at the tip of the penis. Other types of less common yeast infections do not always include itching, such as thrush, which produces white patches on the tongue and mouth that resemble cottage cheese curds, sore tongue and mouth and difficulty swallowing. Nursing babies who have thrush can pass the infection to their mothers’ nipples.
What Makes Yeast Infections Itch
A yeast infection is made up of mutated fungus. The fungus attaches itself to the skin using its rhizoids or hooks. It then feeds on the body’s skin cells. As it feeds, it burrows its way further into the skin, where it finds fresh cells.
Preventing Further Itching
The longer the fungus is allowed to feed and the deeper it burrows into the skin, the harder it will be to get rid of it. It should also be noted that scratching only makes the infection worse because it damages the skin, allowing the fungus to burrow even deeper.