What is Candidiasis?

Stomach pain can be a symptom of candidiasis.
Bad breath may be a symptom of candidiasis.
Coughing can be a symptom of candidiasis.
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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2014
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Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by a parasitic yeast fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus can normally be found in areas of the body such as the mouth, the genital and intestinal tracts and the throat. The fungus is usually quite harmless and exists side by side with the various bacteria that inhabit the body.

However, there are certain conditions that can result in harmful candidiasis infection. If the body's immune system is weakened, then the fungus can begin to multiply and the infection can become serious. The infection has the ability to travel through the bloodstream and affect many different parts of the body.

Symptoms of candidiasis are numerous. Because it can infect different parts of the body, different symptoms may occur. These can include headaches, impotence, memory loss and mood irregularities. Bad breath, diarrhea, heartburn and stomach pains can also result. Symptoms may also include muscle pain, a persistent cough, night sweats, bladder infections and vaginitis.

These are only a few of the numerous symptoms. Candidiasis symptoms can be heightened if the infected person has eaten certain types of food containing high levels of sugar or yeast. The symptoms may also be more severe if the sufferer is in regular contact with a damp or moldy atmosphere.

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Candidiasis is a very common vaginal infection. It can cause discharges, itching and severe burning sensations. It can also appear in the oral region as white sores. These sores can appear on the tongue, the inside of the cheeks and the gum region. The fungus can also appear around dentures in the mouth.

Candidiasis can affect both men and women. However, contrary to popular belief, it is rarely transmitted by sexual contact. It is also very common in babies and can be passed on to nursing mothers.

There are a few factors that may increase one's risk of candidiasis. A course of long-term antibiotics or a recent illness may contribute to the infection's appearance. These factors weaken the immune system and allow the infection to spread. Pregnancy and the use of certain medications can also cause the infection.

Other contributing factors may be an iron deficiency or diabetes. The use of oral steroids also raises the risk of candidiasis infection. Because of the diversity of symptoms, candidiasis is often wrongly diagnosed. A doctor must run specific tests before any treatment can be given for the infection.

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JaneAir
Post 9

@sunnySkys - That's crazy. You're lucky your mom believed you and didn't think you were faking it or something.

I actually know someone that had a system yeast infection like that, she got it after taking oral steroids too. So I guess getting candidiasis oral or in another area is fairly common after taking those.

However, from what I understand it's not that common if your immune system isn't depressed.

sunnySkys
Post 8

I actually had candidiasis when I was in middle school. My particular infection was centered in my digestive tract, and it was horrible. And what was really horrible is that I suffered for about a year before anyone figured out what the problem was!

Right before my symptoms started, I took a course of oral steroids for my asthma. They basically work by shutting down your immune system, which can make you more vulnerable to fungal infections.

After that, I started feeling tired and nauseous all the time. My mom took me to tons of doctors, and they did a bunch of tests and no one could find anything wrong. Doctors started telling my mom it was "all in my head" but luckily she continued researching and found out about candidiasis. She asked my doctor to test for it, and sure enough, that's what I had.

I took a course of oral anti-fungals and I've been fine ever since!

ceilingcat
Post 7

@turkay1 - Even though you have the symptoms of candidiasis vagina, you might not actually have a yeast infection. When I was on birth control pills, I kept thinking I had a yeast infection and going to the doctor, but when I was tested, it would come back normal. It turns out a hormonal imbalance can cause those symptoms too!

Either way, those symptoms are very unpleasant. When I actually have a yeast infection, I prefer to just go to my doctor and get a prescription for Diflucan, which is just one pill you take. I hate dealing with the messy creams you can get over the counter!

SteamLouis
Post 6

@turkay1-- I know how you feel, I'm in the same boat. I've made some dietary changes recently that seem to have made a difference though.

Yeast feeds on sugar like the article said. So do your best to eliminate sugar from your diet. Carbohydrates don't help much either because most contain yeast (like bread). Just limiting the consumption of these two should help. Some people go further and eliminate processed foods and even meat. I think it's best to listen to your body and take it slowly. I started off by removing sugar from my diet, and I feel better in general. Next up is carbohydrates.

While reading candidiasis information, I've learned that managing our body's PH levels can help kill yeast infections. Apparently, yeast needs an acidic environment to live. So if you keep your PH levels alkaline, it should kill the yeast. Some stores even sell PH strips to keep track of PH levels.

candyquilt
Post 5

I've been dealing with candidiasis (genital) for a while but anti-fungal medications don't seem to be working for me. I first developed a yeast infection six months ago that my doctor prescribed anti-fungal medication for. I used it and the infection seemed to disappear for several weeks, but then all the symptoms returned.

I was given another course of anti-fungals and had the same exact experience the second time around. I still have yeast infection symptoms and I don't know what to do.

Is there anything else I can do to treat this infection? Maybe some natural remedies? This yeast appears to be too strong for medication to wipe out completely.

burcinc
Post 4

I think there are some generalizations made about candidiasis among medical practitioners which makes diagnosis even harder and more complicated. Many doctors believe that candidiasis is almost always present because of a weakened immune system that is not functioning properly. And they might jump to conclusions and get patients tested for other immune system related diseases instead of testing them for candidiasis.

That's what happened to my husband who went to the doctor with symptoms of fatigue, difficulty paying attention, bowel problems and bad breath. My husband was suspecting candidiasis based on research he did himself online. But the doctor tested him for allergies and HIV instead. The results came back negative and the doctor and said that he can't have candidiasis.

He was not content with this examination and ended up going to a different doctor for a second opinion. The second doctor ordered an endoscopy and diagnosed him with candidiasis in the esophagus! He was given anti-fungal medication and the infection is all clear now and all of his symptoms have disappeared!

If he hadn't gone to that second doctor though, he would have been dealing with this infection still. Clearly, candidiasis doesn't only happen to people with weak immune systems! My husband's immune system is fine and he still got it.

ElizaBennett
Post 3

@dfoster85 - Yeast skin infections are also common in babies, especially those who wear cloth diapers. I've never had one that I couldn't clear up with Lotrimin (for the baby) and bleach (for the diapers).

If you have a yeast rash that doesn't readily clear up with over-the-counter medicine (yes, the same ones you would use for athlete's foot - different species, but both are fungus), you can get prescription Nystatin from your doctor. That goes for adults and babies!

dfoster85
Post 2

Not everyone realizes it, but candidiasis isn't just vaginal or oral. You can also get a yeast infection of the skin.

I had gained a lot of weight while I was pregnant with my first child and after my c-section, my belly sort of folded down over the incision. I developed an itchy rash. I thought it might be postpartum PUPPP, but when I went to my doctor for my two-week check, she said it was yeast! That hadn't occurred to me. It cleared up with over-the-counter antifungals.

Anyone who gets a rash in a sort of enclosed area like that should consider the possibility that it might be yeast and have it checked out by a doctor.

anon113831
Post 1

I had problems with candidiasis. It can become serious if not treated, but it is easily treatable once it is confirmed that you have it.

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