Most people think of yeast infections as maladies that only affect women in their vaginal area. This is far from the truth, however, as both men and women can develop yeast infections in quite a few different areas of their bodies. For instance, scalp yeast infections are quite common although even the people who have them often don’t even realize it.
Dandruff and Yeast
Dandruff is not even something most people think of as a medical condition, but in fact dandruff is simply the result of a scalp yeast infection. Like most other yeast infections, those that cause dandruff are the result of an overgrowth of one of the common bacteria normally found on our bodies. However, unlike most other common yeast infections, scalp yeast infections are caused by the Pityrosporum ovale (P. ovale) fungus rather than the Candida Albicans.
Regardless of the type of yeast involved, however, the development of most yeast infections is generally the same. Both the Candida Albicans and the P. ovale are naturally present on our bodies in various places. Under normal circumstances, the growth of these organisms is kept in check by the activity of other “good” bacteria on our bodies, the normal functioning of our immune system and the other natural chemical balances that should be present in our skin and tissues.
The Development of an Infection
There are several reasons why the P. ovale normally present in your skin can begin to grow out of control. Regardless of the direct cause, however, the result is that the fungi quickly begin to invade further and further below the skin’s surface. This is the root of the infection and, depending on the state of your immune system and the number of “good” bacteria present in your scalp the infection will continue to grow deeper at a faster or slower rate.
Signs and Symptoms
For most people, the symptoms of a scalp yeast infection are dryness, itchiness, redness and flaking skin or dandruff. These symptoms are not usually severe enough to prompt a trip to the doctor, however, and most people simply go out and buy an anti-dandruff shampoo or try and alter their hygiene habits to control the problem. This will rarely be effective in eliminating the symptoms of a scalp yeast infection, though.
Your Doctor and Your Treatments
Heading to your doctor if you have a problem with dandruff or any of these other symptoms is the best thing you can do to get relief for yourself and begin the healing process. Your doctor will be able to take samples, run tests and evaluate your overall health in order to determine what is causing your problem and what the best way to fix it is. Without a professional diagnosis and the treatment advice your doctor can provide, you are unlikely to be able to eliminate your scalp yeast infection on your own.
Types of Treatments
Most of the treatment options for yeast infections on your scalp will involve the use of some sort of topical ointment or rinse. These products contain elements that both neutralize the symptoms of the infection and also work to transform the environment on your scalp into an inhospitable one for the P. ovale causing your discomfort. These treatments generally also include some type of antifungal that kills the organisms directly. In order to maintain an infection free scalp after the acute symptoms have been eliminated, you may want to take some measures to rectify the underlying causes that allowed the infection to develop in the first place.
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