This is medical term that not many of us are familiar with, however those who have experienced this type of infection will not likely forget it. If you, or someone you know, has just been diagnosed with Candida, here are some basic things you should know about it.
What is Candida?
Candida is the name of a group of yeast organisms, which are in the fungus family. You might be surprised to learn that Candida normally lives on your skin, in your gut and mucous membranes. In most people, this causes no problems. However, certain situations allow a yeast infection to flourish. Your doctor may refer to a yeast infection as “Candidiasis.”
Who Gets Yeast Infections?
Warm moist areas of the body with irritated or broken skin are susceptible to yeast infection. In babies, diaper rash can progress to yeast infection. Adults might have problems in the underarm area, under the breast folds or in other moist spots where skin rubs on skin. Because of excess skin folds, obesity also makes infection with Candida more likely. Thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth, most likely to be seen in babies or immuno compromised people.
The most common Candida infection occurs as a vaginal or vulvar yeast infection of women. You are more likely to develop a yeast infection if you have a weakened immune system, are pregnant, take birth control pills or have recently taken antibiotics or steroid medications. All of these things change the normal balance of organisms in the vagina and make overgrowth of yeast more likely. Vaginal Candida infections are not sexually transmitted since women can get them without sexual contact, but a man can contract a yeast infection from an infected woman.
What are the Symptoms of Candidia?
Areas with Candida infections classically have red, irritated skin. Sometimes, yeast infections look like a flat, raised red area. Other times, there will be red bumps or an oozing red rash. Burning and itching are the most common complaints.
Candida infection will affect three out of four women at some point in their lives. You will likely know it if you have it due to intense itching and burning. There may also be a discharge or pain with urination. If you attempt to treat a yeast infection and it doesn’t go away, see your doctor for confirmation that you are dealing with a yeast infection. You may instead have bacterial vaginosis — the most common cause of these symptoms.
For vaginal yeast infections, creams such as Monistat are available over the counter to self-treat. See your doctor first if this is your first yeast infection, or if you’ve already tried these creams for at least a three-day course and still have symptoms. If you are prone to recurrent yeast infections, eating yogurt containing active lactobacilli cultures on a daily basis may reduce the incidence of infection.
This has been confirmed in at least one valid medical study published in 1992 in the “Annals of Internal Medicine.” For yeast infections in other areas, you need a doctor to evaluate and prescribe medications. Treatments may include suppositories, creams or pills based on the specific infection.