Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by candida yeast.
It commonly occurs as a superficial infection or on mucous membranes in the mouth, skin or vagina.
Candida is ranked as one of the most common groups of organisms that cause nosocomial infections (hospital born infections). Commonly affect immune-compromised individuals diagnosed with serious diseases such as HIV and cancer or individuals that have recently undergone surgery, a transplant or are in the Intensive Care Unit. These patients predominantly develop oropharyngeal or thrush candidiasis, which can lead to malnutrition and interfere with the absorption of medication.
How people get infected with Candida?
The source of infection is the flora in patient’s own body, in oropharyngeal and genital areas, commonly producing oropharyngeal or vaginal candidiasis or ‘thrush’.
Other methods of transmission include mother to infant through childbirth, people-to-people acquired infections that most commonly occur in hospital settings where immunocompromised patients acquire the yeast from healthcare workers.
Men can become infected after having sex with a woman that has an existing vaginal yeast infection. Parts of the body that are commonly infected include the skin, genitals, throat, mouth, and blood.
What is Candida?
Candida albicans is opportunistic pathogenic yeast that is a common member of the human gut flora. The species of Candida most commonly involved in human disease is C. albicans. Other species increasingly implicated are C. tropicalis, C. glabrata and C. krusei.
It does not proliferate outside the human body. It is detected in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth in 40-60% of healthy adults.
May become pathogenic in immunocompromised individuals under a variety of conditions.
SYMPTOMS of Candida Infection
Candida Infection in women (Candidal Vulvovaginitis)
Vaginal yeast infection, also known as candida vulvovaginitis and vaginal thrush, is excessive growth of yeast in the vagina. Symptoms include-
- Vaginal itching, which may be severe.
- Burning with urination
- White and thick vaginal discharge that typically does not smell bad
- Painful intercourse
- Redness around the vagina
- Symptoms often worsen just before menses.
The signs of vulvovaginal inflammation include
- Erythema (redness) of the vagina and vulva,
- Vaginal fissuring (cracked skin),
- Edema (swelling from a build-up of fluid),
- Sores in the surrounding area.
Cause of Candida Vulvovaginitis
- Medications – Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill healthy bacteria in the vagina, such as Lactobacillus, which helps to limit yeast colonization.
- Pregnancy – In pregnancy, higher levels of estrogen make a woman more likely to develop a yeast infection. During pregnancy, the Candida fungus is more common, and recurrent infection is also more likely.
- Lifestyle – high frequency of intercourse increases the risk of infection.
- Diseases – Those with poorly controlled diabetes have increased rates of infection.The risk of developing thrush is also increased when there is poor immunity for example, in condition, such as HIV or AIDS, or receiving chemotherapy.
Oral candidiasis, also known as oral thrush, is candidiasis that occurs in the mouth. That is, oral candidiasis is a yeast/fungal infection of Candida species on the mucous membranes of the mouth.
Symptoms include –
- Most types of oral candidiasis are painless, but a burning sensation may occur in some cases.
- Sensation like the mouth has been scalded with a hot liquid.
- A metallic, acidic, salty or bitter taste in the mouth.
- Sometimes the patient describes the raised “blisters.”
- Occasionally there can be difficulty in swallowing, which indicates that the candidiasis involves the oropharynx or the esophagus as well as the mouth.
- The trachea and the larynx may also be involved where there is hoarseness of the voice with infection.
Causes of Oral Candidiasis
- Immunodeficiency –A state of reduced function of the immune system, which can be caused by medical conditions or treatments. Candida species can be acquired from the mother’s vaginal canal during birth as newborn infants do not have developed immune system. Other forms of immunodeficiency which may cause oral candidiasis include HIV/AIDS, active cancer and treatment, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
- Corticosteroid medications – Corticosteroid may contribute to the appearance of oral candidiasis, as they cause suppression of immune function either systemically or on a local/mucosal level, depending on the route of administration. Topically administered corticosteroids in the mouth may take the form of mouthwashes, dissolving lozenges or mucosal gels; sometimes being used to treat various forms of stomatitis. Systemic corticosteroids may also result in candidiasis.
- Dry mouth – Both the quantity and quality of saliva are important oral defenses against candida. Decreased salivary flow rate or a change in the composition of saliva collectively termed salivary hypofunction or hyposalivation is an important predisposing factor.
- Malnutrition – Malnutrition, whether by malabsorption, or poor diet, especially deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, folic acid can predispose to oral candidiasis.
- Smoking – Smoking, especially heavy smoking, is an important predisposing factor but the reasons for this relationship are unknown.
- Antibiotics – Broad-spectrum antibiotics (e.g. tetracycline) eliminate the competing bacteria and disrupt the normally balanced ecology of oral microorganisms, which can cause antibiotic-induced candidiasis.
Conventional Treatment for Candidiasis
Candidiasis is treated with antifungal medications
- Amphotericin b
Oral candidiasis usually responds to topical treatments; otherwise, systemic antifungal medication may be needed for oral infections.
Vaginal yeast infections are typically treated with topical antifungal agents.
Candidiasis Homeopathy Treatment & Homeopathic Remedies
General Approach – Homeopathy is a system of medicine which tries to ‘cure’ this disease, instead of trying to provide symptomatic relief. While dealing with a case of asthma, a homeopath not only records the symptoms of the disease but also studies the medical history, family history, physical and psychological characteristics of a person. This helps to find the cause, the precipitating factors, and the hereditary tendency etc.
Homeopathy is very well known for its effectiveness in skin-disorders. There are many homeopathic medicines which have been used clinically against fungal diseases and candida. The following homeopathic medicines may help in the treatment of Candida:
- Hydrastis can
- Calcaea carb
- Zincum met
- Lilium tig
- Stannum met
- Natrum mur
- Arsenic album
- Apis mellifica
- White fungous like growth in mouth.
- Mouth hot and tender; ulcers bleed on touch and eating.
- Painful gumboil.
- Crying when nursing.
- Taste bitter.
- Vaginal discharge likes white of eggs, with sensation as if warm water was flowing.
- Menses too soon, profuse, with griping, nausea and pain in stomach extending into small of back.
- Extreme anxiety, especially from motions which have a downward direction, rocking, being carried downstairs, laid down.
- Anxious expression of face during the downward motions
- Excoriating, burning, and offensive discharges.
- Rapid decomposition of fluids and secretions, and burning pains.
- Corrosive itching within vulva, burning and swelling of labia; violent itching between labia and thighs.
- Violent itching of vulva and vagina, worse when urinating.
- Dreams of urinating.
- Enuresis in the first part of night.
- Must hurry when desire comes to urinate.
- Burning and soreness in external and internal parts.
- Vanishing of thought; stupid, forgetful, peevish, irritable.
- Music causes weeping and palpitation.
- The discharge may be anywhere,-throat, stomach, uterus, urethra,-it is always characterized by thick, yellowish, ropy mucous discharge.
- Peppery taste in mouth.
- Tongue white, swollen, large, flabby, slimy; shows imprint of teeth; as if scalded; stomatitis.
- Ulceration of tongue, fissures toward the edges.
- Erosion and excoriation of cervix.
- Vaginal discharge, worse after menses.
- acrid and corroding, shreddy, tenacious discharge. Menorrhagia.
- Itching in vulva, with profuse discharge.
- Diarrhoea before and during menses.
- Menses too early and profuse; worse at night.
- Voluptuous sensation.
- Vaginal discharge acrid, thick, tough, greenish follows menses.
- Cannot bear tight clothing around waist.
- Traces of menses between menses.
- Awkward; everything falls from hands. Sensitive.
- Vaginal discharge after menses.
- Corrosive, offensive discharge.
- Menses profuse, bright.
- Inflammation of ovaries and uterus after abortion.
- Pain from sacrum to pubis, and from below upwards shooting up the vagina.
- Uterine pains extend into thighs.
- Discharge of blood between periods, with sexual excitement
- Music is intolerable, produces nervousness.
- Burning in ovarian region.
- Vaginal discharge acrid, burning, offensive, thin.
- Menses too profuse and too soon.
- Pain as from red-hot wires; worse least exertion; causes great fatigue; better in warm room.
- Menses too profuse and too soon
- Stitching pain in pelvis extending down the thigh
- Great anguish and restlessness. Changes place continually.
- Fears, of death, of being left alone.
- Great fear, with cold sweat. Thinks it useless to take medicine
- Vaginal discharge, pale, thin, profuse, white, excoriating, with great weakness in back.
- Menses too late, with constipation; pale and scanty, with tearing pain in Hoarseness, coryza, cough, sweats and morning sickness during menstruation.
- Aversion to meat. Sweets nauseate.
- Hot drinks disagree. Nausea and vomiting after each meal.
- Morning sickness during menstruation.
- Pressure in stomach. Burning in stomach, causing hunger.
- Eructation difficult.
Candida – WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
If you have recurrent Candida infections you should have a glucose tolerance test done to rule out diabetes mellitus.
If you are a diabetic and are frequently diagnosed with yeast infections your blood glucose levels are probably not in the normal range. You should contact your family doctor and have your treatment plan reevaluated.