Candida albicans is a yeast-like substance that naturally occurs in the body. The microorganisms reside in your mouth, skin and intestines. In normal amounts, candida albicans protects the body from developing yeast and fungal infections.
When people refer candida or candidiasis, they are talking out what happens when the good candida albicans levels drop and the body develops a yeast infection or yeast in the body turns into fungus. Some of the most common types of candida infections are thrush, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and vaginal yeast infections. Although an imbalance of candida albicans is the cause of the most common types of candida infections, there are other strains of candida as well.
Causes of Candidiasis
Unfortunately, many factors can cause a candida infection. Anything that weakens the body’s immune system can lead to a decrease in good candida albicans and an overgrowth of bad organisms. A sugar heavy diet, drinking too much alcohol, steroids and sometimes even excess stress all weaken your immune system.
Additionally, some medicines such as birth control pills, Prednisone, and anti-biotics can cause candida infections as well. Some infections, such as athlete’s foot can be spread through contact in a hot, moist environment such as in a steam room or by sharing socks and sneakers. Candidiasis caused by medicines usually shows up as a condition most people call “thrush”, which results in a person’s tongue developing a white coating. Many women develop vaginitis, another type of candidiasis, from taking birth control pills.
Candida infections can be difficult to treat because the symptoms mimic or cause other health problems. Treatment plans differ depending on what type of candidiasis you have. There are many over the counter medicines for conditions such as athlete’s foot, jock itch and vaginal yeast infections.
Serious infections, such as fungal infection in the toenails that is commonly associated with chronic athlete’s foot, usually require a prescription from a doctor. There are also nutritional supplements on the market that help keep the body’s natural candida albicans balanced; however, they are not tested by the Food and Drug Administration and work better for some people than others.
Additionally, you should discuss any over the counter medication with your doctor or pharmacist to be sure that it will not conflict with any other medicines you may be taking. If you use an over the counter medication and the problem does not go away, or keeps coming back, then you should make an appointment with your doctor to receive professional treatment.
It is important to remember that candidiasis is the result of an autoimmune disease and you should take it seriously. Some conditions caused by candidiasis are relatively minor and easy to treat; however, chronic candidiasis can cause serious health problems such as weakening your digestive system, reproductive system and other systems in your body. Do not let a minor problem go untreated. If you have any signs of a candida infection, seek medical help before it gets out of control.
About the Author: Jaye Whitsey and his wife had their young daughter treated for oral thrush as a baby and are familiar with the signs. If you think you may have a chronic infection, visit here to treat the symptoms or find out more about what to ask your doctor.