What is Candidiasis
Candidiasis means fungal infection of the genus Candida – also known as thrush. These infections are most frequently caused by the pathogen Candida albicans, the “white yeast fungus”.
Even in healthy people, it colonizes the skin and mucous membranes and is part of the normal flora. As a rule, this only becomes a problem when other factors such as pH value, skin moisture in the mouth or genitals change
How Do You Get Candidiasis?
In the majority of the general population, the skin and mucous membranes are colonized with Candida, but without symptoms. Only a change in the bacterial flora or a weakened immune system can lead to the development of symptomatic candidiasis.
In healthy people, the body’s own defenses ensure that the fungus cannot spread too much. However, if the immune system is weakened, especially by diseases or medication, the fungus can multiply “unchecked”
According to the National Reference Center for Invasive Fungal Infections, the main risk factors include a weakened immune system, such as in patients with HIV, cancer, diabetes, burns, organ transplants, or antibiotic therapies. Babies, pregnant women, and the elderly and sick also tend to be more susceptible to these fungal infections
Can You Get Candidiasis?
In practice, there are two possible ways for infection with the Candida fungus: A weakened immune system can overgrow the fungus that is already present or the pathogens enter our body from outside. The transmission can take place through direct contact or through shared objects
In most people, candida is part of the natural flora of the skin and mucous membranes. A fungal infection can only occur as a result of a weakened immune system or through direct transmission.
What are The Symptoms of Candidiasis?
Although candidiasis or thrush is often triggered by the same pathogen, there is no uniform clinical picture. The symptoms can appear in different parts of the body. The mouth, throat (oral thrush), esophagus, or gastrointestinal tract are particularly often affected. Finger and toenails, as well as the genital organs and the skin, can also be affected by the pathogen.
The most common symptoms include reddening of the skin, pustules, scales, and white deposits on the mucous membranes that can be painful, itchy, or burning. In severe cases, the internal organs can also be affected, in which case it is referred to as systemic candidiasis.
However, such cases are rare. For high-risk patients with a severely weakened immune system, for example in the intensive care unit, a fungal infection can be particularly threatening and must be taken seriously.
With candidiasis, different symptoms can occur depending on the affected area: White deposits, redness, or scales, which can be painful, itchy, or burning.
What Helps Against Candidiasis?
In order to treat candidiasis, the causes of fungal colonization should first be eliminated. Excessive moisture on the skin or in skin folds should be kept dry and hygiene measures are taken, such as changing and cleaning toothbrushes and towels.
It is also recommended to clean the intimate area with water or special detergents, normal soap or intimate sprays should be avoided. In older people, good hygiene of dentures and dentures should also be ensured and, if necessary, regularly disinfected.
With infants, care should always be taken to keep diapers clean and dry. A doctor should always be consulted if Candida is suspected, as this will decide how the therapy should proceed. The discontinuation of medication such as antibiotics or cortisone can also be prescribed.
So-called antimycotics (“antifungal agents”) are very effective against candidiasis, as they inhibit or even kill the fungus from spreading. These are often available in the form of ointments, suppositories, or tablets.
As a rule, smaller affected areas can get better after a few days if they are treated locally. However, there is still a risk that the candidiasis will come back, so treatment should not be ended too quickly and should always be carried out under medical supervision.
Candidiasis can be treated with a medically prescribed therapy, usually with antifungal drugs.
How Does Diet Affect Candidiasis?
Does a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar promote colon colonization with candida Albicans? The German Nutrition Society (DGE) rates this assumption as speculative. The effectiveness of an “anti-fungal diet” is also not based on any scientific evidence.
Rather, Candida albicans is a normal part of the intestinal and skin flora in most healthy people. The detection in the stool does not immediately require therapeutic measures or symptoms. In addition, complete and sustained elimination of yeasts in the intestine is not possible.
For intestinal health and intestinal flora, fiber from the diet is particularly valuable, as are probiotic dairy products and foods such as garlic, which can have a regulating effect on the intestinal flora.
Concepts such as the “anti-fungal diet” seem questionable and scientifically unsustainable: this diet largely avoids carbohydrates. Since the Candida colonization in the intestine is more likely to be found in the rear sections of the intestine (colon), the carbohydrates that are already absorbed beforehand in the proximal sections of the small intestine have fewer effects.
A study on 28 healthy volunteers also showed no effect of a high-sugar diet on the colonization of the intestines with Candida albicans.
So far, the scientific data show no clear connection between the influence of diet on symptomatic candidiasis.
This article provides general information only, does not recommend self-diagnosis, and is not a substitute for a doctor’s visit.
Knowledge To Take Away
Candidiasis is an infectious disease caused by fungi of the genus Candida. The skin and mucous membranes are often affected, and the term “thrush” is often used. However, candidiasis can also appear on the genitals or, in rare cases, the internal organs.
In most healthy adults, colonization with Candida can be proven and is not generally equated with a clinical picture. Usually, an intact immune system prevents the Candida fungus from spreading. However, if this is disturbed by illness or medication, the yeast fungus can overgrow.
Babies, pregnant women, and the elderly also seem to be more prone to fungal infections. Other factors can also influence the population density, but so far there is no scientific evidence that nutritional factors significantly promote Candida colonization in the intestine. If candidiasis of the skin, mucous membranes, or genitals is suspected, a doctor should be consulted in order to initiate appropriate therapy.