What Is Candidiasis?
Candidiasis is an infection produced by overgrowth of a type of yeast called Candida. Usually, several types of bacteria and fungi live and grow on the human skin, mouth, and belly, and are not harmful. However, these fungi are potentially hazardous, which grow and start multiplying uncontrollably and cause infections on skin and membranes. It usually results in red, itchy rashes commonly in the folds of the skin including armpits, groin, under the breasts and between the fingers. Based on the location of infection, candidiasis is classified as:
- Thrush: The infection due to candida yeast in the mouth and throat is called thrush or oropharyngeal candidiasis. People with a weak immune system, newborns and Geriatrics are prone to this. Also, adults who are under chemotherapy, wear dentures or have diabetes are more susceptible to the infection.
- Genital Candidiasis: This is very common in women and occurs when the pH balance changes in the vagina. This change in pH balance can be accounted to pregnancy, diabetes, use of lubricants or some medicines. Rarely, in men, the infection occurs and forms itchy rashes on the penis.
- Invasive Candidiasis: Candida yeast might invade the heart, blood, eyes, bones, and brain by entering the bloodstream through infected medical equipment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Candidiasis?
The most common symptoms of candidiasis might include:
- Redness of skin.
- Intense itching.
- Blisters and pustules.
- Sores due to infection.
- These symptoms might resemble those of ringworm, hives, eczema, psoriasis, herpes or dermatitis and thus proper identification and treatment are essential.
What Are The Causes Of Candidiasis?
The infection due to candida yeast occurs on an uncontrollable growth of the yeast. Some of the most cited causes of candidiasis include:
- Poor hygiene.
- Warm weather.
- Tight clothing.
- Infrequent undergarment changes.
- Excess use of wide-spectrum antibiotics.
- Weakening of the immune system due to the use of corticosteroids.
- Improper drying of wet skin.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Candidiasis?
Some of the important tips to combat candidiasis include:
- Change undergarments regularly.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
- Clean the affected areas with gentle soap or body-cleansers.
- Keep track of blood sugar levels as high levels of glucose in blood favors the growth of the yeast.
- Change diapers in babies regularly as it provides an ideal environment for the candida yeast to grow.
- Change the damp swimsuits or gym clothes quickly.
- Change your socks on regular basis.
- Take showers instead of baths in the case of genital candidiasis to avoid further infection.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Candidiasis?
Here are some of the points to be avoided for the effective management of candidiasis:
- Avoid intimate contact with the infected person as the disease might be contagious for people possessing weak immune system.
- Avoid wearing tight undergarments.
- Avoid sex until the symptoms of infection are gone as there are chances of transmission of infection.
- Avoid scented soaps or cleansers to clean the affected areas, especially the genitals.
- Avoid douching unless prescribed by the physician.
- Avoid dyed toilet papers as it might trigger the infection.
- Avoid excess use of oral contraceptives as these have a risk of causing pH imbalance in the body.
What Are The Best Foods For Candidiasis?
To combat candida yeast, it is important to starve the yeast, overpower it and build up good bacteria. Popularly known as the ‘Candida Diet’, the following are the best foods recommended in the management of candidiasis:
- Low sugar fruits: These include avocado, lemon, olives, and lime which are very nutritious, yet have the low level of natural sugars, thus inhibiting the growth of the yeast.
- Non-glutinous grains: Buckwheat, quinoa, and millet are rich sources of fiber. These help in enhancing the process of digestion and help in removing the candida toxins out of the body. These are excellent substitutes for sugar containing grains like wheat, rice, or rye.
- Probiotics: Probiotics including yogurt and kefir are best in the management of candidiasis as they increase the useful microbial amount to fight the infection.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil is a powerful antifungal agent and stimulates the body’s immune system to act on candida infection.
- Onions: As a potent antifungal and anti-bacterial agent, onions are also useful in flushing out excess body fluids from the body.
- Seaweed: Being a rich source of iodine, it is effective in treating the hypothyroidism state of the candida patients.
- Pumpkin seeds: These are effective antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic agents and help in maintaining proper hormonal levels in the body.
- Coconut: Either in the form of oil, shredded coconut or coconut milk, coconut helps in the effective treatment of the infection as a potent candida killer.
- Clove: It contains a compound called eugenol, which is a potent anti-fungal agent topically and internally.
- Garlic: It is an effective anti-fungal agent and also increases the useful bacteria in the gut. It also stimulates the detoxification process in the body.
- Ginger and Turmeric: These are known to be possessing antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and thus help in reducing the infection.
- Artificial sweeteners: Xylitol, erythritol or stevia have very less effect on blood sugar levels and are the great options over sugar.
What Are The Worst Foods For Candidiasis?
These are some of the foods that are to be avoided to combat candidiasis:
- Sugar: The candida yeast feeds on sugar and multiplies in the body. Thus, it is important to cut-off all the obvious and hidden sources of high sugar content.
- Wine and Beer: Along with being fermented products, these contain sugar and gluten which might worsen the infection. These also suppress the immune system to cause further infection.
- Dried fruits: With the loss of the water, the sugar content is more concentrated in dried fruits and is better to avoid them.
- Legumes: These are starchy foods upon which the yeast feed and the compound called agglutinin in legumes worsens inflammation.
- Mushrooms: These are fungi and can have an adverse reaction with candida yeast to result in an inflammation. These might also interfere in the pursuit of treatment of candidiasis.
- Glutinous grains: Barley, rye, and wheat contain high amounts of gluten which is a triggering factor for infection.
What Are The Medicines For Candidiasis?
What Are The Tips To Manage Candidiasis?
- Maintaining proper hygiene with regular shower is important to keep away the infection.
- Clean and comfortable clothes are important in the management of candidiasis, preferably of cotton or other breathable materials.
- Drinking cold water helps in having a cooler environment in the body.