Do you have an itchy feeling you hardly noticed at first, but then its intensity seems to increase? And even after you stopped wearing tight jeans your itch still doesn’t go away? You might have a yeast infection, and your tight jeans may have something to do with it.
A fungus (Candida) causes what is commonly known as a “yeast” infection. Candida is often present in the human body, but it only causes you problems when there’s too much of it.
Yeast infections usually cause the vagina and the area outside the vagina to become itchy and red. Other symptoms include:
Some women may produce discharge between their menstrual periods, this usually is not a yeast infection, especially without itching. This infection is most common in women aged 16 to 35. And you don’t need to be sexually active to experience one.
Though itchiness is a main symptom of yeast infections, if you’ve never had one before, it’s hard to be sure just what’s causing your discomfort. The first time you should have your doctor make a diagnosis, and should you have one again, you can more easily recognize its symptoms.
The main cause of Candida’s infection is a lowered immune system, usually when you are run down from doing too much, lack of rest or illness.
Repeated yeast infections can also be caused by:
- poor nutrition
- major diet changes
- use of antibiotics and other medications (birth control pills)
Some women get mild yeast infections towards the end of their menstrual periods. These mild infections sometimes go away as the menstrual cycle progresses. Pregnant women are also more prone to develop yeast infections.
Sometimes hot, humid weather can make it easier for yeast infections to develop and grow. Wearing layers of clothing that make you too warm (tight jeans) increases its likelihood.
If one sexual partner has a yeast infection, the other partner should also be treated. Men are less likely to be aware they have an infection due to the lack of symptoms. When male symptoms do occur, they typically exhibit a moist, white, scaling rash on the penis, and itchiness or redness under the foreskin.
Over-the-counter products used for vaginal yeast infections have one of four active ingredients:
- tioconazole (Vagistat)
- butoconazole nitrate (Femstat 3)
- miconazole (Monistat 7 and others)
- clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin and others)
When you visit your doctor, for your “first time” diagnosis, ask which product would be best for you.
Once you start treatment, your symptoms usually improve within a couple of days. However, continue using the medication for the number of days directed, despite lack of symptoms.
The aforementioned OTC products are only for vaginal yeast infections, thus they should not be used by men or yeast infections that occur in other areas of your body, such as the mouth or under the fingernails. Candida infections in your mouth are called “thrush.”
Using artificial fingernails increases your chance for yeast infections under your natural nails, which start in that space between. Treatment for this type of infections, as well as those skin folds, such as underarms or between toes, requires use of a different product for its treatments.
Knowing the causes and symptoms of yeast infections can help you take steps, such as not wearing tight jeans, to greatly reduce its occurrence.