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The human body needs a variety of different things to thrive. In healthy amounts, the candida species do their part to keep the mouth, digestive tract and genital area healthy. But problems can arise when the growth of the fungus gets out of control. This condition is known as candidiasis.
Abnormal levels in many cases of naturally occurring yeast can be caused by a number of things. One of the most common causes of an overgrowth of Candida albicans is the use of antibiotics. When antibiotics enter the system, they do so to kill certain bacteria – both good ones and those that need to be eliminated. The elimination of good bacteria, especially in the gut, can contribute to an imbalanced microbiome and a lower production of important short chain fatty acids (SCFA). When antibiotics are taken frequently, these imbalances can be a convenient habitat for candida, as usually other bacterial species keep it in check.
Other factors that may be contributing factors in candidiasis include:
- Eating too much sugar or too many refined carbohydrates
- A poor or weakened immune function
- Continuously elevated levels of stress
- The overconsumption of alcohol
The first line of treatment for an overgrowth of candidiasis is antifungal medication in the form of oral pills, creams or ointments, depending on where in the body the infection is. Natural remedies such as supplements can complete the treatment regimen, after consultation with your doctor.
What is the effect of candidiasis?
There are several different locations that can be impacted by the rampant overgrowth of candida. Each location can present with different symptoms depending on where it is occurring and the severity.
Candidiasis has the ability to affect several parts of the body, including:
- Mouth (oral thrush)
- Urinary tract
The most severe type, invasive candidiasis, can lead to serious illness that sometimes even can affect the heart, brain, bones, joints or eyes.
Symptoms of candida overgrowth
In the typical types of infection caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, symptoms can range from mild to severe.
For example, in a genital yeast infection, symptoms often tend to be more on the milder side and can include:
- Irritation and itching
- Burning and itching during intercourse or urination
- Redness, soreness and rash
- Inflammation or swelling
Other types of yeast infections include urinary and oral. In the urinary tract, it can present with symptoms such as:
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Burning sensation upon urination
Oral thrush occurs in the mouth and can lead to white sores, lesions and pain in the throat and mouth.
What are the different types of invasive candidiasis?
Invasive candidiasis symptoms are different to those of other types of yeast infections, because it is a more serious condition that often requires more extensive medical intervention. The condition occurs when candida enters other areas of the body.
The infection is most commonly referred to as candidemia, because of its location within the bloodstream. By entering the bloodstream, it can access other parts within the body including vital organs such as the heart, eyes, brain, joints and bones. Serious symptoms can occur following the onset of the illness, and in some cases can require intensive medical care.
What are the symptoms of invasive candidiasis?
When it comes to this more serious form of candida overgrowth, the symptoms can present themselves as other types of ailments, such as the flu or a headache.
The most common symptoms of candidemia include:
- Skin rash
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal pain
What is chronic candidiasis?
Chronic candidiasis symptoms are like those of typical yeast infections in the genitals, urinary tract, mouth or skin, but they differ in frequency and length. When a person continuously has a yeast infection or can’t rid themselves of one, it’s likely due to having a chronic case of candida overgrowth.
The condition could also lead to infections in other areas of the body, including:
- Skin and nails
- Digestive tract
The treatment for chronic candidiasis is the same as other, milder forms of the infection and includes antifungal medications, usually by way of topical application. Some cases do require oral treatment, over the course of a longer period of time than suggested for non-chronic cases. Some patients may require IV treatments.
Having a candida infection does not necessarily lead to serious repercussions, but that is only the case if it does not enter the bloodstream. Symptoms should be monitored in conjunction with the aforementioned symptoms of invasive candida to ensure that treatment is undertaken quickly to avoid any grave consequences.
For many people, infection can be avoided by eating a diet rich in wholefoods, vitamins and minerals; exercising regularly; and avoiding foods that could lead to an overgrowth of candida bacteria. Supplementation is also available; Make Well’s new CDA Plus, for example, can be a useful addition to traditional treatments in the battle against mild forms of candidiasis in the intestinal tract.