Candidiasis: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Candidiasis – also known as thrush – is a type of yeast infection caused by candida Albicans. Candida albicans are microscopic organisms that thrive in moist environments. Candida albicans are present on your skin, mouth, and in the gastrointestinal tract. In women, this microbe is also present in the vagina. Usually, this strain of microorganism is harmless. But when candida Albicans multiply uncontrollably, the overgrowth triggers an infection.

Signs and Symptoms of Candidiasis

The most common signs and symptoms of yeast infection are persistent itching, and a burning sensation in the vagina. Other symptoms include a foul vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse and rashes in the groin area, buttocks, and between the breasts.

Candidiasis is very dangerous when the infection reaches vital organs or the bloodstream. Those who suffer from HIV/AIDS are extremely vulnerable to the complications of yeast infection. When the body’s immune system is not strong enough to protect itself from an infection, a simple yeast infection can turn deadly.

Causes of Candidiasis

Yeast infection is not caught because the microbes are already present in the body. The most common causes of yeast infection are overuse of antibiotics, lower numbers of good bacteria in the body, pregnancy, and uncontrolled diabetes. Other causes of yeast infections are poor eating habits, and unbalanced hormones. Lack of sleep is also a factor that could trigger candidiasis.

Certain cancer medications and steroid drugs could trigger a yeast infection. This is the reason why cancer patients and those afflicted with HIV/AIDS suffer from yeast infection.

Treating Candidiasis

Thankfully, yeast infection is very easy to diagnose. Usually, your doctor will ask about your medical history, if you ever contracted sexually transmitted diseases, or if you suffered from yeast infection in the past.

After analyzing your medical history, your doctor will conduct a pelvic exam. Your doctor will examine the vagina and its surrounding area for signs of infection. Your doctor could also check the vaginal walls and cervix for infection. The results will be submitted for lab testing. From the lab results, your doctor will develop the best ways treat the infection.

Treating Candidiasis

For simple cases of yeast infection, a topical antifungal cream is enough to contain the overgrowth of bad bacteria. The anti-fungal treatments could come in an ointment, tablet, or suppository form.

The doctor could prescribe single dose oral meds like Diflucan. For severe cases of infection, treatments include the 14-day application of antifungal treatments. Your doctor is likely to increase the frequency of taking Diflucan. Your sexual partner will be advised to use condoms during sexual intercourse to contain the infection.

How to Prevent Candidiasis

If you are dealing with a yeast infection, do not wear very tight clothing especially tights or leggings. Avoid using any feminine deodorants and change wet clothing immediately.

Stick to a balanced diet and make a habit out of taking cultured beverages and fermented foods. Eat high fiber foods and take supplements enriched with good bacteria.

Finally, observe proper hygiene. Wear clean, dry undies all the time and avoid douching. Change your feminine products frequently and clean your underwear using hot water. Wear clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton or linen.