What is Candidiasis?

Confused? Is it Candida, Fungi, Yeast or Candidiasis?

Fungi is a biological group of organisms that include yeasts, molds and fungi – meaning that yeast is fungi  but not all fungi are yeast. Candida is a group name for this type of yeast. It is normal to find Candida on human skin. Candidiasis (which I really think should be spelled candidaitis*) is (so far as I can tell) a term that means than candida has turned into a disease. Candidiasis is also technically known as candidosis, moniliasis, and oidiomycosis.

Candida albicans is part of the normal flora of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal (gut or intestinal flora), and female genital tracts. In healthy people it causes neither irritation or disease until it changes form and starts to overgrow.

Candida Albicans

  • a yeast or single cell form
  • a cell wall deficient form
  • a colony of cells or mycelium
  • a chlamydospore or cyst like form

Candida yeast can exist in the above  four forms : The single cell form is normal. Candida Albicans is the most common disease causing species of yeast in our body.

Candidiasis

Candidiasis
Image via Wikipedia

There are over 150 species of Candida such as Candida tropicalis, Candida glabrata, Candida pseudotropicalis, Candida guillermondii,Candida krusei,  Candida lusitaniae, Candida parapsolis, Candida dubliniensis, – that can cause disease, especially if the immune system is weakened.

NB. Blue links on this page lead to wikipedia descriptions. On the Candida page you will see a list on the right of various different species of Candida, many of which have pages of their own.

Candida is not a disease as such. It can get out of hand however as Candidiasis or yeast overgrowth and that can disrupt the body’s normal functioning and lead to disease.

If yeast overgrowth escapes from the intestinal tract, it can invade virtually any organ of the body, including the blood, the lungs, bones, kidney, liver, eyes and brain. Candida bloodstream infections are called candidemia. In very severe infections, systemic candidiasis, people with low immune systems can die from a fatally high fever such as Candida meningitis.

There are treatments for systemic candidiasis. However, yeast overgrowth is difficult to test for as pockets of yeast can hide almost invisibly. Risk of contracting the systemic form of candidiasis is mostly confined to immune compromised infants or the aged, or to patients with AIS conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV, who have weak immune systems.

Thrush and Tinea

Most people who have yeast infections have external or superficial yeast infections in the mouth, in the vagina and on the skin. Oral candidiasis or thrush in the mouth and common in elderly denture wearers, is called oropharyngeal candidiasis and vaginal thrush is called vulvovaginal candidiasis. Nappy Rash may be caused by Candida.

Athletes foot or Tinea is a common fungal infection, as is jock itch in males. People also get fungal infections under their nails called onychomycosis . Vaginal yeast infections in women are common after taking a course of antibiotics but regardless of gender, prolonged antibiotic use increases your risk of a yeast infection.

If people get a yeast overgrowth in their intestinal tract, their symptoms may not be specific enough to diagnose yeast overgrowth. The candida may penetrate the GI mucosa, damaging the gut walls and leading to IBS. More symptoms may include fatigue, achy joints, sleep disturbance, brain fog, bladder and bowel disruption, increase of allergies and sensitivity to foods and chemicals.

In healthy people, yeast infections can be cured with topical or systemic antifungal medications you can buy from the chemist  such as the topical creams clotrimazole, nystatin  and  ketoconazole. A one-time dose of fluconazole (150-mg tablet taken orally) is reported as being 90% effective in treating a vaginal yeast infection.

In most cases of Thrush the yeast overgrowth is treated with a cream and subsides in a few days to a fortnight. A single dose fluconazole tablet is a one day alternative treatment to the cream. Both generally work quickly and effectively. In severe infections amphotericin B, caspofungin, or voriconazole may be prescribed.

When Treatment Doesn’t Work

However sometimes these treatments don’t work. Perhaps this is because the yeast has adapted to the treatment and it no longer works. Or because the form of candida is not susceptible to it, such as Candida glabrata that may be less susceptible to the currently used azole antifungal treatment.

Then we start guessing as it gets more complicated from here.

The hospital doctors are aware of resistant candida, but by the time you’re in hospital with this, your other disease will be more important to them. General practice doctors are resistant to believing candida can be a major problem.

The treatment of candida now becomes a matter of opinion. The best is subjective – trial and error via anecdote such as discussions in forums. And website information from doctors – although some of these may be somewhat biased towards specific remedies.

Notes

 *  -itis

  1. Suffix denoting diseases characterized by inflammation, often caused by an infection.
  2. (humorous) Used to form the names of various fictitious afflictions or diseases.

The Start Of It All

The Start Of It All

I guess this is like an about page but it’s actually the first page of a series! Anything under this category “My Story” is where I wax lyrical about symptoms and treatments, rave about success and rant  about failures. You can’t trust anything on the internet but I’m not a doctor (or a drugstore). My story, … is all about me. The other articles are about what I discovered when I sailed off looking for a cure for what ailed me. Those “try to get the facts straight” articles are grouped by topic.  I try  to stay objective in my articles but expect me to be silly, emotional, witty (hopefully), sarcastic, pathetic and honest in My Story.

———————————————————————————————————-

Two neutron stars rotating rapidly around one ...
Image via Wikipedia

Falling Into A Black Hole

My Story starts around about a year ago in a way, although it could be said to have started over 30 years ago when I had my first course of antibiotics, or even earlier when I was weaned.

But let’s say that it was a mid life crisis. I simply ran out of fuel.

Up until then I could walk for miles, work for hours, stay up till dawn, eat and drink what I wanted and still feel pretty damn good.

First my knees gave out, I couldn’t stay on my feet for hours on end any more, and I wanted to crawl into bed at 7pm. Then I couldn’t stay asleep at night, and woke every 3 hours, couldn’t get to sleep when I went to bed, started to fall asleep in front of the tv in the afternoon, fell asleep when I read a book.

Over several years this went from mildly annoying symptoms – to eyes that were sunken like a zombie and cringing in their effort to close, I couldn’t concentrate on what I was thinking about or work things out. I was wrapped up in immense apathy and lethargy and eventually falling unconscious without remembering closing my eyes,  hence the black hole analogy.

What eventually took me to a doctor was thrush, a persistent thrush that appeared from nowhere and refused to vanish when I rubbed in the cream from the chemist.

That’s where my story begins I guess.

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

What is Candida

What is Candida? More Commonly known as Thrush or A Yeast Infection

What may arguably be the most commonly encountered yeast infection or form of candida is often referred to as thrush.  and they are caused in human beings by a genus of fungi called Candida. Yeast infections affect either gender in certain specific areas of the human body. It is more common for women especially when it affects the female genitalia.

Thrush
Image by AJC1 via Flickr

Yeast infections affect the skin or mucous- membrane areas,  It appears in laboratory-cultured agar plates as large, round colonies colored white, cream or whitish-gray. The image here shows a severe case  of thrush in a mouth with the unmistakeable white plates.

The most commonly known species of yeast overgrowth is called Candida Albicans, although Candida albicans is not the only species that causes yeast infections in human beings. It is thought there may be several hundred varieties.

Candida albicans in a normal quantity generally lives harmoniously with other flora in the human body, its growth kept in check by other bacteria. But it thrives in warm, wet areas of the body. This is why yeast infections are found in mucous membrane areas such as the mouth and the vagina. It also likes human skin, particularly  sections that are prone to sweat such as the skin folds around the genitalia, under the breasts and armpits, and between the toes. In extremely severe cases it can also infect the blood, the bowel and intestines and other interior areas.

So what actually causes yeast infection? First, the human body’s temperature must be at a specific level and the pH levels must be balanced, two of the conditions necessary for Candida albicans and its partner bacteria to grow without disturbing other flora. But when the body temperature and pH levels change, these controlling bacteria die. This leaves the Candida albicans cells free to replicate and turn into fungi with no control over themselves.

Thrush causes burning or prickly sensations, with soreness, itching, tingling and sometimes numbness.  The yeast overgrowth also causes specific symptoms in afflicted areas. To name a few, yeast infections create white or cream-colored patches inside the mouth, reaching as far as the soft palate. They can cause digestion problems and make bowel movements difficult. Afflicted penises have patchy sores near the head or on the foreskin. Candidiasis may  also be responsible for discharges from the ear, the bowels (in the stool) and the genitalia.

Other symptoms may include fatigue, drowsiness, muscle aches, pain or swelling in the joints, dizziness, fluid retention, tissue swelling, loss of balance, lack of coordination, lack of concentration, poor memory, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and irritability. The yeasts feed on sugar so you may experience cravings for sugars, carbohydrates and alcohol.

But as these are also common symptoms for other sicknesses, this must be taken into consideration alongside more reliable indicators. A medical diagnosis should be made before treatment is started. If the infection is around the genitalia you may need to go to a sexual disease centre even though candida is not generally considered as a std. The clinic will however have the necessary staff to protect your privacy when the practitioner examines you.

Yeast infections can have serious, sometimes even fatal, consequences if they proliferate inside the body. This is particularly true for sufferers with weakened immune systems, diabetes, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Long term treatment is often required and sometimes no cure is possible, only management of the infection.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Which health foods to eat?

Which Health Foods to Eat?
Can Diet Really Improve Your Health?

Which health food to eat? What should my diet be? What is factual about healthy food?

What is a diet exactly? The most popular diets show us quick ways to lose weight, because we are embarassed by the extra pounds around our tummies. How to lose weight is a primary objective for many people, but diet is not just about how we look, it’s about our long term health. Can a diet of health foods improve our health, cure disease, take our pain away and make us feel young again?

“You are what you eat” is the title of a popular health book and there is much truth in the statement. Of course there is more than health food choice to human beings! However what we eat eventually sculpts us into archetypes that are easily recognised by dieticians.

It’s not just what health food we eat either, but what we drink, what we inhale, how much we exercise, and any other influence from our specific environment that influence our body’s functions, such as – sun, cold or stress.

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...
A diet rich in soy and whey protein, has been shown to reduce breast cancer incidence in rats. However soy is said to inhibit the action of the thyroid hormone, and new studies show it to not be as healthy as first thought to be.

Many of these influences are accepted parts of how we choose to live, but many are also habits that if we had to make a logical choice on and given all the facts, we would change. At least we like to think that we would.

The real truth is that life goes on without much thought given to such choices, like our diet, until some health crisis suddenly brings it to our attention.  We may have experienced discomfort and pain for years but assumed that it was part of growing older. Nor is a healthy diet a cure all for all people as there are genetic factors that can cause us ill health.

So although I would answer that diet can improve your health (immensely in some cases) and few dieticians would argue, it would be incorrect to say that health food alone can cure all illness.

Perhaps losing weight will help, perhaps organic and biodynamic food will help, perhaps better choices of food, fresh vegetables and fruit rather than a predominance of grains, will improve our health. The information is out there, but only individual trial (and error) will show us what is healthy food for us.

My reason for writing this website is that my own health crisis has pushed me to research healthy food choices. I’ve discovered that much of what I accepted to be generally true is far more complex than I expected, and often specifically false or distorted truth. Neither the old or new food pyramid is the best way to view a healthy diet.  The issue of sugar and cholesterol is fraught with strong opposing information and marketing lies. The bulk of processed, packaged food is riddled with sugar, but fat free. The unknown other additives may be dangerous and it has few genuine nutrients unless they are added vitamins – but it tastes good and it’s on the television!

What health food to eat? Hmmm – Good question.

So this website is a way to keep track of the information, resources and websites that have helped me learn about  my own health issues, especially so far as supplements and correct diet can help me to heal. And if you have similar problems, or even if not, I hope the information here will help you too.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pyramid v Primal