More than 20 types of candida (yeast) normally live in your GI tract, on your skin, and in your mucus membranes without causing any problems. Their growth is kept in check by bacteria.But when something happens to kill off the bacteria or change the conditions where yeast lives, it can multiply and cause mild to serious infections.
This article touches on the most common causes.
- Antibiotics. If you use broad-spectrum antibiotics like tetracycline or amoxicillin to fight off another infection, these antibiotics can also kill off the healthy bacteria that keep the yeast in check.
- Corticosteroids. The use of inhaled corticosteroids for asthma is linked to oral candidiasis (thrush), a yeast infection in your mouth.
People who wear dentures, particularly those who also have diabetes, may be more likely to get thrush. Clean your dentures thoroughly each night to prevent infection.
Douches and Vaginal Sprays
Some products can change the acidity level in your vagina. That encourages the growth of yeast and can remove the helpful bacteria that keep yeast at bay.
Wearing underwear (or tight jeans or a wet swimsuit) that doesn’t breathe can increase body heat and moisture in the vagina. This creates conditions yeast likes to grow in. Choose underwear with a cotton crotch, and change out of swimsuits and workout clothes as soon as possible.
Change babies’ diapers often. Soiled and wet diapers can lead to diaper rash. Once the skin is irritated, a yeast infection can set in.
Other Medical Causes
- Diabetes. If your diabetes isn’t well-controlled, the increase in sugar in the mucus membranes (moist tissues) of your vagina can create a fertile environment for yeast to grow.
- Weakened immune system. If you have HIV/AIDS or another condition that hampers your immune system, your body can’t fight off infections as well. If you’re getting cancer treatment or have had an organ transplant, your chances of getting yeast infections like thrush or invasive candidiasis are higher.
- Hospitalization. When yeast enters the bloodstream, doctors call that invasive candidiasis. It’s most common in people who have recently been admitted to a hospital or live in another type of health care facility, such as a nursing home.