Candida is a symbiotic yeast, which lives in us and on us, as part of our
normal collection of microorganisms; everyone has lots of them. The genus
Candida includes approximately 154 species, Yeasts overgrow when conditions are
right for them and they can be a nuisance. You cannot get rid of all resident
yeasts. You hope to find an ecological balance, with yeast growing at a
controlled rate, below the symptom-producing level Candida albicans is
most often isolated from the skin, mouth and vagina. Candida is the most common
cause of opportunistic invasive fungal infection in immune compromised hosts.
Six species cause most human infections.
Vaginitis Candida overgrowth is a common cause of vaginitis in women.
Vaginitis is often provoked or aggravated by sexual intercourse. In one study,
female risk factors for recurrent vulvovaginitis were recent masturbation with
saliva , recent cunnilingus and ingestion of two or more servings of bread per
day. A male risk factor associated with recurrence in his partner were
masturbation with saliva in the previous month. Many woman suffer prolonged and
mysterious vaginal irritation and pelvic pain. Infection is always assumed, and
repeated treatment for candida and other organisms often fails. Seldom is the
diagnosis of vaginal allergy considered. The vagina often reacts to contact
allergens and to circulating food allergens with increased mucus production and
secondary candida overgrowth. Milk allergy, for example, commonly triggers
vaginitis in both children and adults
Prostaglandins in male semen, and allergic responses to semen and/or sperm
may be important contributors to vaginitis in sexually active women.. Wilkins,
from Cornell, reported that Candida overgrew in the vaginas of women whose
immune response was suppressed by prostaglandin E2. Ibuprofen, a prostaglandin
inhibitor, improved the anti-Candida response. Prostaglandins were originally
discovered in, and named for, secretions of the male prostate gland. Male semen
prostaglandins may, in some couples, inhibit the woman's local immune defense.
Sometimes, semen proteins or sperm excite female antibody production and trigger
allergic, inflammatory responsesVaginal candida overgrowth, as
everywhere else, is a symptom of another pathological process, and not a cause
of it. While treatment of vaginitis with oral and/or vaginal lactobacillus is
popular, no benefit has been demonstrated. Men may be troubled by yeast overgrowth on their penis and on the skin around
the anus. Yeast overgrowth in the groin is the cause of "jock itch".
Babies often have Candida overgrowth on the diaper area of their skin,
producing the most aggressive from of "diaper rash". This is often seen in food
allergic infants - cows milk allergy is the most common cause. Oral growth of
Candida is known as "thrush" and is also common in babies. Infants with inborn
errors of amino acid metabolism display prominent thrush.
Candida is irritating and is perceived as whitish surface material associated
with local inflammation and itching or burning. A typical sickly-sweet odor may
be obvious. Vaginal candida overgrows in response to local changes in microbial
flora and immune defense induced by oral contraceptive and antibiotic use. It is
common in diabetics with elevated sugar in their secretions, since yeast, like
Candida, thrive on glucose. Diabetics with elevated body sugar
concentrations do suffer candida overgrowth on the skin, especially in the
groin and perianal areas.
Antibiotic use damages the ecology of microorganisms in the bowel and on body
surfaces, permitting the overgrowth of Candida, and undesirable bacteria. It is
reasonable to take oral Nystatin in association with broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Tetracycline, an antibiotic which often promotes Candida growth, has been
marketed in a capsule which contained Nystatin. Avoidance of antibiotic usage is
an even better strategy, especially when antibiotics are often used to treat
conditions for which they offer no benefit (allergy, colds and other viral
Danger with Immune Deficiency Opportunistic growth of candida occurs in
people with defective immunity, and can be life-threatening Candida
albicans is the most common fungal pathogen among immune-compromised,
hospitalized patients, accounting for roughly 50-60% of all bloodstream fungal
isolates. Candida species are an important cause of infection in intensive care
units increased by 207% from 1979 to 2000. Risk factors include
chemotherapy, organ transplants, abdominal surgery, central vascular lines,
often used in ICU patients; the use of multiple or broad-spectrum antibiotics;
total parenteral nutrition (TPN). The incidence of candida infection increases
the longer a patient stays in hospital with peak incidence of infection around
See Hospital Infections.