The main cause of yeast infection is an overgrowth of a type of fungus called Candida, specifically Candida albicans. Candida is normally present in the body, including in the mouth, throat, gut, and genital area, but it is usually kept in check by the body’s immune system and the presence of other types of bacteria. However, certain factors can disrupt the balance of bacteria and yeast in the body and allow Candida to grow unchecked. These factors can include:
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics can kill off the bacteria that normally keep yeast in check, allowing yeast to overgrow.
- Hormonal changes: Changes in hormone levels, such as those that occur during pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause, can disrupt the balance of bacteria and yeast in the body.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are more susceptible to yeast infections because high blood sugar levels can encourage yeast growth.
- Weakened immune system: A weakened immune system due to illness or medications such as chemotherapy can allow yeast to overgrow.
- Tight clothing: Wearing tight-fitting clothing, especially synthetic fabrics that don’t allow the skin to breathe, can create a moist environment that is conducive to yeast growth.
- Sexual activity: Sexual activity can introduce new bacteria and yeast into the genital area, which can disrupt the balance of bacteria and yeast in the body.