Candida is a type of yeast. Small amounts of this yeast live harmlessly on and in the body. However, certain factors can cause the yeast to multiply uncontrollably, resulting in a Candida infection.
This article describes some Candida is and outlines the different types Candida infection or overgrowth, along with associated symptoms.
Next, we explore the many treatment options.
Candida is a yeast species that lives on and in the human body. Small amounts usually occur on the skin and in the mouth, vagina and intestines.
Small amounts Candida are harmless and do not cause any symptoms. However, certain factors can cause this fungus to multiply uncontrollably, resulting in a disease Candida infection called ‘candidiasis’.
Under normal circumstances, Candida is harmless. Help preserve the bacteria that live on and in the body, combined with the efforts of the immune system Candida population under control.
However, a person can develop candidiasis if their bacteria are suppressed or if their immune system is weakened. Some common causes candidiasis include:
Candidiasis does not usually pass from person to person, although this is possible. For example, vaginal candidiasis can be passed to a partner during sex.
Also as a Candida infection enters the bloodstream, it can spread to various other parts of the body, such as the eyes, kidneys, and other organs.
Candidiasis symptoms vary based on the location of the infection. Read more below about the possible locations of a Candida infection and its symptoms.
Candidiasis of the mouth or throat
- white spots on the:
- inner cheeks
- a fluffy feeling in the mouth
- redness or inflammation
- slight bleeding
- a loss of taste
- pain or soreness in the mouth or throat
- pain when swallowing
Candidiasis of the skin
Cutaneous candidiasis is the medical term for this skin infection. Because Candida thrives in warm, humid environments; cutaneous candidiasis often develops in the folds of the skin.
Cutaneous candidiasis can cause the following symptoms
- inflamed skin that may crack or peel, in people with dark skin
- red, round patches surrounded by red pustules in people with lighter skin
- areas of Itchy skin
- hair loss, if the infection occurs on the scalp
Candidiasis of the nails
An overgrowth of Candida around the nail beds can cause candidiasis of the nails. Symptoms may include:
Candidiasis of the vagina
A Candida infection on or in the vagina is called a vaginal yeast infection or “vaginal candidiasis”. These infections are common.
Some possible symptoms of vaginal candidiasis include:
Candidiasis of the penis
A Candida infection on the penis’penile candidiasisThe condition is less common than vaginal candidiasis. A person can develop penile candidiasis after intercourse with someone who has vaginal candidiasis.
Candidiasis of the penis can cause a painful swelling at the tip of the penis. Other possible symptoms include:
- irritation and burning sensation around the head of the penis and under the foreskin
- difficulty retracting the foreskin
- a thick, white substance that builds up around the foreskin
- shiny white or red spots on the penis
- an unpleasant odor
Candidiasis of the blood
“Candidemia” is the medical term for one Candida infection of the bloodstream.
The condition can also cause septic shock, with the following symptoms:
When diagnosing candidiasis, a doctor will usually ask about the person’s symptoms and review their medical history.
The doctor may be able to diagnose skin candidiasis based on a visual examination alone.
Or a doctor can scrape out the area and examine the cells under a microscope. They may prefer to do this for suspected candidiasis of the skin, mouth or nails.
If the doctor suspects the yeast has spread in the blood, they can order laboratory work to check for antibodies that the immune system produces in response to one Candida infection.
Doctors usually recommend over-the-counter or prescription antifungals to treat candidiasis. These drugs work by killing or preventing the fungus from growing.
The best type of anti-fungal medicine depends on the location of the infection. A person can use antifungals:
- creams, gels or ointments
- capsules, tablets or liquids
A person should contact a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- a persistent or recurring Candida infection
- a rash that does not go away with topical anti-fungal treatment
- more than two episodes of vaginal or penile candidiasis 6 months
- symptoms of a Candida infection in the blood during or after another type Candida infection
Also, anyone with a weakened immune system who develops this type of infection should contact a doctor, who can prescribe medications to reduce the risk of complications.
It is not always possible to prevent candidiasis. Try to reduce the risk:
- keep the skin clean and dry
- only use antibiotics if prescribed by a doctor
- maintain a healthy diet
- controlling blood sugar for people with diabetes
Candida is a yeast that normally lives on or in different parts of the body.
Normally, bacteria and the immune system work together to maintain Candida numbers under control – but certain factors can cause the yeast to multiply uncontrollably, resulting in a Candida infection called candidiasis.
Factors that can increase the risk of candidiasis include the overuse of antibiotics and certain health conditions and treatments that weaken the immune system.
The symptoms of candidiasis depend on the location of the infection. A person may be able to treat the infection at home, but if Candida infections are persistent or recurring, contact a doctor.
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