Untreated Yeast Infection

Is it Harmful? What are the Effects?

untreated yeast infectionYou have an untreated yeast infection and you want to know if it is harmful if left untreated. Or what are the risks of a yeast infection left untreated? And, maybe most importantly, will it go away on its own?

We will discuss all of that below. But let's step back a bit first and discuss the basics of a yeast infection.

If you are not aware of it, yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of Candida Albicans, a yeast that is naturally present in and on many people's bodies.

In fact, 50% of people have the Candida yeast in their mouths and it can also be found in the gastrointestinal tract, on our skin, in a woman's vagina, on a man's penis and even in our eyes.

Usually, this Candida yeast, or fungus, is completely harmless and we never know it's there. However, the yeast can grow rapidly and cause a yeast infection when there is an imbalance in our bodies.

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Some reasons for this imbalance include a weakened immune system, taking antibiotics, a change in the pH balance of our body or if we provide it with a warm, moist, comfortable environment.

(You can read more about the causes of a yeast infection here.)

Yeast Infection Symptoms

For the most part, yeast infections are not generally serious and are irritating and itchy, rather than painful. Depending on the area of the body, symptoms can include:

  • Red, sore skin – A rash or blister can occur and skin can even crack and weep.
  • Curd-like vaginal discharge – It can also sometimes smell yeasty.
  • Itching
  • Soreness or burning
  • Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, gas and constipation.
  • White spots or a tick white or yellow covering on the tongue and mouth membranes.

These symptoms will generally stay the same in an untreated yeast infection.

Yeast infections can be treated relatively easy with over the counter antifungal medication, including creams, drops, tablets or pessaries/suppositories, or by stronger prescription drugs.

Some people also swear by using natural remedies such as live yogurt, a vinegar or bicarbonate of soda solution, garlic and essential oils or herbs. You can learn more about home remedies here.

What Happens if You Leave a Yeast Infection Untreated?

So now you know that you have a yeast infection (also known as candidiasis). What happens next?

I will tell you what you probably want to hear - untreated yeast infections have been known to disappear of their own accord. Infections can go away without any type of treatment whatsoever as the body builds its own defenses and attacks the yeast.

In addition, vaginal yeast infections tend to disappear as a woman menstruates and the blood washes the yeast away.

There aren't usually any serious health concerns or problems associated with an untreated yeast infection.

But do you really want to have to avoid sexual intercourse, have bad breath, suffer with horrible gastrointestinal problems or have red raw skin?

In addition, if you leave a yeast infection untreated, although it may naturally sort itself out it is likely to recur or turn into a chronic yeast infection, causing much discomfort and distress.

Some physicians do believe that there can be more serious side effects to a yeast infection left untreated. If the Candida yeast is left to multiply even further, the body balance of natural bacteria can be upset, the person's immune system is affected, other parts of the body can become infected and toxins can even enter the bloodstream.

While these are rare side effects to an untreated yeast infection, they have been known to happen.

A person with an untreated yeast infection which goes out of control can also suffer with headaches, mood swings, fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal problems, mouth sores, sore throat, mouth blisters and blurred vision.

If you are trying to become pregnant, you should not have leave a yeast infection untreated. Untreated yeast infections can delay or prevent pregnancy.

While medical professionals are not exactly sure why this is the case, one reason put forth is that the yeast infection will affect the pH of the vagina. This change in pH can have an adverse effect on the sperm, making it more difficult to get pregnant.

Why go through the discomfort of an untreated yeast infection? Because it may be a little embarrassing? Forget about it and take care of that untreated yeast infection.

So while any serious side affects from a yeast infection left untreated are rare, it is better to take steps to get rid of it sooner rather than later.

Treatment and Prevention

At the first sign of a yeast infection, you should start treating it. It is far better to treat it and get rid of it before it gets any worse.

If you have never been diagnosed with candidiasis before, you should consult your doctor to make sure that is what you have. You do not want to be treating the wrong ailment. A yeast infection can be mistaken for other diseases.

If you know you have a yeast infection, you can buy an over the counter treatment or try some home remedies.

Over the counter medications contain active antifungal agents and are very effective in treating yeast infections.

Natural home remedies include using live yogurt, a vinegar solution, a bicarbonate of soda solution or a tea tree oil solution to apply to the affected area.

There are also things you can do to prevent yeast infections from coming back:

  • Eat live yogurt or use probiotics – These products help to restore the body's supply of friendly bacteria which help to control the amount of Candida yeast in the body.
  • Wear cotton underwear – Synthetic materials can make you sweat, making a warm, moist environment which helps the yeast to multiply.
  • Wear cotton garments, avoid tight briefs and don't wear overly tight jeans.
  • Don't wear underwear to bed – Let air get to your genitals to keep them cool and dry.
  • Take off wet swim wear or damp clothes as soon as you can and dry yourself properly.
  • Make sure that you dry every part of the body after showering or bathing – Bits that people often miss include between the toes, under the arms, the genitals and in skin folds.
  • Consider following an anti-candida diet if you keep getting yeast infections – This involves reducing sugar and sweet foods, cutting out yeast foods, beer and mold foods such as blue cheese.
  • Treat both partners – In the case of a yeast infection that affects the genitals, both partners should be treated to prevent reinfection.

Look out for warning signs and symptoms and take action straight away if you suspect that you have a yeast infection.

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