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 a harmful 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 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. 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.
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.