Posted September 5, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 5 min read
There are many kinds of fungus that live in the human body. One type is called candida. It’s a type of yeast that normally lives in small amounts in places like your mouth and belly, or on your skin without causing any problems.
Types of Candidiasis
Thrush (Oropharyngeal Candidiasis)
When the candida yeast spreads in the mouth and throat, it can cause an infection called thrush. It’s most common in newborns, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Also more likely to get it are adults who:
Are being treated for cancer
Take medications like corticosteroids and wide-spectrum antibiotics
The symptoms include:
White or yellow patches on the tongue, lips, gums, roof of mouth, and inner cheeks
Redness or soreness in the mouth and throat
Cracking at the corners of the mouth
Pain when swallowing, if it spreads to the throat
Thrush is treated with antifungal medicines like nystatin, clotrimazole, and fluconazole. Rinsing the mouth with chlorhexidine (CHX) mouthwash may help prevent infections in people with weakened immune systems.
Genital Yeast Infection (Genital Candidiasis)
Three out of four adult women will get at least one yeast infection during their lifetime. This happens when too much yeast grows in the vagina. (Men also can get a genital yeast infection, but it’s much less common).
A yeast infection typically happens when the balance in the vagina changes. This can be caused by:
Some medicines, including antibiotics and birth control pills
Use of some douches, vaginal sprays, lubricants, or spermicides
A weakened immune system
Wearing a wet bathing suit or workout clothes, or underwear that doesn’t breathe
Occasionally, the infection can be passed from person to person during sex.
The symptoms include:
Extreme itchiness in the vagina
Redness and swelling of the vagina and vulva (the outer part of the female genitals)
Pain and burning when you pee
Discomfort during sex
A thick, white
cottage cheesedischarge from the vagina
A man with a yeast infection may have an itchy rash on their penis.
Because the symptoms in women can be similar to other infections like bacterial vaginosis (bacterial overgrowth in the vagina) and sexually transmitted diseases, it’s important to visit your doctor.
Diaper Rash From Yeast Infection
Though diaper rashes are usually caused by leaving a wet or soiled diaper on too long, once your baby’s skin is irritated, infection is more likely.
If their diaper rash isn’t going away, check to see if their bottom is red and sensitive, and if there’s a raised red border around the sores.
If so, have your pediatrician check for candidiasis. It can be treated with an antifungal cream.
Keeping your baby’s bottom clean and dry is a good start to help prevent diaper rash and candidiasis.
If candida yeast enters the bloodstream (usually through medical equipment or devices), it can travel to the heart, brain, blood, eyes, and bones.
This can cause a serious, life-threatening infection.
This happens most often to people who have recently been admitted to a hospital or live in a health care facility, such as a nursing home.
Like other types of yeast infections, if you have diabetes, a weakened immune system, kidney failure, or are on antibiotics, your chances of getting it are greater.
The symptoms include fever and chills. Since it’s likely a person with this infection is already sick with another condition, it can be hard to diagnose.
Invasive candidiasis is treated with an oral or intravenous dose of antifungal medication.
If you are having surgery and have higher odds of a yeast infection, your doctor might prescribe a series of antifungal medicines before the procedure.
Causes of Candidiasis
Candida yeasts are generally present in healthy humans, frequently part of the human body’s normal oral and intestinal flora, and particularly on the skin.
However, their growth is normally limited by the human immune system and by competition of other microorganisms, such as bacteria occupying the same locations in the human body.
Candida requires moisture for growth, notably on the skin.
For example, wearing wet swimwear for long periods of time is believed to be a risk factor. Candida can also cause diaper rashes in babies.
In extreme cases, superficial infections of the skin or mucous membranes may enter the bloodstream and cause systemic Candida infections
Symptoms of Candidiasis
Infection in the mouth is characterized by white discolorations in the tongue, around the mouth, and throat.
Irritation may also occur, causing discomfort when swallowing.
Thrush is commonly seen in infants. It is not considered abnormal in infants unless it lasts longer than a few weeks.
Infection of the vagina or vulva may cause severe itching, burning, soreness, irritation, and a whitish or whitish-gray cottage cheese-like discharge.
Symptoms of infection of the male genitalia (balanitis thrush) include red skin around the head of the penis, swelling, irritation, itchiness and soreness of the head of the penis, thick, lumpy discharge under the foreskin, unpleasant odour, difficulty retracting the foreskin (phimosis), and pain when passing urine or during sex.
Signs and symptoms of candidiasis in the skin include itching, irritation, and chafing or broken skin.
- Common symptoms of gastrointestinal candidiasis in healthy individuals are anal itching, belching, bloating, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, gas, intestinal cramps, vomiting, and gastric ulcers.
Diagnosis of Candidiasis
In oral candidiasis, simply inspecting the person’s mouth for white patches and irritation may make the diagnosis. A sample of the infected area may also be taken to determine what organism is causing the infection.
Treatment of Candidiasis
Candidiasis is treated with antifungal medications; these include clotrimazole, nystatin, fluconazole, voriconazole, amphotericin B, and echinocandins.Intravenous fluconazole or an intravenous echinocandin such as caspofungin are commonly used to treat immunocompromised or critically ill individuals.
The 2016 revision of the clinical practice guideline for the management of candidiasis lists a large number of specific treatment regimens for Candida infections that involve different Candida species, forms of antifungal drug resistance, immune statuses, and infection localization and severity.
Gastrointestinal candidiasis in immunocompetent individuals is treated with 100–200 mg fluconazole per day for 2–3 weeks.