Candidiasis And A Way Out
Thrush is a yeast infection caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. The fungus is a kingdom of microorganisms which includes yeast, molds, and mushrooms. But the case of thrush is particularly caused by the Yeast microorganism which belongs to the Fungus Kingdom. The Yeast, Candida is naturally found as a part of other micro-organisms living in the mouth of both man and woman as well as in the vagina of the woman and the skin of both genders. It is their natural habitats so to say.
However, various conditions can lead to overgrowth of this Yeast organism on these body parts making them become too visible and appear as elevated, white, or creamy patches on the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and gums. In the vagina, it is characterized by a foul smelly discharge from the vagina. These conditions are generally regarded as Candidiasis ( a condition whereby the presence of the yeast, Candida becomes pathogenic ). The milky patches on different parts of the buccal cavity ( mouth ), which occur as an overgrowth of Candida may ooze fresh blood if scrapped or may bleed when the person brushes his or her tongue.
On the other hand, Candidiasis of the skin causes red, itchy rashes to form on the folds of the skin, which may affect other body parts.
Based on the sites of location which include:
We are going to discuss Candidiasis under these guidelines
Candidiasis of the Skin
It is important to note that some fungi and bacteria are useful micro-organisms in our skin. They are usually found harmless when in the appropriate and small quantity on the skin which is very normal, as it is found in every individual. However, a mitotic surge in the reproduction of this fungi leads to a condition called candidiasis of the skin or cutaneous candidiasis. It is commonly found on parts of the skin where there are folds, this is because the overgrowth occurs in places that are damp and have a moderate temperature.
Uncontrollable division of Candida cells on the skin causes Cutaneous Candidiasis. However, factors that cause the flora which divides at a normal rate to start multiplying incessantly include
- Tight clothing.
- Warm weather.
- The use of certain antibiotics that kill bacteria keeps Candida albicans multiplication at a normal pace.
- Damp skin.
- A weak immune system due to health conditions like diabetes, pregnancy, cancer.
- Incessant use of corticosteroids
It is characterized by a rash that causes redness of the skin and severe itching. Cracked skin, blisters, and pustules may develop. These rashes may reach other parts but are most common under the breasts, groin, armpits, between fingers, sides of the mouth, the tip of the nails.
A mere physical observation of the rash by your Physician may be sufficient. A skin culture might be conducted; the Physician will take cotton swabs of the rashes and send it to the laboratory technician to run a series of tests for the presence of Candida albicans overgrowth.
Self-care and improved hygiene are the keys. Proper washing of the skin while bathing and thorough drying of the skin especially parts where there are folds. Completely dry towels are most suitable for skin drying after you emerge wet from the bathroom.
Observe the following healthy tips;
- Quickly come out of those wet exercise outfits
- Socks and undies are meant to be worn once
- Decrease your sugar intake
- Put on clothing that allows air around your skin
- Apply mild soap only on affected body parts while bathing
Chronic cases of cutaneous candidiasis may amount to the use of anti-fungal agents on affected body parts. Please refer to your Physician for appropriate or specific anti-fungal drugs.
Candidiasis Of The Mouth
This is a condition whereby the fungus Candida overgrows inside the mouth which is its natural habitat. Some factors contribute to this condition. It is commonly referred to as oral thrush or simply thrashes.
It is common in new-born babies although it can still affect adults on their occasions, it is due to an underlying health condition or predisposing factors. In babies, it is characterized by milky bumps on the gums and tongue which usually are removed using mild treatments.
As it is due to an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans which is naturally found in little quantity in the mouth. The predisposing factors which cause this overgrowth include a depressed immune system. When the body self-defense system is weakened, the other bacteria and micro-organism whose job are to keep the growth of fungus Candida at bay, become weakened, the fungus takes up the opportunity to overgrow and develop into a thrush.
Also, certain antibiotics reduce the number of useful bacteria that keep bay, the fungus candida. When a person is on these antibiotic treatments, it may spur the overgrowth of Candida.
Cancer treatments involving the use of radiations to kill cancer cells may also have side-effects of destroying other useful bacteria in the mouth, causing the overgrowth of the fungus Candida.
The fungus as well feeds on sugar molecules, and so sugary meals are also another factor likewise diabetic person. This is due to the presence of too much sugar in the patient’s blood and body, which the fungus uses for nourishment and multiplication.
Health conditions that weaken the immune system such as HIV can cause thrush too. In this case, thrush is an opportunistic infection ( opportunistic infections are infections that manifest due to a patient’s weakened immune system; they take advantage of the opportunity of a weak immune, so to say ).
In the early days, thrush causes no noticeable symptoms, as it advances, the following can be carefully observed.
- Creamy patches on the tongue, teeth, lips, roof of the mouth, gum, internal cheeks.
- The flow of fresh blood when the patches are scratched.
- A coating-like sensation on the tongue, by the patient.
- Smelly breath, mouth odor.
- Cracks within corners of the mouth.
- The tastelessness of meals due to the coatings.
Thrush is easily diagnosed by physical checks for the presence or absence of creamy patches in the mouth. A Physician may otherwise, scrap the patches in your mouth and send it to a laboratory technician to run tests that will detect the presence or absence of Candida albicans overgrowth.
- Fluconazole tablet or pill is effective.
- Likewise Nystatin mouthwash.
- Itraconazole is used for patients whose thrush exists as an opportunistic infection ( i.e. they have HIV ).
- Amphotericin B eradicates chronic thrush.
- N/B: Please follow the directive of your certified Health care provider and avoid self-medication.
Candidiasis of the vagina
The female vagina is inhabited by a healthy combination of bacteria and yeast cells. However, any alteration in the natural balance that exists between these micro-organisms leads to the proliferation of the yeast cells, causing the manifestation of a disease stated called Candidiasis.
Bacteria called Lactobacillus helps in the regulation of Candida’s growth in the vagina. Whenever this flora is meddled with, Candida proliferates.
The following factors can cause vaginal candidiasis
- Antibiotics reduce the amount of Lactobacillus in the vagina.
- Weakened immune system
- Sugary foods
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Inadequate rest or sleep
Vaginal candidiasis is characterized by the following signs
- Painful sex
- Rash on the vagina skin or vulva
- Painful urination
- Vaginal itch
- Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
Physical examination of the vagina may be carried out by your Physician, following questions about your sexual life. In other cases, the Physician may take swabs of your vaginal discharge and send it to the laboratory for identification of the presence of an overgrowth of Candida albicans.
Medications depend on the severity of the infection or how long it has been allowed to fester. Different types of Candida also exist in the vagina and the appropriate medication depends on the type which is discovered to be presently overgrowing in the vagina.
Your Physician is in the best position to advise you on which medication to purchase and in what dose to take them.
Fungus Candida is a common microorganism that lives with us, it is our role to ensure that their balance is maintained and that any condition or lifestyle that may trigger their overgrowth is avoided. Good personal hygiene and a good lifestyle are the simplest way to avoid Candidiasis infection or recurrence.