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Stress And The Immune System: How Can Stress Cause Yeast Infections?


Illness and infections due to stress are not new. After all, some stressors are not something you could easily beat with positivity and optimism. As you know, stress has various effects on the body. With a higher risk for stroke and psychosis, there is no doubt stress can cause yeast infections. And if you ever experienced yeast infections, you will know it is something you wouldn’t want to go through again. Aside from it takes time to heal, yeast infections are itchy, uncomfortable, and could even be painful. But how does stress make this happen? Is stress really the reason behind these infections? Reinforce your understanding of stress and prevent such complications from happening.


Stress And Its Effects On The Body

woman in stress

Have you ever ridden a rollercoaster? Suddenly stepped on the car break? Or ran before a chasing dog? These instances cause the body to stimulate a flight or fight response. And in these events, you feel changes like rapid heartbeats. While these effects could only last for a while, they will help you face or flee the danger. However, no matter how helpful this mechanism is, it could cause trouble as well. Problems happen when the body fails to differentiate such dangerous situations correctly. Hence, sometimes, even an argument with a friend or death could bring your body under these changes. And this is when stress enters the picture. Stress could cause the body to go under these changes for a long time. Hence, quick pulse, rapid breathing, and excessive muscle contractions last for an extended period even without the real danger.

The Blow On Immune System Under Stressful Conditions

This defense system contains all the right cells and proteins to protect the body from invading microorganisms. With its function focused on preventing infections, the immune system is your ultimate protection from contagious illnesses. But under stress, the immune system weakens. The capacity to mount pathogens and neutralize them is greatly curtailed. Hence, people under stress are prone to common colds and flu. Much more, people tend to rely on unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking to cope with stress. And even when these coping techniques reduce stress, they nevertheless undermine the immune system.

Yeast Infections On Stress

Yes, stress causes yeast infections. Although it is not the causative agent, it plays a significant factor in how the fungus overwhelms the body. Like bacteria, yeasts are part of the normal flora of the body. And the normal flora does not cause infection in healthy conditions. But when there is an opportunity for invasion, it is not possible. With a weaker immune system, it becomes even more likely. The most common yeast in normal flora includes the Candida albicans present in the vaginal tract, skin, mouth, and throat. 

The higher number of bacteria keeps the yeast population in check. But when this yeast reaches deeper into tissues or increases in number, it could cause infection, called Candidiasis. Stress causes the release of hormones, such as cortisol, that decreases the production of protective cells while increasing sugar production. Apparently, yeast on the normal flora thrives when there is too much sugar. This effect will cause an overgrowth of these fungi and upset the balance of normal flora. Without proper intervention, yeast infections could be a threat to your health as well.

Yeast Infection Signs And Symptoms 

Since yeasts are located on different parts of the body, they present different indications. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of candidiasis:

Vaginal Infection

  • Itching and soreness on the area
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Abnormal discharge
  • Pain and discomfort when urinating

Oral Infection

  • White patches inside the mouth
  • Swelling and pain when eating
  • Loss of taste
  • Cracking and redness at the corners of the mouth

Invasive Candidiasis

  • Fever and chills
  • Unresponsive antibiotic treatment
  • Spreading Infection

Treating Yeast Infections

yeast as part of the normal flora

To control the increase in growth levels, doctors would often prescribe antibiotics such as fluconazole. But since stress and anxiety increase the chance of development, it is best to address them. Opting for a healthier diet, regular exercise, and prescribed medications will reduce anxiety and depression. Besides, chronic stress and anxiety are closely associated with recurrent oral thrush. Hence, managing stress will be helpful as well.

The Outlook

Although preventing stress from entering your system is tricky, it is possible. With its capacity to limit your activities and cause problems, you should not let it take a chance. And the same goes with yeast infections such as in Candida —you should not let it take a chance. With the risk for repeated infections, you should avoid chronic stress and anxiety at all costs. Hence, this case is another proof that mental disposition is as essential as the physical condition.

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