Tuesday, October 13

Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections - causes

Malassezia furfur > Tinea versicolor > Causes > Symptoms > diagnosis > Treatment
Causes of tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections are factors like hot climate, humidity, profuse sweating (hyperhidrosis), high levels of skin oil, malnutrition and immunodeficiency.

Malassezia furfur, the yeast responsible for causing tinea versicolor is one of the normal flora of the human skin and is a saprophyte. Apparently healthy persons are also found to get infected and get tinea versicolor. However Malassezia furfur, being an opportunistic, triggered by conducive factors becomes a pathogen causing these yeast infections. Factors conducive in conversion of this yeast into a parasite and pathogen are discussed below.

Hot climate and excess heat

Hot climate and excess heat in the surroundings are conducive for tinea versicolor skin yeast infections. Hot climate has been associated with this disease. In the tropical countries this disease is very prevalent and even up to 50% of the population is affected. The pathogens like bacteria and fungi thrive well in higher temperatures. In temperate country like Sweden only about 1% population is affected. Apart from the climate if the working place environment or home environment is hot, the Malassezia species present in the body may turn into pathogens and proliferate.

Excess humidity and profuse sweating

Excess humidity and profuse sweating causes pityriasis versicolor. Malassezia furfur is a saprophytic fungus feeding and living off the skin debris on the outermost layers. High humidity and sweating keep the skin moist and provide a ideal environment for the saprophyte to turn into a pathogen. Further sweat containing traces of nutrients help in the proliferation of these fungi.

Oily skin and excess sebaceous gland activity causes pityriasis yeast infections

Malassezia furfur is lipophilic and in vitro it is found to grow well in media containing cholesterol and its esters. The high sebum producing regions of the body like chest, back and neck are first to get tinea (pityriasis) versicolor. The incidence of pityriasis is particularly high among the young adults and teenagers, with a very conspicuous rarity among the pre-teens and the elderly. This is attributed to the increase in the lipid levels on the epidermis of this young adult age group. Further it has also been found that the sebum-presence of amino acids like asparagine stimulated the growth of the fungal forms and glycine induced the formation of hyphae and triggering tinea yeast infections.

Immuno deficiency causes tinea versicolor

Acquired immuno deficiency virus affected persons are prone to all yeast infections. They are very likely to acquire tinea versicolor yeast infections.

Use of corticosteroids causes pityriasis yeast infections

Anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids are generally used for suppressing inflammation, reducing swelling, itching and allergy. In some persons these drugs have been found to result in tinea versicolor.

Malnutrition and excess fat consumption causes fungal skin infections

In the developing countries and poor nations the populations are under nourished. Apart from making them weak it adds to lowering their immunity. These undernourished populations are prone to acquire tinea (pityriasis) versicolor yeast infections. In contrast in affluent population people consuming fad and junk food and eating excess of fat are malnourished and are equally prone to tinea versicolor.

Skin damages and burns can cause tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections

Skin damages and burns offer lots of nutrition for the skin fungi with skin debris. The fungus grows on the dead tissue and causes tinea versicolor.

Oral contraceptives

Oral contraceptives can trigger tinea versicolor. Oral contraceptive alters the hormone secretions in the body and triggers and causes tinea versicolor.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy may precipitate yeast infections. Pregnancy causes great hormonal changes in women. These changes can be of advantage to Malassezia furfur fungus and tinea versicolor may be caused.

Removal of adrenal gland

Removal of adrenal gland causes tinea versicolor to take over. The removal of adrenal glands causes disturbances in the endocrine system and results in impaired hormone secretions. This disturbance in hormones causes tinea versicolor.

Cushing's disease

Cushing's disease causes tinea versicolor yeast infections. Cushing's disease is a hormonal disorder. This is caused by continuous high levels of cortisol hormone. Cushing's syndrome causes many striking changes on the skin. Sufferers of this syndrome are prone to tinea (pityriasis) versicolor skin yeast infections

Genetic predisposition

Genetic predisposition causes pityriasis versicolor. Some families have been found to suffer from tinea (pityriasis) versicolor for generations.

Cell mediated immunity

Cell mediated immunity leads to tinea versicolor fungal infections. Normally general population is found to be sensitized against the antigens of this fungus. However tinea (pityriasis) versicolor affected persons are found to have their lymphocyte function impaired. This immunosuppression plays a role and causes this disease. Tinea (pityriasis) versicolor causes depression in afflicted people with apparent skin blemishes.

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