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What are the Different Kinds of Candida Infection?

Article Details
  • Written By: M.R. Anglin
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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A yeast infection of any part of the body is often referred to as a candida infection. Three such infections are vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush, and deep organ infections. Vaginal yeast infections, often just called a yeast infection, occur when the vagina becomes overrun with the yeast. If the candida infection is in the mouth, it is usually called oral thrush. A deep organ infection is a potentially fatal candida infection that can affect organs in the body.

The yeast that often causes these types of infections is candida albicans. This fungus is usually found in areas like the vagina, mouth, skin, and digestive tract of a healthy individual. Infections usually occur when circumstances cause conditions in the body to favor yeast growth. In a healthy individual, the body’s immune system and a variety of healthy bacteria compete with the yeast and prevent it from taking over the area. If something happens to throw the body out of balance, the yeast could take the opportunity to grow and can start to infect the areas.

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A deep organ candida infection can be dangerous, as structures such as the skin, the blood, the heart, and the liver can be affected. A person with this infection could experience symptoms like unexplained fevers and organ failure. Risk factors may include a suppressed immune system or wounds through which fungus can be introduced into the body. For example, a person with a tracheotomy may be at risk. Anti-fungal chemotherapy can be used to treat this condition.

Many women know about vaginal candida infections because of the pain and itching they can cause. While not usually life-threatening, vaginal yeast infections are common and at times can be difficult to clear up. If they recur at a high rate, however, it can signal a more serious disease. For example, repeated infections may be the first sign of the onset of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Vaginal yeast infections occur when the yeast normally living in the vagina multiply. This colonization may occur when conditions in or around the vagina change.

The highly acidic nature of the vagina can make it hard for yeast to grow. If the vagina’s pH is changed, for example by a woman’s period, by pregnancy, or by birth control, the yeast could take that opportunity to grow. Common symptoms of vaginal candida infection include thick, white discharge that resembles cottage cheese and a strange smell. The infection can be treated by suppositories, creams that are inserted into the vagina, topical ointments to treat the skin surrounding the vagina, and an oral pill.

Oral thrush is a candida infection of the mouth. Symptoms include white spots inside the mouth that can bleed when scraped and a loss of taste. Like the other forms of candida infection, oral thrush usually takes over when conditions in the mouth change, making it more favorable for the yeast to grow. Two examples of circumstances that can change mouth conditions are drug abuse and diabetes. Treatment methods may include a medical mouthwash or medicinal lozenges.

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