What is Candidemia?
Candidemia is a fungal infection caused by a yeast called Candida normally lives on the skin and inside the body. This infection typically lives in the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina without causing problems. This fungus can cause infections if it grows out of control. If it enters deep into the body, it can cause infections in the bloodstream or internal organs like the brain, heart, or kidney.
What Causes Candidiasis?
It is caused by a normally harmless infection with the yeast fungus of the genus Candida, usually Candida albicans. Yeast is supposed to be present in healthy people. However, the fungus may multiply in the mouth or the bowels when a patient receives chemotherapy or broad-spectrum antibiotics, which suppress the bacterial flora which is normally present in the body. Other health conditions, such as pregnancy or diabetes mellitus, may also make the patient prone to a Candida infection.
Types and Symptoms of Candidiasis
The symptoms of this condition depend on its severity and the affected part of the body.
1. Thrush. It is when the yeast spreads in the mouth and throat. This type is common in newborns, the elderly, and people with the compromised immune system. Symptoms include:
- White or yellow patches on the tongue, lips, gums, the roof of the mouth, and inner cheeks
- Redness or soreness in the mouth and throat
- Cracking at the corners of the mouth
- Pain when swallowing if the infection affects the throat
2. Genital Yeast Infection. This happens when too much yeast grows in the vagina. A yeast infection typically happens when the balance in the vagina changes caused by diabetes, pregnancy, and other factors. Symptoms are:
- Extreme itchiness in the vagina
- Redness and swelling of the vagina and vulva
- Pain and burning when you pee
- Discomfort during sex
- A thick, white discharge from the vagina
3. Diaper Rash From Yeast Infection. Though diaper rashes are usually caused by leaving a wet diaper on too long, they can infect the irritated skin of the baby. If their bottom is red and sensitive, and if there’s a raised red border around the sores, inform the pediatrician right away.
4. Invasive Candidiasis. Suppose candida yeast enters the bloodstream and can travel to the heart, eyes, blood, brain, and bones. This can cause a serious, life-threatening infection. The symptoms include fever and chills.
What are the Risk Factors of Candidemia?
- Antibiotic use. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, which kill a range of bacteria, also kill healthy bacteria in your vagina, leading to the overgrowth of yeast.
- Increased estrogen levels. Yeast infections are more common in women with higher estrogen levels, such as pregnant women or women taking high-dose estrogen birth control pills.
- Diabetes. Women with poorly controlled blood sugar are at greater risk of yeast infections.
- Weak immune system. Women with lowered immunity are more likely to get yeast infections. It typically affects women who have HIV.
Treatment for Candidemia
If you have vaginal candidiasis, you will likely use antifungal medicine to treat it. Often, the treatment is an antifungal medicine applied inside the vagina or a medication taken by mouth. Oral medication is not permissible if you are pregnant. To manage more-severe symptoms, you might take two single doses three days apart.
Medication Used for Candidemia
Fluconazole. It is an antifungal drug. It is used to cure a variety of fungi and yeast infections. It works by destroying the fungal cell membrane, thereby slowing down the growth of the fungi.
Lifestyle and Home Treatment for Candidemia
Take your antifungal medications every day, especially if it is prescribed with a specific period of treatment. There are many medications available, from oral medications to topical creams, ointments, and suppositories for vaginal yeast infections.
You can also take probiotics to strengthen your immune system. Probiotics can help support the natural bacteria population in and on your body, which keeps yeast infections from occurring or getting worse.