What is Candida?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: n/a, Agephotography, Jackf, Brankatekic
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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The genus Candida encompasses a number of individual yeast species. Many of the members of this genus live on and in the human body normally, but they can pose a risk to human health in the form of opportunistic infections. An infection can be irritating, but it is treatable with the use of an anti-fungal medication. Symptoms of a yeast infection include itching, burning, a creamy discharge, and sometimes pain. If these symptoms are being experienced, you should seek medical attention so that the condition can be diagnosed and treated.

Under normal conditions, human skin and mucous membranes actually host a wide number of microscopic organisms include Candida yeasts and bacteria. Many of these organisms actually help the human body to function more efficiently, while others are benign parasites, taking advantage of the nutrition offered by the human body. When a person is immunocompromised or his or her physical health is otherwise disrupted, however, these organisms can begin to multiply, causing an infection.

Infections with Candida albicans are the most common type of yeast infection. Doctors sometimes call the condition Candidiasis or thrush, and they may culture scrapings from the site of infection to determine which individual species is causing the infection. The patient is given an anti-fungal cream or oral drug, and instructed to take it for a set period of time while avoiding trauma and stress at the infection site.


Candidiasis can appear in a number of places. Bodily orifices such as the mouth are common locations, as mucous membranes are notoriously prone to opportunistic infection. The infection can also appear in the folds of the skin. In all cases, itching and burning are common irritations, along with a thick creamy discharge which often smells unpleasant. Although there are home remedies for yeast, self treatment should not be undertaken, because the cause of the infection may not, in fact, be Candida.

In a healthy human being, an infection with Candida is not life threatening, although it can be inconvenient. However, individuals with compromised immune systems, such as organ transplant and AIDS patients, are at serious risk of infections. In a hospital environment, staff attempt to keep the probability of infection low, and to diagnose the cause of an infection properly so that it can be quickly treated and eliminated. These patients are also carefully monitored at home to ensure that they are living in clean, healthy environments where opportunistic infections will be less likely to set in.


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Post 2

Having a candida infection is not much fun, I can tell you that much. I switched over to a yeast free diet and was surprised by all the other side benefits I received such as weight loss and an increase in energy.

Post 1

Candida sounds like a gross and disgusting infection. Is it contagious and how can you give it to someone? I have never had a yeast infection, so I don’t know what symptoms to look for if I ever get them. How would someone know if they have a Candida infection? Should you wait to see if your body can fight it on your own or go to your doctor right away?

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