This article deals with sex and yeast infection and to what degree these are related. It also covers the symptoms, and other causes of yeast infections and the treatment of these maladies. The medical name for a yeast infection is candidiasis.
Candidiasis can affect the genitalia regions of both men and women; in this instance it is known as a yeast infection or in the case of women a vulvovaginal yeast infection. In the event that the disease has invaded the bloodstream it is known as candidemia or invasive candidiasis. (The occurrence of the more invasive 'candidemia' is associated with persons who have a severely damaged immune system, such as AIDS patients whose disease is poorly controlled).
Infection is caused by overgrowth of the fungus “Candida albicans”. The malady can be extremely painful or irritating and in certain rare cases very serious abd life-threatening. When men experience genital yeast infection they will often experience sores and inflammation or a burning sensation, normally on the head of the penis. This may be accompanied by difficulty and pain when passing urine; sometimes there is also a bad-odour discharge. Thrush infection can also cause sores and irritation in the groin and around the testes. It is a fact that with women, genital yeast infections are far more common than realized. Many as 75% of females are affected by an infection at least once during their lifetime. In females the infection normally attacks the vagina and the vulva are surrounding the vagina. In case of a serious infection the vulva may be swollen and there may be a "cheese-like" secretion. Sex may also be painful when one has candidiasis. Candidiasis can also occur in the mouth giving painful white sores; it can also develop in any region where there are folds of skin (for example the breasts).
Candida is always present in small amounts in the body. It is found for example in the vagina, esophagus, mouth and gastrointestinal tract. It is only when an overbalance occurs that the yeast fungus can multiply and symptoms of candidiasis appear. Triggers are:
Sexual Activity - Candidiasis is not sexually transmitted infection (STI). However, it can certainly be passed from partner to partner through sexual activity, including oral sex. It is most common for it to be passed from the female to the male. When one (or both) partners has been infected it is often necessary to treat both of them medically in order to completely rule out re-infection.
Use of spermicidal condoms and jellies - Most spermicides containnonoxynol-9. This chemical can be irritating for the female partner, disturbing her vaginal immunity and thus allowing fungal yeast to grow.
All creams, jellies, foams, gels, films and suppositories that are spermicidal can be a problem in the lives of some couples.
Stress and prolonged illness - prolonged periods of anxiety or stress or illness can set-off candidiasis. Elevated stress levels cause the body to release excess of the hormone cortisol. This causes a “double barrel" effect. The excess cortisol attacks the immune system and at the same time elevates the blood sugar levels. The yeast grows, (feeding off the sugar that has been generated), but it also grows far more rapidly than normal since the immune system has been badly damaged.
Antibiotics - Antibiotics which have been prescribed for other sicknesses can cause candidiasis. This is because they not only kill off "bad bacteria", but they also can kill off the healthy bacteria that are there fort he purpose of killing yeast. In the case of women, antibiotics can interfere with the natural pH level in the vagina making it less acidic and therefore less able to nurture healthy bacteria.
HIV and Diabetes - Patients with poorly controlled AIDS are at great risk from yeast infections since they have a weakened immune system the fungus can grow rapidly and appears as white patches in the throat, mouth and esophagus. With poorly controlled diabetes, increased blood sugar feeds the growth of the fungal yeast.
Eating too much sugar -Where there’s sugar, there is yeast. Having a lot of sugar in your bloodstream is like inviting yeast to a party!
Cure of Candidiasis
Finally in this article on sex and yeast infection, I will speak about the cure of candidiasis. Fluconazole is an anti-fungal medicine that has proved efficient in the treatment and prevention of candidiasis; for example in the case of women, 90% of cases can be effectively cured by one-time dose of this drug. Sometimes it is necessary (alongside the fluconazole) to include the use of vaginal suppositories or medical douches.
The most serious forms of candidiasis (as we have said) are those in which the whole bloodstream is infected; invasive candidiasis will often require multiple courses of fluconazole. Medical investigative research has shown that the drug micafungin has been efective in the treatment ofinvasive candidiasis (candidemia).
Another drug that has proved effective in the fight against resistant forms of candidiasis is caspofungin. Caspofungin goes under the brand name of 'Cancidas'. The majority of fungi similar to Candida (including candida albicans) react positively to caspofungin.