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Everything You Need To Know About Candidiasis

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 12, 2017

   6 min     

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What is Candida Albicans?

Candida albicans is a microorganism present in a human body and known to be a part of human microflora. They are harmless as such but are known to multiply and can thereby cause infection.

They are vastly found in the mouth, gastrointestinal tract and the vagina.

The word Albicans is a Latin word meaning “white”. When the yeast is cultured on agar plate white color can be observed.

Symptoms of Candida Albicans

Symptoms vary depending upon the area that is affected

  1. Mouth:  Symptoms appear as white discoloration on the tongue, around mouth, and throat. Difficulty in swallowing is also prominent and may cause irritation. Infection in the mouth is called “Thrush”.

  2. Skin:  Perpetual itching, irritation of the skin is commonly followed by chaffed or broken skin.

  1. Vagina:  symptoms of vagina or vulva usually include severe itching, burning sensation, soreness, vaginal discharge (whitish or whitish-grey cottage cheese-like discharge).

  2. Penis:  infection in male genitalia is called “Balanitis Thrush” symptoms include pain during urination or sex, red skin around the head of the penis and soreness, itching, white lumpy discharge under the foreskin.

  3. GI tract: symptoms mainly include anal itching, bloating, indigestion, ulcer, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal cramps. 

  4. Urinary tract:  it may ascend up to kidney in rare cases; symptoms include burning sensation while urinating, blood in the urine, frequent urge to urinate.  

Other conditions that may be similar to skin candidiasis include:

  • Psoriasis

  • Ringworm 

  • Herpes 

  • Hives

  • Contact dermatitis

  • Eczema

  • Diabetes-related skin condition 

  • Seborrheic dermatitis 

Causes of Candida Albicans

Candida yeast is present in healthy humans and usually found in the mouth and intestinal microflora and particularly on the skin. They are present in limited amount as their growth is limited by the human immune system and by competition of other organisms occupying the same location in the body. 

The Yeast requires a moist environment to grow, notably on the skin. In rare cases, the infection spread on the skin or mucous membrane enters the bloodstream and causes systemic candidiasis.   

Factors that increase the risk of candidiasis include hormone use of antibiotics, diabetes,  cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS, nutrient deficiency. Hormone replacement therapy and treatment for infertility may also lead to candidiasis.

Breastfeeding mothers can also develop Candidiasis around nipples due to excessive milk production.  

Male genitalia yeast infection is less common but an infection on the penis through direct contact via sexual intercourse with an infected person is uncommon.

Diagnosis of Candida Albicans

Identifying the species of Candida that is causing infection is always helpful for effective treatment.

In many cases, the infection can be diagnosed by physical examination say oral candidiasis, white patches can be clearly observed. For further examination, a sample of infected area may be taken for the identification of the organism.

Diagnosis of yeast infection is done either by microscopic examination or cell culture method.

For the microscopic method, a swab of the infected area is taken an placed on a microscopic slide and a drop of potassium hydroxide is added which burns out the skin cells leaving behind the yeast.

For the culturing method, a sterile swab of cotton is taken and rubbed on the affected area and then streaked on the prepared agar plates, these plates are then incubated at 37 C for several diseases, to allow the development of bacterial colonies.

Treatment of Candida Albicans

These are drugs used for superficial and deep (systemic) fungal infections.

 Topical: 

  1. Clotrimazole

  2. Econazole 

  3. Oxiconazole 

  4. Miconazole

  5. Tolnaftate 

  6. Benzoic acid

  7. Butenafine 

  8. Sod.thiosulfate 

Systemic: 

  1. Ketoconazole

  2. Fluconazole

  3. Voriconazole

  4. Itraconazole.

Oral Thrush: 

Infection may not be confined to mouth and tongue. It can spread to your throat as well as tonsils. In severe cases, it may also spread to the esophagus.

Antifungal medication that comes in the form of pill, lozenges or liquid can be used, Clotrimazole is usually found effective.

Genital Yeast Infection: 

The bacteria called Lactobacillus keeps Candida in the genital area under control. When the levels of lactobacillus are disrupted, candida multiplies and causes infection. 

Mild or moderate candida can be treated with an over the counter antifungal cream or suppository. Or a single dose of fluconazole is usually effective 

For severe Candida, a longer course of medication is prescribed. 

Urinary Yeast Infection: 

It is the most common type of fungal infection and seldom can ascend to kidneys.

The antifungal drug fluconazole is used in many cases. 

Drug-Resistant Candida: 

Though most of the infections caused by Candida albicans is treated by different antifungal drugs, drug resistance poses major issues in the management of an individual’s health and is an impediment to our health care system. Candida Auris being a drug-resistant yeast is an emerging fungus with critical global health treat. 

Prevention of Candida Albicans

It’s better to prevent the disease rather cure it, basic hygiene prevents the fungal infections some of them are listed below

  1. Good oral hygiene practices.

  2. Chlorhexidine mouthwash can help prevent candidiasis in people undergoing cancer treatment.

  3. Asthmatic patients should wash their mouth properly after the use of an inhaler.

  4. Try including yogurt in your diet while taking antibiotics. 

  5. Visit your dentist regularly if you have diabetes or wear dentures.

  6. Try limiting the amount of sugar you intake, including bread, wine, beer this may promote the overgrowth of candidiasis. 

  7. Add probiotics to your diet. 

  8. Limit the use of antibiotics this may disrupt the microflora and thereby increase the growth of candida.

  9. Clothing is a crucial factor in the prevention of candidiasis.

  10. Infected people should avoid food that may promote the growth of fungi. 

Predisposing Factors of Candida Albicans

The variables that are associated with increased risk of infection are

  1.  Drug therapy, when a person is on immunosuppressant drugs or cytotoxic drugs they are more susceptible to infection. And so are the people who are on radiation therapy,

  2. Patients suffering from tuberculosis, diabetes, leukemia, lymphoma, epithelial dysplasia are at higher risk.

  3. Iron deficiency, low serum vitamin A level are also major causes of the infection.

  4. Pregnant ladies are often at risk, candidiasis is common in infants but should only be taken seriously if it lasts more than a few weeks.

  5. Wearing tight-fitting garments often can lead to yeast infection.

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Tags:  Kids health,skin,Candidiasis; Skin Infection

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