Yeast infections are caused by the Candida Albicans fungus. Residing naturally in our bodies, it normally does no harm due to the body's good bacteria. When your body's good bacteria is managing to keep the bad bacteria in check we can say that your bacterial environment is balanced.
However, under certain conditions, the bacterial environment can become unbalanced so that things such as the Candida fungus can actually overgrow. When this happens a yeast infection is the outcome.
The 'certain conditions' that can allow this to happen are things like; hormonal imbalance, pH imbalance, high blood sugar levels, a lowered immune system, friendly bacteria depletion, and some drug therapy.
In addition to these it is recognised that the fungus particularly enjoys the warm, moist, dark areas of the body where it can survive and grow more easily.
It is a fact that women suffer yeast infections more than men. Around 75% of females get an infection at some point in their lives, with just over 50% having recurrent infections.
Contrast that with the figure for men which is 12 - 15% and you can see that it seems that women do indeed get more yeast infections than men.
But, many men are ignorant of the fact that they may have a yeast infection because the symptoms in men can take longer to appear. And men can be hesitant to go to their doctor with the symptoms anyway. Taking this into account, it is then reasonable to suppose that the figure for men may be higher than 12 - 15%.
However, given the huge difference in women's and men's yeast infections -- even allowing for the understated male figure -- it is clear that women do suffer more infections than men. But why? What is it about women that puts them at a higher risk of Candida?
To answer that we need to look at the underlying causes above. Three things stand out as far as females are concerned and those are hormonal and pH imbalances and sugar. And also take into account that the Candida fungus prefers warm, moist, dark areas to grow in. Let us look at these in turn...
(1) Hormonal Imbalance
There are many situations that can lead to hormonal imbalances in women, e.g. oral contraception, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, HRT, and so on. This clearly puts them at higher risk than men.
(2) Vaginal pH Imbalance
Women use perfumed feminine hygiene products almost religiously and they tend to douche a lot as well. The problem with this is that these perfumed products alter the pH in the vagina. When this happens the environment starts to favour the fungus which can then turn into an infection.
(3) Vaginal Environment
Most yeast infections in women occur in the vagina. And it is easy to understand why, when you consider the issue about vaginal pH above coupled with the moist, warm, dark environment so loved by Candida. Clearly this puts them at a much higher risk than men.
(4) Sweet Tooth
There is some research that suggests that females consume more sugar than men. One hypothesis for this is that the female of the species has to maintain a certain level of body fat in order to sustain a healthy pregnancy. If this be true then they will have an in-built preference for calorie-rich food.
So there you have it, four reasons why women have more yeast infections than men. And as you can see, generally speaking, it is women's biological differences that put them at a higher risk than men.
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Article Added on Thursday, May 31, 2012
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