Candida is a fungus that is capable of causing an infection called Candidiasis in human beings. Candida is always present in the human body, and it usually causes no problems to people with healthy immune systems. When someone’s immunity is compromised either by poor diet, H.I.V, hormonal imbalance and medication, the fungus may multiply rapidly and cause an infection. Candida is also capable of infecting different parts of the body, with the most common being the mouth (thrush) and the vaginal area (yeast infection). This fungal infection manifests itself in several ways, and we are going to list the top 5 signs of Candidiasis.
1. White oral patches
When Candida infects the oral cavity, it causes white swellings that occur on the tongue and mouth, sometimes spreading down the throat and gastrointestinal tract. This infection is called oral thrush. It is often caused by medications that alter the chemical balance in the mouth and digestive tract. This may lead to a rise in fungal growth, ultimately causing Candidiasis. These white patches are very painful and cause difficulty when chewing and swallowing.
2. Abnormal genital discharge and discomfort
Candida infections in the genital area are some of the most common. Such infections are called yeast infections, and occur mostly in women. It is caused by hormonal imbalance brought about by contraceptives and also during pregnancy. It causes a white vaginal discharge, often accompanied by constant itching and a burning sensation when passing urine. Although it can also occur in men, it is less common.
3. Digestive complications
The human digestive tract is populated by microorganisms called the digestive flora. These include several species of bacteria and fungi, including Candida. These microorganisms aid the body in the digestion of food and they have to remain in a constant balance. In the event that the population of Candida increases rapidly due to various factors, this balance of microorganisms is upset, leading to complications in digestion. This eventually causes bloating, diarrhea and nausea.
4. Sinus infections
Candidiasis often infects the nasal and throat cavities, leading to irritation and discomfort around the Sinus area. The common symptoms of a sinus infection include nasal congestion, persistent coughing and continuous mucous discharge through the nose. Although these symptoms are more widely associated with flu and common cold, one needs to be cautious, as they may also be symptoms of Candidiasis.
5. Mental fatigue
A Candida infection is bound to affect the digestive tract, compromising the body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients. When the brain is starved of crucial nutrients, it struggles to perform normal tasks. A person with Candidiasis will often experience poor concentration and memory loss. This can also be caused by by-products produced by the Candida fungus which enter the bloodstream and end up in the brain.
Candidiasis is a very common infection. It is nevertheless difficult to diagnose early since it shares symptoms with common bacterial infections. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, it would be wise to seek medical attention first before jumping into any conclusion. People with H.I.V and pregnant women are at a high risk of developing a Candida infection. Those taking antibiotics, steroids and birth control pills are also at risk, and should be vigilant for such signs.