What Is Candida Albicans?

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Candida albicans is a type of fungus that will normally appear in mucous membranes such as the mouth, rectum, or vagina, or it can appear directly on the skin. It has the ability to travel through the bloodstream to affect the heart valves, throat, and intestines. Candida albicans can become infectious when there is a change in the bodily environment that may cause it to grow rapidly. Some of these infections can be treated at home.

Causes

Candida albicans can occur for no apparent reason. However, one of the most common causes is when an individual takes antibiotic medication to treat any infections that were caused by harmful microorganisms. As a result, the candida will continue to multiply in its place, causing what is known as a yeast infection. If it occurs in the mouth, it is called thrush. If it appears on the skin, it will appear as a red rash. This is also the cause of diaper rash for babies.

Symptoms

If the candida causes a yeast infection in women, they may notice a white or yellow discharge and also burning and itching in the vaginal area. For men, they may experience inflammation of the head of the penis. Thrush will appear as white patches on the tongue, throat, or the lining of the mouth. Diaper rash on babies will appear as a red and scaly rash on the skin. If an individual were to get an infection in their bloodstream, it can have an effect on the eyes, heart, kidneys or lungs. Some signs of an infection are anemia, chills, and high fever.

Diagnosis

Sometimes laboratory tests are not needed to diagnose candida infections. A gynecologic exam is used to diagnose vaginal yeast infections. The exam done is similar to a pap smear, in which the vaginal area is swabbed and tested. For diagnoses of the mouth or skin, a doctor will do an examination of the infected area and, if needed, a swab test will be done as well. To check for infections in the blood or urinary tracts, a specimen collection will be done.

Treatment

Candida infections can be easily treated at home with the use of over-the-counter medications or prescribed medication. Some of the most commonly used medicated creams that are used to treat candida are Monistat, Vagistat, and Femizole. Many individuals choose to take a liquid medication called Diflucan to treat infections as well. IV medications given in hospitals are used for more serious infections. If it is possible, the use of antibiotics should be stopped if an individual has a candida infection.

When to See a Doctor

Consult your doctor if you are taking medication for an infection and it does not work, or if your symptoms get worse. Those who may have weak immune systems, such as cancer or HIV, should also see their doctor if an infection should occur. If the infection recurs often, it could be a sign of another possible disease such as HIV, diabetes or leukemia. If this happens, a doctor should also be consulted. Also see a doctor if any abdominal pain, bloody discharge or fever occurs.

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