Candidiasis is an infection caused by a group of microscopic fungi. While there are more than 20 species of Candida, the most common specie among the group is the Candida albicans. These fungi live on all surfaces of the human body which is why under certain conditions; they can cause infection especially on moist and warm parts of the body such as the underarms, nail beds, under the breast and lower abdomen area and beneath skin folds. Normally, our skin effectively blocks yeast however cuts or skin breakdown may enable these fungi to penetrate.
Some examples of such infections are vaginal, skin, thrush, diaper rash and nail bed yeast infections. Adults increase their chances of contracting oral yeast infection as they age. Fortunately most candidal infections are only superficial and may easily be treated with various remedies. However, if left untreated, infection may spread throughout the body and in systematic candidal disease, 75% of people may die because of widespread infection. Common mouth and vaginal yeast infection may also cause serious health problems and may be resistant to normal remedies. Also, note that frequently occurring infections may be a sign of more serious conditions such as diabetes, leukaemia or AIDS. Here are the most common causes of yeast infection:
Antibiotics and Steroids- Antibiotic and steroid use are some of the most common causes of yeast overgrowth in most people. For women, pregnancy, menstruation, diabetes, birth control pills and semen may contribute greatly to getting a yeast infection.
Weak Immune System- Weakened immune system caused by cancer treatments, steroids or diseases such as AIDS may result in candidal infection on the entire body. This can be a life-threatening condition where the heart, blood, eyes and kidneys may be affected. In some cases, infection is severe that fungi are found growing in the lungs, liver and spleen. 15% of people with weak immune system develop a systematic disease caused by Candida. These types of microorganisms enter the bloodstream through skin breakdown or mucous membranes.
Skin Implants- Devices that are implanted on the skin such as urinary catheters and IV ports may also allow fungi to enter the body. IV drug addicts using contaminated needles may possibly inject the yeast directly into their bloodstream or deep tissues.
Signs and symptoms of a candidal infection can differ based on the location of the infection. Treatments for this type of infection depends on the location of the infection. Fortunately there are a lot of over-the-counter medicines that are sold commercially, mostly in cream forms. However, always check with doctor first before settling for an effective treatment.
Vaginal Yeast Infection- Overgrowth of yeast in the vagina may cause burning pain, vaginal discharges, unpleasant smell and discomfort. White discharges, similar to cottage cheese, painful intercourse or urination and itchy, irritated outer tissues are the common symptoms of vaginal yeast infection. The overgrowth of yeast in women is normally caused by vaginal changes.
Thrush or Oral Yeast Infection- Thick, white and lacy patches on top of a red base forming on the tongue, palate or anywhere else in the mouth is a sign of thrush. This type of infection may cause the tongue to look redder without the white coating and makes it difficult to eat.
Superficial candidal skin infections – While candidal microorganisms thrive on the surface of the skin, they may enter the body once the outer skin is broken down. Superficial candidal skin infections are red flat rashes with sharp scalloped edges.