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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Yeast Infection
April 2002

Q. I have an yeast ear infection. Is this contagious? What causes this and is there anything I can do in the future to avoid this?

A. Yeast is a type of fungus which can cause bothersome but not serious infections in humans. The most common problems would be superficial skin infections and vaginal infections in women. Yeast are often present in these locations but not causing problems as they are in "balance" with normal bacteria. When that balance gets altered, the yeast may flourish and cause infection. An example of this would be taking antibiotics which treats a bacterial infection, but also eliminates many normal bacteria which can lead to a yeast overgrowth causing a vaginal infection. In some circumstances, the yeast could be passed male to female or female to male, but this is not too common.



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