Candidiasis

From Academic Kids

Template:Message box Candidiasis, commonly called yeast infection or thrush, is a fungal infection of any of the Candida species, of which Candida albicans is probably the most common. Yeast organisms are always present in all people, but are usually prevented from "overgrowth" (uncontrolled multiplication resulting in symptoms) by naturally occurring microorganisms.

In immunocompetent people, candidiasis can usually only be found in exposed and moist parts of the body, such as the oral cavity (oral thrush), the vagina (vaginal candidiasis or thrush), or folds of skin in the diaper area (diaper rash). Candidiasis is the most common cause of vaginal irritation or vaginitis.

At least three quarters of all women will experience candidiasis at some point in their lives. The Candida albicans organism is found in the vaginas of almost all women and normally causes no problems. However, when it gets out of balance with the other "normal flora", such as lactobacilli (which can also be harmed by using douches), an overgrowth and symptoms can result. Pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives and some antibiotics, and diabetes mellitus increase the risk of infection.

The most common symptoms are itching and irritation of the vagina and/or vulva. A whitish or whitish-gray discharge may be present, sometimes resembling cottage cheese, and may have a "yeasty" smell like beer or baking bread. The normal smell is a lactic acid smell, like cheese or yogurt, due to lactobacilli, "good" bacteria that are also used to turn milk into cheese and yogurt.

In immunocompromised patients, the candida infection can become systemic, causing much more serious disease.

Diagnosis

KOH (potassium hydroxide) preparation can be diagnostic.

Treatment

Candidiasis is alleged to be successfully treated either with home remedies or, in the case of a more severe infection, with either over the counter or prescription antifungal medications. Home remedies for candidiasis include the consumption or direct application of yogurt, which contains lactobacillus (a bacteria that kills yeast), acidophilus tablets or salves, and even lightly crushed cloves of garlic which yields allicin, an antifungal. Boric acid has also been used to treat yeast infections by filling gelcaps with boric acid powder and inserting two at bedtime for three to four nights.

Whilst home remedies only offer relief in minor cases of infection, seeking medical attention is a neccessity as the extent of the infection often cannot be judged well by the sufferer. Prescription medication is often the only solution to an infection, the drugs commonly used to treat candidiasis are clotrimazole, nystatin, ketoconazole or amphotericin B in varying concentrations and applications.

If indicated, an underlying reason should be looked for. As an example, oral candidiasis is often linked to the use of inhaled steroids in asthma medication. Patients on long term inhaled steroids should rinse their mouth after each dose of steroids. Babies with diaper rash should have their diaper areas kept clean, dry, and exposed to air as much as possible. Sugar assists the overgrowth of yeast. In the case of frequent yeast infections, sugar can be looked to as a culprit and should be avoided.

Following the health tips at vulvovaginal health can help prevent vaginal candidiasis. Local treatment may include vaginal suppositories or medicated douches.

External links

es:Candidiasis fr:Candidose nl:Candidose pl:Drożdżyca

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