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Fungal Infections Testing, Diagnosis & Treatment

Fungal infections are caused by fungi. Fungi are ubiquitous in nature; they can be found in water, air, animals, plants, and soil. Just like other microbes, fungi can be both helpful and harmful to living organisms. When harmful fungi invade the human body to the extent that the immune system cannot handle, it leads to fungal infections. Fungi are very persistent since they can thrive in different conditions.

This article gives you information on who is at risk of contracting a fungal infection, different types of the infection, its symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and treated.

Risk factors

Fungal infections are very prevalent in humans, but they can be treated if discovered quickly, and the right treatment is administered. People who are on antibiotic medication and have a weak immune system are more likely to come down with a fungal infection. People who have diabetes and those undergoing cancer treatment are also at a higher risk of contracting a fungal infection.

General symptoms

There are different types of fungal infections, and each one has its symptom, but there are some symptoms common to all of them. They include

  • Constant itching.
  • Red skin that may break or peel off.

 

Types of fungal infections

  1. Yeast infection – vaginal yeast infections are a result of an overgrowth of Candida albicans in the vagina. This leads to an imbalance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina. Vaginal yeast infection may be as a result of stress, hormone imbalance, lack of balanced diet, antibiotics, amongst others.

Candida can also lead to fungal toenail infection and diaper rash.

Symptoms              

Symptoms for vaginal yeast infection include.

  • Severe itching around the vagina
  • Intense pain during sex and when urinating
  • Soreness of the vagina
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva
  • Thick white or watery vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese.
  • Development of rashes over time

Yeast infections can become very severe if left untreated.

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Diagnosis

Yeast infections are very easy to diagnose. A doctor will examine the cervix and vaginal wall for any sign of the infection; they will take cells from the vagina for further diagnosis by lab tests. The doctor may ask if the patient was on any antibiotics medication and for the patient’s sexual medical history to confirm if there has been a previous vaginal yeast infection or STIs.

Treatment

Treatment for yeast infections includes cream, suppositories, or tablets sold over-the-counter, online or prescribed by a health professional. The severity of a yeast infection determines the type of treatment to be administered. Complex yeast infections would require more serious treatment than those listed above.

Prevention

Yeast infection can be prevented by practising proper hygiene, eating balanced diets, washing underwear in hot water, using feminine that prevents the growth of fungi and wearing clothes made of natural fibres.

 

  1. Tinea cruris – also called jock itch. It is a common fungal infection that affects parts of the body that are usually wet or damp like the inner thighs, buttocks, and genitals. It is contagious, transmitted through direct contact with the fungi or an infected person.

Symptoms

  • Circular red rash on the skin of affected areas.
  • Itching, irritation and burning sensation of the affected area.
  • Redness of the buttocks, groin, and thighs.
  • Peeling, flaking, or cracking of the skin on the affected areas.

Prevention

  • Avoid direct contact with an infected person
  • Avoid sharing of clothing or towel.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes made of natural fibres like cotton

Diagnosis

A doctor can identify a tinea cruris infection just by looking at the appearance of the infected parts of the body. A confirmatory test may be done by inspecting a skin sample.

Treatment

Over-the-counter antifungal ointments can be used. The fungal infection can be killed by keeping the affected area clean and dry. In more severe cases of tinea cruris infection, a prescription may be needed from a doctor.

  1. Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) – it is a fungal infection that affects the foot. It is common in athletes. Fungal growth is predominant in a warm environment like sports equipment, locker rooms, shoes and socks and all these are used by athletes, hence the name athlete foot. Athlete feet can also affect other people, especially during summer and those in warmer climates.

Symptoms

  • Softness, peeling, and break down of infected areas.
  • Itching, burning and stinging of infected areas of the skin.
  • Blisters and redness of infected areas.

Prevention

  • Allow the feet to have plenty of air.
  • Clean and dry the feet always.
  • Wear sandals in public locker rooms and shower.

Diagnosis

The areas of the feet affected are scraped off and examined under a microscope by a doctor to ensure that the infection is athlete’s foot. Itchy feet is not exclusive to the athlete’s feet; different types of fungi can cause athlete’s foot.

Treatment

Over-the-counter antifungal ointments can be applied topically to affected areas, but in severe cases, oral medications may be prescribed by a doctor. Keeping the feet clean and dry can kill the fungus.

  1. Ringworm (tinea corporis) – it is a fungal infection that affects dead tissues on the hair, nails, and skin. Ringworm leads to athlete’s foot and jock itch. It is called ringworm when it affects other parts of the body, asides the feet, thighs, buttocks, and groin. It is a contagious infection transmitted by direct contact with an infected person, objects like cloth, towels and from pets. The fungus thrives in mud and soil, so can be contracted from thee sources.

Symptoms

Ringworm is by red patches on the skin that itches or is scaly. The scales often turn into raised ring-shaped patches that spread over time. Inside the ring remains clear while outside become red, raised and bumpy.

Prevention

You can prevent ringworm by practising good hygiene, keeping the skin dry and clean at all times, wearing footwear in public places and avoid sharing clothes and towels with people.

Diagnosis

Other skin conditions look like ringworm, so a doctor has to confirm that an infection is a ringworm infection by taking a skin sample for close examination.

Treatment

Treatment is administered depending on the severity of the infection. A doctor may prescribe medication for severe ringworm or creams and ointments bought over the counter or online can be used.

Conclusion

Fungal infections are very common and can be prevented by simply practising good hygiene. They can be easily treated with over-the-counter creams and ointments, but severe infections need additional prescriptions from a doctor.

There’s Only One Way to Know

Getting tested is not only quick and easy, it’s the only way to know for sure
if you do or do not have an STD.

Put Your Mind at Ease Today

or call 020 7183 0649