Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by a type of yeast known as Candida. In fact, it is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans. They are generally present in the skin, oral cavity, and in the intestine of human beings naturally.
When there is an imbalance in the normal levels of healthy bacteria or disturbance in the immune system, excessive production of Candida occurs.
Overgrowth of candida can occur due to the following factors.
- Impaired or weak immune system
- Excessive intake of antibiotics and steroids
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Intake of a diet rich in sugar and carbohydrate.
Excessive production of Candida can lead to various health conditions. Let’s go through the Symptoms of Candidiasis which occur due to an overproduction of Candida.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of candidiasis. The affected patient may tend to experience severe weakness, which may make it difficult for the patient to perform daily activities easily. A weakened immunity can itself be responsible for the tiredness caused. Candidiasis has been found to be associated with other nutritional deficiencies, such as deficiencies of vitamin D, vitamin B6, magnesium, and essential fatty acids.
2. Recurrent Genital/ Urinary Tract Infections
Overgrowth of candida in genital regions, such as the vagina, can lead to vaginal candidiasis. Vaginal candidiasis causes intense itching, burning with cottage cheese like discharge, and pain while urination and intercourse. As per some studies, Candida infections occur in around 75% of women in their reproductive age. It can occur once, or there can also be multiple episodes leading to the condition called recurrent vaginal candidiasis.
Candida infections can also occur in males, however, the chances are very less as compared to that of the females.
3. Oral Thrush/ Oral Infections
A weakened immune system can lead to an over-accumulation of Candida in the mouth that is known as oral thrush. It is commonly observed in infants, children, and adults with weak immunity. This condition occurs as creamy white lining or patches within the oral cavity, tongue, inner cheeks, gums, or, at times, also spreads to the esophagus. The lesions have a cheese-like appearance with redness, burning, and, at times, leads to bleeding when scraped. Infants, when infected with oral thrush, can pass on the condition to mother while breastfeeding. Such mothers experience soreness, redness, and/or itchiness around the nipple. The skin around the nipple area becomes scaly and painful in some cases.
4. Fungal Arthritis (Joint Pains)
Candida, when enters and travels into your bloodstream, can affect the joints and can be a cause of fungal infection. This leads to a condition called Fungal Arthritis. When infected by the fungus, the joints experience severe pain along with redness, heat, and difficulty in the movement of the affected joints. Fungal infection, very rarely, can also occur from contaminated prosthesis used in surgery, such as joint replacement. Other fungi, such as Aspergillus or Exserohilum, can also cause this condition.
Generally, fungal arthritis occurs in people with a severely weakened immune system. Such people include the ones suffering from HIV, injective drug users, and those taking steroidal medications for a long time.
5. Chronic Sinus Infections
You might be surprised to learn that the majority of the chronic cases of sinusitis are caused by Candida infections. Rinsing the sinus with Neti Pots have been shown to have good results in terms of relief in such cases.
Treatments with antifungals and sinus rinsing can help only up to some extent. Proper diet and hygiene measures are crucial to prevent relapses.
6. Digestive Troubles
Candida infections can lead to digestive issues, such as bloating, flatulence, constipation, and, at times, diarrhea. Bacteria within the gut can be either good or bad. Good bacteria help to breakdown the food substances into simple forms for better digestion. When the yeast infections overtake the growth of the good bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract (food tract), they can cause havoc leading to severe distress among those affected. It can also make you suffer from severe abdominal cramps as well as chronic intestinal distress.
7. Skin And Nail Infections
Skin and nail infections can be caused by Candida. Candida infections over the skin cause redness, swelling, scaling, and rashes. Moist skin areas are more prone to these infections, such as armpits, groin region, under the breast, folds of skin, and spaces between fingers and toes. Nails affected by Candida are brittle, easily breakable, and discoloured i.e. either white, brown or yellowish. Without the treatment, the nails can become thicker and more discoloured.
Homeopathic Treatment For Candidiasis:
The underlying cause of Candidiasis in each and every case may be different and needs to be assessed in detail. This is when a holistic system of medicine, such as Homeopathy, comes into play.
The triggers, the symptoms, the genetic link, and food intake all need to be assessed and evaluated in detail. Individualized medicines are then prepared for such cases as per the need of the current situation of the disease. Recurrent infections can be reduced and treated with appropriate homeopathic medications. Homeopathy can be an effective solution for such patients distressed with candidiasis for many years and who have a chronic history of the same.
Infants can also be treated with homeopathy, as the medicines are absolutely safe and free from any side effects. Immunity of the affected individuals can be restored and improved with homeopathic treatment for candidiasis which helps to heal the condition from the root level.
Especially when it comes to yeast infections, there are a few precautionary measures which can help up to some extent to prevent the condition.
Tips To Prevent Candidiasis
- Reduce the intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates. Yeast derives its energy from refined sugars. So, lesser is the sugar intake, the lesser is the yeast growth.
- Canned and processed food items, carbonated soft drinks and sugar-loaded desserts, should be avoided.
- Cut down and avoid alcohol consumption.
- Include probiotic foods in your daily diet. Probiotics include yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi.
- Natural ingredients, such as garlic and turmeric, have antifungal properties and they should be included in daily diet. Coconut oil has caprylic acid, which helps to kill the fungus, so it is very useful. Aloe Vera gel is found to be useful in treating oral candidiasis. Certain foods, such as pomegranate, avocados, and chia seeds, are helpful in treating Candidiasis.
- Hygiene measures, such as daily bath, changing innerwear regularly, and wearing loose fitting clothes, are of utmost importance to avoid candida growth in the genital regions as well as in the moist areas of the skin. Keep these vulnerable areas dry and clean.
- Avoid taking antibiotics and steroidal medications frequently and for a long-term, as this can lead to Candida Infections.
Written by Dr. Neethu Krishnan, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah