All You Need to Know About Candidiasis
Candidiasis is a mycosis, a fungal infection produced by any of the species of the genus Candida, all of them yeasts. Among all, the most common is Candida albicans. Besides the name candidiasis, this infection is also known as moniliasis.
Candidiasis includes infections that range from superficial, such as oral yeast infection and vaginitis, to systemic and life-threatening. Systemic infections are limited to people with poor immune systems, such as cancer, transplant, or AIDS patients.
A little history of yeast infection
The genus Candida and species albicans were first described by Christine Marie Berkhout, a botanist who studied this bacterium in her doctoral thesis at Utrecht University in 1923.
Later, the classification of genera and species evolved. This species was also called in the past Monilia albicans and Oidium albicans, hence its other names that we have seen previously. The genus Candida includes approximately 150 different species. However, only a few can cause infections in humans.
Most women get a yeast infection at some point. The Candida albicans fungus is a very common type of fungus. It is often found in small amounts in the vagina, mouth, digestive tract, and on the skin. However, it doesn’t usually cause symptoms.
Both candida and many other organisms that normally live in the vagina keep each other in balance. However, sometimes the amount of this fungus increases, causing infection.
This situation can appear when:
- Antibiotics are being taken to treat other infections. These drugs change the normal balance between microorganisms in the vagina.
- A woman is pregnant.
- Someone is overweight.
- There are diseases such as diabetes.
Yeast infection is not spread through sexual contact. However, some men may have symptoms after having sexual contact with an infected partner.
On the other hand, keep in mind that having many vaginal yeast infections can be a sign of other health problems.
You may be interested in: What Is Thrush or Oral Candidiasis?
Symptoms of yeast infection
The symptoms of this infection vary depending on the location. From a dermatological point of view, mucosal and cutaneous candidiasis are of interest.
Within the first type, and affecting the mucosa we have thrush. This manifests as creamy and whitish plaques that converge on the back of the tongue, soft palate, vaginal and genital mucosa. When detached, they reveal a red and congestive mucosa.
Other symptoms of this infection are:
- Red, smooth, shiny and painful tongue.
- In the form of triangular plates, with scales and fissures in the center or affecting the lips.
Regarding the genital mucosa, infection in this area represents 20-30% of vaginal infections. They appear as redness and edema of the labia minora that can extend to the labia majora, the perineum, the inguinal folds, and the gluteus. In addition, it usually appears accompanied by itching and a burning sensation.
In short, the main symptoms of candidiasis can be summarized as:
- A cluster of thick whitish discharge.
- Burning or itching sensation.
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How can it be treated?
Focusing on genital candidiasis, which, as we have seen, can affect both men and women, the first-line treatment is the use of antifungal ointments such as Candicort or Fluconazole. They should be applied between 2 and 3 times a day, for about 3 days or up to 14 days at the most.
Treatment should always be supervised by a doctor, you should never self-medicate.
In addition to drug treatment, these are a series of measures that will help fight the symptoms and better deal with the infection:
- Wear cotton underwear; this way the skin will breathe better.
- Wash the genital area only with water.
- Avoid using tampons.
- Do not have unprotected sex during the treatment, to avoid complications.
In addition to all these recommendations, another recommendation for the treatment of candidiasis is to eat a diet low in sugar, since it also helps the body to fight the growth of fungi more easily, curing the candidiasis faster.It might interest you...