Understanding Fungal Infections and Discussing Treatment and Prevention

Understanding Fungal Infections and Discussing Treatment and Prevention

Fungal infections are one of the most common occurrences around us. This is due to the fact that fungi are capable of living almost everywhere – in the water, soil, air and in living organisms. Yes, that includes us humans too. As commonly as the character Dr. House used to say „everybody lies“, he was also quite often suspicious that the underlying cause of a certain disease might actually be – you guessed it, a fungal infection. Fungi belong to the family of microbes and like many other microbes they can be harmful or beneficial.
In this article, we’ll focus on the harmful type that can cause various infections in the human body. That being said, here are the most common types, along with their symptoms, proper treatments and prevention methods.

Tinea pedis or also knows as athlete’s foot is a very common type of fungal infection which affects the foot. People who are the least strangers to this type are athletes because fungus grows perfectly in warm, moist environments. In light of that, it is logical that the combo of factors such as socks and shoes, sports equipment and locker rooms may easily lead to such fungal infection. But that doesn’t mean that only athletes are at risk. Anyone can get affected by athlete’s foot. 

Apart from the above-mentioned conditions for its growht, it is important to mention that this type is most commonly found in areas with warmer climate as the heat helps this type to quickly multiply.

Although the symptoms of athlete’s foot may vary from person to person, there are some shared symptoms which include:

  • redness or blisters on the infected skin
  • the skin that’s infected may become soft, or a few of its layers may begin to break down
  • skin that’s peeling or cracking
  • skin that scales and peels away
  • sensations of itching, stinging, or burning

Treatment and Prevention

It’s paramount to mention that not all itchy feet are suffering from athlete’s foot. The general procedure doctors perform as to diagnose the infection consists of scraping a piece of the skin off of a person and the piece then is inspected under a microscope for any sings of the presence of fungus. 

When it comes to the type of fungi that can cause athlete’s foot, it’s not just one type. This is why the infection may behave differently depending on the sub-type of fungus that has infected the skin. 

Athlete’s foot is usually treated with topical antifungal ointments. These can be purchased over-the-counter or online. Sometimes, the infection can be severe in which case additional oral medications are a must. Until one gets rid of this type of fungus, the feet must be kept clean and dry at all times.This type of infection can be prevented by letting the feet breathe often and keeping them clean and dry in the fisrt place. For instance, it’s not a bad idea to wear sandals in public showers or locker rooms.

Vaginal yeast infections come in the form of Candida overgrowth and this is present only in women. The infection is usually caused by Candida albicans. This is a state/process that comes in the form of Candida overgrowth that initially disrupts the normal balance of the bacteria and yeast present in the vagina. 

This imbalance of bacteria may be caused mainly by antibiotics, stress, and hormone imbalances, but also by poor eating habits.

The following points are what yeast infection symptoms include:

  • itching and swelling sensations located around the vagina
  •  the feeling of burning or pain during urination/intercourse
  •  redness and soreness in the area of the vagina
  • vaginal discharge that is not the usual, daily one, but instead there are gray clumps that resemble cottage cheese and it can also come in the form of a very watery discharge

Note: Yeast infections must be treated on time, because if left untreated, the symptoms can become severe.

Treatment and Prevention

The symptoms of a yeast infection are quite easy to diagnose. During the examination, the doctor may ask about one’s medical history regarding any previous yeast infections or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Whether the patient has been recently taking antibiotics also matters.

The patient is examined by the doctor in a way that he/she will take a look at the vaginal walls and cervix.In certain cases, taking cells from the vagina is also necessary for more correct diagnosis. There are different types of treatment for such infections, depending on their severity. The most common ones come in the form of creams, tablets or suppositories. These can be attained over-the-counter, online or with a prescription. The more serious ones call for more serious action.

The best prevention for yeast infections begins is a balanced diet and proper hygiene. Wearing loose-fitting clothing from natural fibers only can also be helpful.

Jock Itch

Tinea cruris, (also known as jock itch), is another fungal skin infection that many people suffer from. This type of fungi are attracted to warm and damp environments. Tinea cruris, (also known as jock itch), is another fungal skin infection that many people suffer from. This type of fungi are attracted to warm and damp environments.

 Due to this, they can thrive in different moist areas of the body, including the groin, buttocks, and inner thighs. This type of infection is more common in summer and in more humid, yet warm areas of the world.
It is somewhat contagious and it can be spread most easily through direct contact with an infected person,but it can also happen through a contact with an object that is carrying the fungus. This type of infection can be present in both men and women.

Symptoms include:

  • redness in the groin are, the buttocks, or the thighs
  • chafing, irritation, itching, or burning sensations
  • a red rash with a noticeable circular shape
  • cracking, flaking, or dry peeling of the skin in the infected area

Treatment and Prevention

Jock itch is usually treated with topical antifungal ointments and adopting proper hygiene. Many cases of jock itch can be improved simply by taking over-the-counter medications, but that’s not always the case. Cleaning the affected area thoroughly and keeping it dry can help to kill the fungus a lot faster. This type of infection can also be prevented by wearing loose-fitting clothes made of natural fibers.

Tinea corporis or ringworm is a type of skin infection that occurs due to a fungus that thrives on dead tissues. This includes the skin, hair and nails. In fact, ringworm is the very fungus that causes jock itch and athlete’s foot. However, if it appears anywhere else on the body, it is just referred to as ringworm. 

This type of infection is quite easy to notice because of its unique shape. It comes in the form of a red patch that may itch or be scaly. It turns into a raised, ring-shaped patch of skin over time and could spread out into more rings. This type of fungal infection is highly contagious. Apart from skin-to-skin contact, it can also be transmitted from contact with pets that can be carriers (dogs for instance). It can also survive on objects or infect soil and mud.

Treatment and Prevention

Doctors usually take a skin sample to inspect for the presence of this fungus. After confirming a diagnosis, depending on the severity of the situation, the doctor will decide upon the proper treatment, whether it should be creams and medicated ointments or something stronger. Regarding prevention, maintaining basic hygiene can help treat and prevent this type of infection as well as avoiding shared items and towels.

Back to Top