MoonDragon's Womens Health Information
(Vaginal Yeast Infection; Vaginitis, Monilial)
Thrush, Systemic Candidiasis, Candida Septicemia
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Candida (Candidiasis) Description Pregnancy & Candida: How To Cope Frequent Signs & Symptoms Types of Candidiasis Causes Risk Factors Preventive Measures Expected Outcome Potential Complications Candida Conventional Medical Management (Page 2) Candida Holistic, Herbal & Nutritional Management (Page 3) Recommended Products
Candida Albicans, a single-celled fungus, is always present in the genital and intestinal tracts. If it is present in disproportionate quantities, however, it can cause infection. Diaper rash, vaginitis, and thrush are some of the possible manifestations of candida infection.
Infection or inflammation of the vagina caused by a parasitic yeast-like fungus (usually Candida Albicans). It is the second most common vaginitis in the U.S. (bacterial vaginitis is the most common). Because candida is part of the body's normal flora, almost every woman has a yeast infection at some time in her life. Normally this fungus inhabits the intestines, genital tract, mouth, esophagus, and throat and lives in healthy balance with other bacteria and yeasts in the body; however, certain conditions can cause it to multiply, weakening the immune system and causing an infection known as candidiasis. The fungus can travel through the bloodstream to many parts of the body.
Yeast infections are common during pregnancy, when the acidity and sugar content of vaginal secretions are altered. Oral contraceptives, which have a similar effect in the body, also can lead to the development of yeast infections. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) can create a more favorable environment for fungal growth by decreasing normal vaginal secretions. Because fungi such as C. albicans thrive in the presence of sugar, women with diabetes are more susceptible to yeast infections. The use of antibiotics often lead to yeast infections because antibiotics not only kill infectious bacteria, but also destroy the "good" bacteria in the body that normally keep the growth of organisms such as candida in check. Yeast infections can also be sexually transmitted. This may be why some women suffer from chronic and/or recurrent yeast infections. Some women are especially vulnerable to yeast infections following their menstrual periods, due to changes in the vaginal environment from menstrual flow and cyclic hormonal changes. Other factors that can contribute to vaginal yeast infections include allergies, nutritional deficiencies, improper hygiene, and the consumption of refined carbohydrates.
PREGNANCY & CANDIDA: HOW TO COPE
By Dr. Eric Bakker, ND
The joys of being pregnant are often sidelined by morning sickness, heartburn and sciatica, just to name a few common pregnancy-related ailments. But many pregnant women deal with yet another not-so-fun problem during pregnancy: the dreaded vaginal yeast infection. Most yeast infections are caused by Candida albicans, a microscopic yeast that normally thrives in the intestinal tract and mucous membranes of healthy patients. Candida normally co-exists with the beneficial bacteria also in our bodies, and it only becomes problematic when the Candida organism outnumbers the good bacteria and gets out of control.
WHAT CAUSES CANDIDA TO FLOURISH?
Candida can flare after taking a dose of broad-spectrum antibiotics that kill off the bad germs right along with the protective bacteria. When the good beneficial are wiped out, the Candida win the battle and take over. A Candida yeast infection can also occur after a course of prednisone or if a patient's immune system is suppressed through medication or due to various illnesses. But, surprisingly, pregnancy is another cause of those all-too-frequent nasty yeast infections. Just what every expectant mom wants!
WHAT HAPPENS IN PREGNANCY?
When a woman is pregnant, increased levels of estrogen cause her vagina to produce a type of glucose known as glycogen. Glycogen causes the vagina to become less acidic and allows the Candida population to surge. Sometimes pregnancy even causes a slight elevation of blood sugars, and many women succumb to cravings for sugary treats and simple carbohydrates. The excess sugar intake can feed the yeast and Candida can really multiply in leaps and bounds!
SYMPTOMS OF CANDIDA YEAST INFECTION
Increased discharge during pregnancy is normal, but the normal discharge is usually thin and non-irritating. Candida changes the quality and quantity of the discharge, and its telltale signs are usually easily recognized. Symptoms of a Candida yeast infection include a red, irritated vulva, along with a white cheesy discharge that can cause a mild discomfort or even severe burning and itching.
Pain during intercourse may occur with a Candida infection. Also, a woman may experience burning of the vulva after urination. This burning differs from a urinary tract infection where the burning occurs in the urethra during urination. In a yeast infection, the already irritated vulva is supersensitive and may not tolerate the sting of urine.
NATURAL METHODS TO TREAT CANDIDA
During pregnancy, a woman will want to keep her methods of attacking Candida as simple and natural as possible to protect her growing baby from harsh and possibly unsafe medications. Fortunately, Candida infections in pregnancy can be controlled and prevented with some good natural methods, such as modifications in diet and lifestyle.
Diet to Eliminate Candida
Focus on a nutritious, wholesome diet and introduce supplementation with probiotics. Eating yogurt with live acidophilus is beneficial. The yogurt will introduce much-needed bacteria into the digestive tract and it will help to acidify the vaginal flora. Cut down on simple carbohydrates and avoid eating processed foods. Limit the intake of sugar and cut back on products containing yeast, such as breads and pretzels.
Yogurt can also be used as a natural topical remedy for Candida symptoms when applied directly into the vagina. Cool plain yogurt can offer a welcome reprieve from the burning and irritation. It can be applied externally at bedtime and placed into the vagina with a clean finger or with the tip of a tampon applicator. A probiotic capsule can also be inserted into the vagina where it will come in direct contact with the Candida.
Wear loose fitting clothing since anything tight creates an environment of moisture and sweating - a perfect setting for Candida to flourish. Candida loves an environment with little air circulating. Cotton underwear is preferable to wick moisture away from your skin. A gentle laundry detergent is preferable to anything harsh that leaves a residue on the fabric. Avoid using harsh soaps or scented body washes and bubble baths. Soak in plain warm water or a tub that has some salt sprinkled in it.
When natural methods don't help to control the symptoms, over-the-counter or even prescribed vaginal creams can help to put out the fire. Check with your ob-gyn or healthcare provider about any medications, including over-the-counter ones, before taking anything during pregnancy.
COPING WITH CANDIDA
Coping with pregnancy-related Candida infections may be challenging, but the good news is that they are not typically harmful to the growing fetus. Since the baby may contract the yeast infection during childbirth - and develop an oral yeast infection known as thrush - it's important to keep the yeast infections at bay as much as possible, especially as the due date gets closer. Check with your physician when your symptoms do not abate or when the tried and true methods of controlling Candida don't seem to take it away.
About the Author: Dr. Eric Bakker, ND has been studying the Candida yeast organism for the past 20 years. Please feel free to visit him on the Ask Dr. Eric Bakker CureZone forum to ask your own questions about Candida yeast.
Article submitted to MoonDragon.org on May 13, 2013. Thank You Dr. Bakker for your article.
FREQUENT SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Because candidiasis can affect various parts of the body (usually places that are warm, moist, less exposed to sunlight, often in creases and folds, internally and externally)- the most common being the mouth, ears, nose, toenails, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina - it can be characterized by many symptoms. Severity of the following symptoms varies among women (as well as men, children, and babies) and from time to time in the same woman.
This signs and symptoms include:
- Constipation, diarrhea, colitis, abdominal pain, persistent heart burn.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Kidney & bladder infections.
- Hypothyroidism, adrenal problems, diabetes, PMS.
- Night sweats.
- Bad breath.
- Canker sores.
- Sore throat.
- Congestion, clogged sinuses.
- Burning tongue, white spots on the tongue and in the mouth.
- Nagging cough.
- Severe itching of skin or other infected tissues.
- Rectal itching.
- Impotence, prostatitis (males).
- Memory loss, mood swings, depression, hyperactivity.
- Joint pain, muscle pain, arthritis, numbness in the face or extremities, tingling sensations.
- Swollen, red, tender, itching vaginal lips (labia) and surrounding tissue (vaginitis).
- White, "curd-like" vaginal discharge (resembles lumps of cottage cheese).
- Vaginal odor may be unpleasant, but not foul.
- Burning pain with urination.
- Change in vaginal color from pink to red.
- Pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia).
- Symptoms worsen in damp and/or moldy places, and after consumption of foods containing sugar and/or yeast.
- Because of its many and varied symptoms, this disorder is often misdiagnosed.
TYPES OF CANDIDIASIS
Vaginitis: When candida infects the vagina, it results in vaginitis characterized by a large amount of white, cheesy discharge and intense itching and burning.
Thrush: When the fungus infects the oral cavity (the mouth), it is called thrush. White sores may form on the tongue, gums, and inside the cheeks. In a baby, the white spots of oral thrush can spread to the mother's nipples by breastfeeding, and can lead to a situation in which mother and infant continually reinfect each other. Thrush may also infect a baby's buttocks, appearing as a diaper rash.
Athlete's Foot or Jock Itch: Candida infection may also take the form of athlete's foot or jock itch.
Systemic Candidiasis: This is an overgrowth of candida everywhere, throughout the body.
Candida Septicemia: A severe case of candida in which it travels through the bloodstream to invade every organ system of the body, causing a type of blood poisoning called candida septicemia. This condition almost always occurs in persons with serious underlying illnesses, such as advanced cancer or AIDS.
The fungus Candida lives in small numbers in a healthy vagina, rectum and mouth. When the vagina's hormone and pH balance is disturbed, the organisms multiply and cause infections. The vaginitis tends to appear before menstrual periods and improves as soon as the period begins.
Candidiasis may affect both men and women; however, it is seldom transmitted sexually. It is most common in babies (an infected mother may pass the fungal infection to her newborn) and in persons with compromised immune systems, and as it proliferates the fungus releases toxins that weaken the immune system further. Virtually all people with AIDS have some type of fungal infection. Anyone who has been on long-term antibiotic therapy, or has taken antibiotics often, probably has an over-growth of candida somewhere in his or her body. Antibiotics weaken the immune system and also destroy the "friendly" bacteria that normally keep candida under control. As it proliferates, the fungus releases toxins that weaken the immune system further. Other factors that increase the chances of contracting a yeast infection include pregnancy and the use of corticosteroid drugs.
Very often, allergies to foods are present in people with candida infections. Oral thrush, athlete's foot, ringworm, jock itch, fingernail or toenail fungus, and even diaper rash can develop as a result of the combination of food allergies and C. albicans. The symptoms of a food allergy or environmental sensitivity can also mimic those of candidiasis. To further complicate matters, some people with candidiasis go on to develop environmental sensitivities as well. Many cannot tolerate contact with rubber, petroleum products, tobacco, exhaust fumes, and chemical odors.
CANDIDA INFECTIONS, IMMUNE FUNCTION & SUGAR
Yeast, including candida, feed on sugar. If the body's pH balance is upset for any reason, the friendly bacteria (such as lactobacilli) that normally metabolize sugars cannot thrive and do their job properly, and there is a risk of Candida albicans flourishing in this sugar-rich environment.
Some women find they suffer more yeast infections when using oral contraceptives or during pregnancy. This is most probably due to an increase in the amount of sugar (glycogen) in the vagina induced by changing hormone levels. Antibiotics, which kill beneficial bacteria along with the harmful ones, are another common cause of yeast infections.
Anything that depresses immune function, including HIV and AIDS, also often leads to these types of infections. In fact, it is said that infections such as candidiasis rarely occur in people with robust immune systems who eat a healthy diet that is low in sugar and yeast. The debate continues as to whether candidiasis exists in the body as the result, or the cause, of some immunologic diseases.
Pregnancy. Diabetes mellitus. Infrequent bathing or unsanitary living conditions. Antibiotic treatment. Oral contraceptives. Hot weather and/or non-ventilating clothing, which increase moisture, warmth and darkness, fostering fungal growth. Candidiasis may be related to hypoglycemia. Immunosuppression from drugs or disease.
Keep the genital area clean. Use plain, unscented soap. Take showers rather than baths. Wear cotton underpants or pantyhose with cotton crotch. Do not sit around in wet clothing, especially a wet bathing suit. Avoid douches, vaginal deodorants, bubble baths and colored or perfumed toilet paper. Limit your intake of sweets and alcohol. Avoid yeast containing products, such as breads and Brewer's yeast supplements. After urination or bowel movements, cleanse by wiping or washing from front to back (vagina to anus). Lose weight if obese. If you have diabetes, adhere strictly to your treatment program. Avoid use of antibiotics unless prescribed by your midwife or health care provider.
Usually curable 1 to 2 weeks of treatment (sometimes less).
Secondary bacterial infections of the vagina and other pelvic organs. In some cases, the vaginitis becomes chronic.
CANDIDA: PAGE 1 - DESCRIPTION OVERVIEW
Candidiasis Description Recommendations Pregnancy & Candida: How To Cope Frequent Signs & Symptoms Types of Candidiasis Causes Risk Factors Preventive Measures Expected Outcome Potential Complications Recommended Products
CANDIDA: PAGE 2 - CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL MANAGEMENT
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CANDIDA: PAGE 3 - HOLISTIC, HERBAL & NUTRITIONAL MANAGEMENT
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