Before we begin an extensive discussion on what happens when a yeast infection is left untreated, it is important to understand what a yeast infection is and what the symptoms of such infections are.
A yeast infection is also known as candida and is an infection that happens in the vagina, mouth or skin in which there is rapid and uncontrollable growth of yeast. The yeast infection that happens in the vagina is called vaginitis, while a yeast infection in the mouth is known by the name thrush. A yeast infection that occurs on the skin is called intertrigo or tinea versicolor. When the yeast infection takes place in the vagina, there can be seen a white creamy discharge, resembling cottage cheese from the vagina and vaginal itching. When yeast infection takes place in the mouth, there are small white patches on the tongue and the insides of the cheek are. On the other hand, yeast infection taking place in the skin are represented by white patches on the skin that are irritable and itchy. Yeast infections can actually be treated through over the counter drugs or even using home remedies like eating yogurt. If the case gets too severe, it’s best to consult a gynecologist.
Causes of Yeast Infection
Yeast is a type of fungus, and yeast infection takes place when there is an overgrown of this type of fungus. This infection may also be termed as candida vaginitis or even vulvovaginal candidiasis. The most important and popular fungus causing yeast infection is the fungus called Candida albicans. Though this is the most common fungus associated with yeast infection, some other fungus that causes yeast infections are mainly from other Candida species like C. glabrata, C.parapsilosis, C. tropicalis and C. krusei.
It has been found in an empirical study, that around and up to 75 percentages of women will get a vaginal yeast infection at some point in their lives at least once. Further, around 40% to 50% women will get it at least more than once in a lifetime. This study was conducted and published in The Lancet. To further explain the frequency, almost 4% to 8% women experience what is called a recurrent or chronic yeast infection, when the yeast infection occurs almost four to five times in one single year.
Men, can in fact, also get yeast infection in their mouth, genitals or other regions of the skin. Most infections need a maximum of 3 to 4 days to heal. However, if they persist for over a week, it is advised to see the doctor immediately, in case of something severe.
The Candida virus causes the infection when some events are such that affect the balance between the microorganisms that live in or on your body. Such events may be:
- Medications like birth control pill, steroids and antibiotics.
- Disease that harm the immune system like HIV
- Chronic diseases like diabetes
- Excess stress
- Lack of sleep as it suppresses the immune system.
Besides these, there are also certain habits that are incorporated in our lifestyles, which may also promote the growth of Candida fungus. Such lifestyle habits are:
- Consuming a diet that is rich in sugar. This happens as the yeast feed on sugar.
- Using in excess bubble bath, feminine genital washes and scented soaps.
- Usage of IUDs.
- Maintaining a vaginal health that is poor and unhygienic.
- Wearing such clothes that keep the vaginal area warm and moist like synthetic underwear and pajama bottoms.
- Wearing tight jeans or spandex.
Symptoms of Yeast Infections
In order to understand whether one has actually has a yeast infection, it is important to be aware of the following signs and symptoms of yeast infection:
- Itching in the vaginal area, especially near the vulva which is the opening of the vagina.
- A burning sensation in the vaginal area.
- Swelling in the vaginal area, especially near the vulva
- A white or grayish vaginal discharge that might look like cottage cheese.
- A burning sensation while urinating.
- An intense pain during vaginal intercourse.
Most yeast infections do not produce any strong and indicative odor. A strong fishy smell in the vagina may be accompanied when the vagina is affected by a bacterial growth of the bacteria Candida albicans.
What Happens If You Don’t Take Care of a Yeast Infection?
Most people who do not have adequate financial backing may find it more convenient to keep a yeast infection untreated. However, a yeast infection does not heal or even get better only by itself. It needs some medical intervention. Waiting for the yeast infection to heal by itself, is simply being ignorant and it shall lead to nothing favorable. A yeast infection does not get better with time, it usually just deteriorates. The itching and burning sensation that is so commonly associated with yeast infection only becomes more severe if ignored. The itching in the vagina or even in the skin simply worsens and the itching becomes way more severe. The patchy areas in the mouth caused by yeast infections become larger and more widespread. Dr. Orli R. Etingen who is a professor in the field of gynecology in New York Weill Cornell Medical Center has however stated that untreated yeast infections may not eventually lead to infertility and scarring, but it is definitely better to get it checked.
However, in case of a pregnant woman or a woman trying to become pregnancy, it is of immediate urgency that the yeast infection be treated as soon as possible, as an untreated pregnancy may come the way of getting pregnant and cause further complications. An untreated yeast infection is absolutely irritable as the vaginal area remains itchy and may also seem visually unpleasant. Besides these, the yeast infection cuts down on the immunity system and strength of the body. When the body is constantly trying to fight the yeast infection, it lacks the immunity to fight against any other microorganism that may be harming you simultaneously.
A more detailed discussion of the harmful effects of an untreated yeast infection is given below:
Yeast Infection Affects the Immunity System: Some yeast that grows on our body is in fact important for the normal functioning of the body. Yeast infections, however are not desirable, they are caused when too much yeast is present at a certain part of the body, which is usually the vaginal area. Yeast is, in fact, opportunistic microorganisms that thrive in damp areas. So, it is very important that such grooming measures are taken up from a young age that will primarily rid these conditions. There are of course certain natural hacks that exist that help a woman to avoid getting infected and have an infection free vagina. Yeast infections that are kept untreated may lead to lowered immunity that will prevent and help fighting other health conditions. If the yeast infection in at all left untreated, it may spread to other areas. The lowered immunity levels makes the body way more vulnerable to other infections and attacks by other microorganisms, making the body weak and susceptible to many hazards. This is a primary reason why you must always report a case of yeast infection and consult a physician immediately after you get a sign of a yeast infection. If the yeast infection is actually kept untreated, it will lead to severe itching and burning to such an extent that it will even be impossible to urinate without any bodily sensations of pain and burning.
Yeast Infection at the Time of Menstruation: For those who experienced the yeast infection while on their menstrual cycle, are at a huge risk of the infection spreading into the intestines. This is a severe hazard and a very uncomfortable sensation. If this actually takes place, it can lead to several health problems, generally associated to the anal region. If the infection actually does travel up to the intestines, it may lead to irritable bowel movement, diarrhea, bloating in the lower regions of the body as well as other uncomfortable symptoms.
Yeast Infection and Conception: A yeast infection at the time of conception or in a time when a couple is trying to conceive a child, a yeast infection that has been left untreated, may cause immense complications in the process of successful fertilization. The presence of the yeast in the vaginal area may cause an environment that is not suitable for the sperm to live. The PH levels are also harmfully affected by a yeast infection, which may again lead to further problems.
Yeast Infection may at sometimes disappear on its own. Though it has been found that yeast infections do not generally heal by themselves, it is possible that the yeast infection will heal when the yeast have run courses all over in the body. But an untreated yeast infection can make a woman’s life miserable and very difficult because of all the side effects that are related to having a yeast infection. When a woman has an yeast infection that has been completely left untreated, it may lead to constant itching, a painful burning sensation, difficulty even while urinating and it may also be a reason which will make it impossible for you to have a healthy and pleasurable sexual life. Sexual intimacy when the yeast infection is active is not exactly something that most people enjoy.
There are a number of home remedies that are available to combat yeast infection, with such readily available means to get rid of the pain and the uncomfortable sensation, there is no reason why one should put up with such an undesirable and irritable condition. It is in fact, best to get it treated as soon as possible.
When the Yeast infection is kept untreated, there is a high chance that the infection will lapse over time. It may just so happen that the yeast infection may come back in later dates. This can actually turn into a chronic condition, called chronic yeast infection which will lead to even worse conditions. If the yeast infection becomes chronic, they will be recurring in character which is likely to cause huge inconvenience and a lot of pain in the future. This is the reason, why an yeast infection should not be kept untreated at all. It is rather better to feel embarrassed for a short while that to keep up with such suffering caused by a constant burning and itching sensation, regularly throughout life. This, like any other infection should not be considered a source of embarrassment. It is an abnormal condition of the body that should not make one anxious or awkward.
Rare Side Effects of Yeast Infection
Though rarely, but yeast infections may even have certain side effects if left untreated. Such side-effects include headaches, mood swings, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and problems in the mouth or anal canal like sores and blisters.
The other most important reason why an yeast infection should be treated immediately is because, what is being considered as yeast infection, might not be an yeast infection. At some times, the symptoms of an yeast infection does mimic the conditions that are felt during other diseases.
It should be kept in mind that women are not exclusively affected by a yeast infection. It can happen to man or a woman at any time. However, women have a higher susceptibility to getting a yeast infection. It is advisable, that if one in a pair has been affected by a yeast infection, the best is to get the partner tested and treated for yeast infection. Fortunately, yeast infections are actually easy to not only prevent but also cure using basic home ingredients only.
It is hence stated that whenever the symptoms of a yeast infection seem to be felt, it is best to go a visit a doctor. Although there are several home remedies that are natural and are good to provide care against yeast infections, however, it is best to get it tested and checked by a doctor who will be able to assess the severity of the infection and treat the infarction in such a way that they don’t recur too often.