A yeast infection is a build up of yeast cells in a particular area.
Yeast cells are naturally present on the skin and in areas of moisture, like the mouth and the vagina. Because yeasts are naturally present in a healthy vagina, and the warm, dark, moist environment of the vagina is the ideal breeding ground for yeast cells, women are more prone to experience yeast infections when the balance of yeast cells in the area is upset.Yeast cells also thrive in other areas on the body – in the mouth, under the nails, the anus and can basically live anywhere there is skin. When the natural balance is upset in favor of the yeast cells, an infection occurs.
Many things can upset this natural balance:
- Antibiotics or immunosuppressive drugs can eradicate the normal, protective bacteria present and allow the yeast cells to multiply.
- Chemotherapy or any treatment that lowers normal immunity can also tip the balance in favor of yeast cells.
- Using douches or perfumed hygiene sprays can increase the risk of vaginal yeast infections.
- Diabetes can predispose a woman to developing yeast infections.
- Pregnancy alters the hormonal balance and can also increase the risk of developing a yeast infection, as can taking oral contraceptives.
- Eating too much of foods that feed yeast – such as sugar, yeast and refined foods, can also upset the body’s natural balance.
- The steroids in asthma inhalers can trigger a yeast infection – which is why it is important to rinse your mouth after using the inhaler.
- Synthetic underwear traps moisture and heat – creating a perfect environment for yeast.