Candidiasis: Fungal infection caused by yeast Candida

Candidiasis is a fungal (yeast) disease of the skin and mucous membranes that affects the blood, genitals, skin, nails, throat and/or mouth. This is often the result of the overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of yeast, although there are more than twenty species of Candida. This yeast is normally found in the intestinal tract, on the mucous membranes and on the skin. However, the use of certain medications and certain health problems increase the number of yeasts and cause an infection. This nasty infection causes many mild to severe symptoms, especially in patients with a weakened immune system. Symptoms depend on the area of the body affected, but warm, moist areas are usually affected by the yeast. Treatment usually consists of antifungal medications.

  • Synonyms candidiasis
  • Types of fungal infection by yeast Candida
  • Blood
  • Risk factors
  • Symptoms
  • Sexual organs
  • Women
  • Men
  • Skin (diaper rash)
  • Mouth and throat
  • Risk factors
  • Symptoms
  • Therapy
  • Prevention
  • Nails
  • Risk factors
  • Symptoms
  • Therapy

Synonyms candidiasis

Candidiasis is also known under these synonyms:

  • candidiasis
  • candidosis
  • moniliasis

Types of fungal infection by yeast Candida

There are different types of candidiasis. When the mouth and pharynx are affected, it is called oropharyngeal candidiasis, oral candidiasis or thrush. Candidiasis may also affect the genital area in both men and women. In babies, the yeast causes diaper rash. If the infection enters the bloodstream, it is known as invasive candidiasis or candidemia. A Candida infection is also possible around the nails. The symptoms and treatment depend on the infected body part.

Blood

If the Candidagist enters the bloodstream, it spreads to other parts of the body. This type of infection is known as candidemia.

Risk factors

This infection mainly occurs in patients with a weakened immune system and in patients with an untreated fungal infection. Sometimes candidemia also occurs when the patient comes into contact with medical equipment contaminated by the fungus.

Other risk factors for candidemia include:

  • a central line (catheter)
  • an admission to an intensive care unit (intensive care unit)
  • a recent operation
  • a weakened immune system
  • very low birth weight in babies

Symptoms

The symptoms of an invasive infection are rather vague and depend on the body part involved. Common symptoms include fever and chills that persist even after a course of antibiotics. This type of infection often occurs in patients who are or have been in a hospital. This type of nosocomial infection is a leading cause of circulatory infections and death in hospitalized patients.

Invasive candidiasis is a very serious condition that requires immediate treatment. The treatment is done via oral antifungal medications, but it is also possible for the doctor to give these antifungal medications through an IV. This treatment usually lasts several weeks.

Sexual organs

Women

In approximately 20-20% of women with vaginitis, Candidiasis is the cause. Vaginal yeast infections are common in women. Common symptoms include:

  • a burning sensation in the vagina
  • extreme itching in the vaginal area (vaginal itching)
  • pain and redness in the vaginal area
  • painful intercourse
  • white discharge and lumpy vaginal discharge (resembling cottage cheese) that is sometimes accompanied by a sweet urine odor

Probiotics, which can be found in yogurt, among other things, sometimes prevent fungal infections caused by Candida / Source: HealthGauge, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)

Men

A fungal infection sometimes also occurs in men; especially in men who are uncircumcised. Balanitis, an inflammation of the glans penis, is often the result of an overgrowth of Candida yeasts. Symptoms in men include a red rash on the penis and itching or burning at the tip of the penis. Treatment is important because the infection is contagious to a sex partner. If the infection persists or returns frequently, the doctor prescribes antifungal medications that the patient takes daily for ten to fourteen days, and then once a week for six months. Boric acid capsules are also useful for two weeks. The doctor may also recommend probiotics to prevent future infections. Probiotics are healthy bacteria similar to the bacteria that naturally occur in the intestines. Probiotics can be found in supplements, yogurt and other foods.

Skin (diaper rash)

Diaper rash is sometimes (but not always) the result of a yeast. Babies with yeast-related diaper rash have dark red patches of skin in the diaper, especially in the skin folds near the thighs. Yellow, fluid-filled spots also develop that often break open and are scaly. The doctor always assesses the diaper rash and identifies the exact rash. If a yeast has caused the diaper rash, the doctor will prescribe an antifungal medication that is applied to the painful, irritated skin in the form of cream, ointment, or powder.

Mouth and throat

A fungal infection of the mouth or throat area is known as oral thrush or oral candidiasis.

Oral thrush is more common in patients who wear ill-fitting dentures / Source: Jim Sneddon, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)

Risk factors

Healthy adults usually do not get oral thrush. This most often occurs with:

  • elderly
  • patients taking broad-spectrum antibiotics (help against both gram-negative bacteria and gram-positive bacteria)
  • patients who wear dentures
  • patients who have undergone an organ transplant
  • patients using inhalers with corticosteroid medication (powerful anti-inflammatories)
  • patients who receive radiotherapy (treatment via radiation) and/or chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer
  • patients with diabetes mellitus
  • patients with HIV/AIDS
  • infants

Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  • cracks at the corners of the mouth (cracked skin), where the lips meet
  • an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the tongue with a red and smooth tongue surface (glossitis), a red tongue, tongue pain and an enlarged tongue (macroglossia) and sometimes a yellow tongue
  • a sore throat (sore throat)
  • burning mouth (condition with pain in the tongue and mouth)
  • redness or discomfort in the mouth area
  • swallowing problems
  • stomatitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane in and around the mouth)
  • gum pain
  • tongue bumps
  • uvulitis (swollen uvula of the tongue)
  • white spots / a flaky white coating in the mouth and on the tongue (tongue spots) that can be scraped off with a wooden tongue depressor and/or white spots on the gums

Therapy

Thrush requires medical treatment. Left untreated, the infection enters the bloodstream, which is very dangerous. Treatment depends on the patient’s general health, severity of infection and age. The doctor will generally prescribe antifungal medications (known as antifungals). If this does not clear the infection and the symptoms become more severe, the patient is given powerful antifungal medication intravenously (through a vein).

Brushing your teeth daily is necessary / Source: Photo Mix, Pixabay

Prevention

Good oral hygiene prevents thrush in patients with a weakened immune system. After using inhaled corticosteroids, the patient further reduces the risk of thrush by washing the mouth with water or mouthwash.

Nails

Candida paronychia is the name of a Candida infection around the nails, which causes cuticle inflammation.

Risk factors

People who often come into contact with sugars or who regularly have wet hands are at a higher risk of developing this type of candidiasis.

Symptoms

This form of the condition starts as a painful swelling on fiery red skin. Small pus-filled blisters develop on this. The infections occur under the nails (subungual) and in some patients result in the loss of the fingernails or toenails (onycholysis).

Therapy

A medicine taken by mouth helps with the damage to the nails.

read more

  • Candida balanitis: Fungal infection of the penis in men
  • Oral thrush: Fungal infection of the mouth with white spots
  • Candidiasis fungal infection in the esophagus (esophageal thrush)
  • Cutaneous candidiasis: Fungal infection of the skin
  • Vaginal candidiasis: Fungal infection of the vaginal area