Candida is a kind of micro-organism that causes Candidiasis. It can affect any areas like mouth, throat, skin and genitals. The fungus by name Candida albicans often causes this infection multiplying several times in number. The yeast lives in our body in meager number, but when situations are favorable it grows high in number causing infection. Lowered immunity, intake of certain medications and various health issues can cause Candida infection.
Candidiasis is categorized into many types, depending on the area of the body that is affected.
- Oral Thrush :
If the yeast infection affects your mouth or throat it is known as oral candidiasis or thrush. You have less chance to develop oral thrush if you are healthy with good immunity. It often attacks infants and elderly people who are with weakened immunity. A person who suffers from chronic diabetes or chronic infectious diseases like AIDS he/she has high risk of developing thrush. Patients who undergo chemo sessions for cancer are prone to get oral candidiasis. People who are taking steroid drugs for long term are at high risk of getting this problem.
Oral thrush is characterized by sore throat, difficulty in swallowing, few white spots in your tongue or mouth, inflammation of throat and oral cavity and cracking of lips and mouth corners. It can cause redness in your mouth causing great discomfort while talking and eating. Oral thrush can be treated with antifungal drugs and anti-inflammatory medications. Mouthwash can be used for reducing inflammation in oral cavity. It is advised to take prompt medical care failing which yeast infection can become severe causing complications.
- Genital or Vaginal infection :
If the fungus affects your genitals it is known as genital infection. It would cause inflammation of vagina, redness and intense irritation on the area. Yeast infection can affect the soft mucous lining of the vagina. It is quite common for every woman to develop yeast infection in her vagina at least one time in her life. In case you have frequent infection you need to be careful.
Vaginal infection need not necessarily be sexually transmitted but it can affect you if there is imbalance in good bacteria or even through oral genital contact. For many women, it would show symptoms like intense itching of genitals, vaginal discharge (resembling cottage cheese), redness and discomfort and pain during sex. Not all the symptoms will be present in the same woman.
For men, it would cause irritation on penis, soreness and burning sensation at the edge of penis and red rashes. Anyone affected with genital infection is likely to pass on the infection to others during sex. Unless it is severe vaginal infection can be easily treated with simple medications. Antifungal creams can be applied over the genital area 2-3 times a day. Oral pills can also be taken for getting quick relief from symptoms.
- Diaper Rash :
This is another type of yeast infection caused by Candida affecting infants and toddlers. Diaper rash as the name indicates is caused by poor hygiene while using diapers. This infection can cause dark reddish spots on the diaper area causing irritation and itchy feeling. Red spots often develop on the folds of the skin where sweating is more.
In severe cases these spots or lesions break open to produce yellowish fluid like pus. Consult your pediatrician immediately to get it resolved. Your doctor may prescribe antifungal creams that can be applied on the sores. Change diapers frequently and do not leave the child with soiled diaper for long. Keep the diaper area completely dry to prevent any infection.
- Candidemia :
If the yeast infection affecting your body is left untreated for long, it can enter into your blood causing serious complications. Once it enters your bloodstream it can travel to any part of your body causing life threatening consequences. Symptoms of invasive yeast infection include extreme tiredness, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms vary depending on the part of the body that has been infected.
People with weak immunity, people who have undergone surgery recently, people who are on catheters for long term, and people who are admitted in ICU for long are at risk of developing candidemia or deep candidiasis. It can cause serious health issues and hence requires immediate medical care. In extreme cases, it can cause organ failure. Antifungal medications are prescribed either through intravenous injection or oral pills, depending on the health condition of the patient.
Candida infection can be mild to severe. For many people, candidiasis symptoms go away within few days, if it is superficial. It may return after few weeks and in that case you will be put on antibiotics for long term. If you have any type of chronic illness, Candida infection can become more severe making it difficult to treat. Your recovery is based on quick diagnosis and effective treatment.