Candida, also commonly known as Candidiasis, implies an overgrowth which has the ability to convert itself to the fungal form throughout the intestinal wall among other body parts. In women, this condition is often referred to as virginal yeast infection. It is a type of yeast- like fungus that in most cases cause superficial infection in the mucus membranes. In the onset when the immune system of a person is compromised by conditions such as HIV/AIDS and cancer, Candida can result to more serious systemic infections.
When antibiotics are regularly used, candida infection becomes more regular and common because antibiotics that more than often kill the bacteria found on the mucus membranes, or they may inhibit possible overgrowth by candida (Burton, et al, 2003, p.13). There are several kinds of candida including candida tropicalis, candida parapsilosis, candida guilliermondii and candida glabrata, but the species that is most likely to cause candida infections is the candida albicans. In general situations, candida can harmlessly reside in the human beings and other animals’ gastrointestinal tract in small numbers without creating negative health effects in the host.Discussion: There is a likelihood of candida developing into a chronic condition which is called chronic candida.
This comprises of a number of symptoms such as: emotional or mental signs- irritability, concentration difficulties, and depression; gastrointestinal symptoms- constipation and bloating; fatigue and a myriad of others. So far, there haven’t been a precise scientific diagnostic criteria or medical test for this condition. Usually it is merely diagnosed after an individual responds positively to anti-candida treatments.Other people will learn of this chronic candida condition from lay press literature which is mainly based on reported case studies, and most physicians do not diagnose it because meanwhile it has not been subjected to in depth medical research. Most of the candida lives in their hosts as commensals but a good number will also cause diseases. Many of the candida species are part of the gut flora including the above mentioned candida albicans which particularly resides in mammalian hosts, with others living as endosymbionts in insects (Burton, et al, 2003, p.
19).Immuno-compromised patients who are perennially highly susceptible to a variety of opportunistic diseases have been more prone to candida infections worldwide from the different candida species invariably. This has made the last decade see much concerted medical efforts and importance in addressing these opportunistic diseases. In the meantime, there has been a completion of the genome sequence of a number of candida species. This has enabled a more detailed investigation into some aspects of their biological orientation with the assistance of several post-genomic approaches.Novel antifungal therapies can thus be developed from innovations that are translated from the results that accrue from the pathogenic candida and related yeast investigations.
On their part, alternative medicine practitioners argue that various health problems can be caused by candida. These can range from general fatigue to weight gain, but most conventional doctors have rejected this proposition chiefly because there is no tangible theory to support the purported evidence (Burton, et al, 2003, p.25).Some of the most common clinical characteristics of candida include superficial infections. The most prevalent are the oral pharyngeal Candidiasis or thrush and the vulvovirginal Candidiasis which is commonly referred to as virginal Candidiasis. In most otherwise healthy persons, these infection typologies can readily be cured with the use of antifungal medications.
However, in immuno-compromised patients, deep-seated and persistent yeast infections can turn out to be medically lethal. Furthermore, a number of opportunistic infections which can be life threatening are also blamed on candida. This is more so in HIV/AIDS patients, patients under treatment in Intensive Care Units, cancer patients under chemotherapeutic treatment as well as patients who undergo organ transplant(s).Oral Candidiasis which is caused by acrylic dentures, particularly in the elderly, is yet another clinical characteristic of candida. Ingestion of anti-hyperacidity drugs and antacids may result to gastrointestinal tract colonization by candida albicans and this may consequently interfere with Coenzyme Q10 absorption (Burton, et al, 2003, p.
37). Some of the candida skin infections include:• Oral thrush or the oral Candidiasis • Genital infection in women- vulvovaginal Candidiasis which includes the cyclic vulvovaginitis • Nappy or diaper rash- napkin dermatitis • Balanitis- penile infection • Chronic paronychia- nail fold infection • Intertrigo- skin fold infections • Onychomychosis- nail plate infection • Chronic mucocutaneous Candidiasis Like in any other kind of a disease, Candidiasis has got some eminent predisposing factors.The most common of them are: • Old age and infancy • Warmer climates • Occlusion such as plastic pants for babies, dental plates, and nylon panties for women • Deficiencies in the immune system such as lower levels of immunoglobulin and HIV/AIDS infection • Involvement in broad spectrum antibiotic treatments • Contraceptive injection or pills and/or pregnancy. • Systemic steroids in immunosuppressive medications and chemotherapy • Presence of underlying skin ailments such as lichen planus and psoriasis • Iron deficiency • Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes mellitus, among other endocrine diseases/conditions, and • General debility as a result of malnutrition or cancer.The common diagnosis of Candidiasis is done through culture and microscopy of skin scrapings and swabs.
Candida can however live quite harmlessly on the mucosal surfaces, and it may also secondarily easily infect some underlying skin disorders like psoriasis. Candida infection of the penis mainly occurs more in men who are not circumcised as compared to circumcised men. In both cases, this may be transmitted from engagement in sexual intercourse with partners who are already infected. The same case applies to women.Among people who practice other forms of unconventional sexual habits such as oral sex, Candidiasis can be transmitted from the mouth to the sexual organs and vice versa.
Though in very rare circumstances, candida (especially the candida albicans) can enter the blood stream casing very grave infections of vital organs in the body. This condition can occur among people with low body resistance like in the case of HIV/AIDS and leukemia (Burton, et al, 2003, p.64). Candida thrush fundamentally appears as bluish-white or creamy-white patches on the tongue which is normally inflamed and in most cases it is beefy red.This can also be observed along the mouth lining or inside the throat. In children, diaper rash from candida is a characteristic inflammation of the skin and it is usually red and scaly.
Yellow or white discharge is the dominant characteristic of vaginitis with inflamed vagina walls and the vulva, causing much itching and burning effect. In men, Balanitis or the penis infection involves the penis’ head inflammation. In serious cases where infection extends to the bloodstream, eyes, lungs, kidneys, the heart as well as other organs can be affected.This causes high fever, anemia, chills, and in other circumstances shock or a rash can be present. Most of candida infections can be promptly treated at home with prescription medicine. These may include but are not limited to: topical antifungal drugs administration such as Miconazole- Monistat Vaginal and Monistat Derm; clotrimazole; tioconazole; nystatin; or other oral drug administration like amphotericin and fluconazole.
Studies have shown that most women have a preference of oral prescriptions than topical administration (Burton, et al, 2003, p.91).However, it is well known that even though most of the antifungal drugs will clear up the problem at hand, the infection recurs in some instances. This mainly happens from reinfections from sexual partners and therefore these calls for treatment of both partners. Whenever possible, it is advisable to discontinue use of antibiotics during a candida infection and treatment. In the case of diaper rash in infants, barrier creams would work well and the diapers should be frequently changed.
On the same note, people who have a higher tendency to getting skin Candidiasis should observe dry skin as much as it is possible. Conclusion: As a precautionary measure and to be on the safer side, it is always necessary to avoid diets that are favorable to growth and development of Candidiasis.These include foods which are high in their sugar contents because sugar acts as a good culture for Candidiasis. Similarly, it is highly recommended that being well informed is vital in the treatment and control of Candidiasis which has proved to be major medical concern since the recent past decade. Some possible issues one can address include asking the physician what caused the particular type of Candidiasis one may be having.
It is also important to understand the prevalence and intensity, and whether (if on antibiotics) other medications should be terminated, and if they can’t, possible alternatives should be understood.