Yeast infections are caused by a group of fungi known as Candida with the most common types of infection occurring from the Candida albicans. Microscopic fungi normally live on the surface of all areas of the body, but under certain circumstances -- such as when the area remains moist and warm, or when competing organisms are driven off by the introduction of antibiotics -- this fungus can multiply rapidly, resulting in an infection.
Cause of Yeast Infections
The most common cause of yeast infections are due to taking antibiotics and steroids. These medications can cause an overgrowth of Candida resulting in a yeast infection. Other common causes include changes in the vagina during pregnancy, menstruation and menopause as well as the changes that can occur from using birth control pills. Individuals who have weak immune systems are also more vulnerable to yeast infections. The infection can affect one area of the body or the entire body, which can become life-threatening.
Symptoms of Yeast Infections
The symptoms of a yeast infection will depend on the area of the body that has become infected. Women with vaginal yeast infections typically experience a discharge that is cheesy and white in appearance as well as itching and irritation of the vagina and the areas surrounding it. There may also be burning during urination and pain during intercourse. When Candida affects the inside of the mouth, it is known as thrush. Symptoms will appear as white patches located on the tongue and inside the mouth.
Although cranberry juice is known to help eliminate urinary tract infections, it can also be very effective in preventing and perhaps treating yeast infections. Cranberry juice contains a substance that helps prevent bacteria from clinging to mucus membranes including the mouth, intestines and urinary tract. Cranberry juice also helps to correct the pH levels of urine, helping to prevent the overgrowth of fungi. By drinking fresh cranberry juice, the yeast is flushed out of the body.
Treatment with Cranberry Juice
If you choose to drink cranberry juice to help clear up a yeast infection, it is best to select unsweetened cranberry juice. Cranberry juice that contains sugar can cause the infection to worsen since yeast thrives on sugar. For individuals who do not like the taste of cranberry juice, cranberry pills can normally be found at a health food store. These will have the same effect as drinking the juice.