Candida is a form of yeast, and an overgrowth of candida can cause a fungal infection. These infections are usually caused by candida albicans, which is the most common type of candida. These infections can range from irritating to dangerous, and if you suspect you have a fungal infection caused by candida, you should contact your doctor. When it comes to answering, “What is candida?” there are a few answers out there because candida can cause several types of candidiasis or fungal infections.
Many of these infections occur in people who have weakened immune systems due to age, disease, pregnancy, etc. Nearly all yeast infections occur in damp, moist places such as the mouth, the genitals, etc.
Thrush is the common name for oral candidiasis or oropharyngeal candidiasis. Basically, this is an infection that occurs in the mouth and/or throat. This type of infection is usually characterised by a sore throat, cracking where the lips meet, white spots on the tongue and/or in the mouth, or redness in and around the mouth. The typical treatment for thrush is anti-fungal medication either in the form of a pill or a mouthwash.
Yeast Infections and Diaper Rashes
Both men and women can have yeast infections in the genital area. For women this is called a vaginal yeast infection, and it is typically characterised by extreme itchiness, redness, and soreness in and around the vagina. It’s also characterised by white, thick discharge that is often described as looking like cottage cheese.
Men who have yeast infection also encounter redness on the penis as well as itching and/or burning at the tip of the penis. A yeast infection can also cause diaper rash, which is commonly seen in infants. A diaper rash that is caused by candida might include dark red patches of skin or fluid filled, yellow spots, which become flaky once broken open.
The treatment for this type of yeast infection typically includes antifungals in the form of pills, creams, or suppositories. It’s important to note that yeast infections can be sexually transmitted.
This is also called candidemia, and it occurs when yeast enters your bloodstream. The symptoms for this type of infection are harder to pinpoint and typically include fever and chills even after you have taken antibiotics. Treatment for this type of infection typically includes long term oral or IV antifungal medication.
You can get candidiasis just about anywhere including your nail beds and the folds of your skin.
Risk Factors for Candidiasis
Candida grows in warm, moist places. As a result, people who are obese have a higher risk of developing yeast infections on their skin or in the folds of their skin. Anyone who suffers from a compromised immune system, such as the young, the elderly, the sick, etc., also have an increased chance of developing these infections. Taking antibiotics can also increase the risk because they kill bacteria, which can lead to the overgrowth of yeast (a fungus).
So, “What is candida?” It is yeast, and it can cause a variety of fungal infections.