Before you continue reading to my post, please check this post as well, What are the signs and symptoms of yeast infection?
On some level, almost every person's body contains candida albicans. Candida albicans typically resides in a person's gut. Under normal circumstances, the organism is kept in check by good flora that prevents Candida overgrowth, which causes people to develop high levels of yeast and get fungal infections. However, certain pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics can disrupt the natural micro-biotic balance and give Candida an environment where it can flourish. This imbalance is very detrimental to a person's health.
Oral thrush is a common problem for people taking antibiotics or corticosteroids such as Prednisone. Other familiar Candida-related problems include jock itch, athlete's foot, ringworm, and vaginal yeast infections. In cases of oral thrush, the body may restore its own natural balance once the person is off the medications that caused the problem. The various skin conditions and vaginal yeast infections can be treated by over the counter (OTC) medications and/or naturopathic remedies.
For many people, these infections are a onetime occurrence and hardly, if ever, reappear. Some conditions, such as athlete's foot, may be more difficult to treat than others are, but once the fungus goes away it generally doesn't come back if it is treated properly. They key thing to remember is that these infections must be treated immediately and not left to go unfettered. Ignoring the problem and hoping that it will go away on its own can lead to chronic infections.
When Candida infections reoccur frequently, it is a sign that a persons' body chemistry is too far off balance for simple OTC medications to cure the condition. This is particularly true for people who have a continually weakened immune system from HIV or another disease and people who have to take antibiotics more often than normal. Once the level of Candida in the body is permanently elevated, a person will have to make serious lifestyle changes in order to relieve the problem and will likely have to watch his or her diet in order to keep Candida in check.
Reducing antibiotic use is a good way to help cut down chronic infections. However, changing dietary habits is one of the most important. People who suffer from chronic Candida infections need to reduce the amount of carbohydrates and sugars in their diet. They also need to cut back, or even better, eliminate drinking alcohol. Although, going to a very low to no carb diet such as the Atkin's Diet is counter effective because Candida can thrive in high Ketone levels as well. The best bet is to maintain a balanced diet with a healthy amount of carbohydrates.
The formal name for ongoing Candida infections is Candidiasis. Candidiasis is often the result of Candida infections that go untreated. What makes Candidiasis difficult to treat is that the symptoms are so myriad that they resemble other conditions. For example, the symptoms of Candidiasis can mimic those of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Since the standard treatment for UTIs is to prescribe antibiotics, which inflame Candida, patients not only receive the wrong treatment, but their Candida problem grows even more serious. Chronic depression, anxiety, fatigue and symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome are issues that arise from Candida that may easily be misdiagnosed. There is a plethora of symptoms associated with Candida.
There are many different strains of Candida and any of one of them can enter the bloodstream. This condition is often referred to as Invasive Candidiasis or Candidemia. Once it enters the circulatory system, the infection can spread to one more of the body's major organs and cause an organ failure unless the patient receives the correct diagnosis as well as powerful anti-fungal medications and treatment quickly. Because it takes quite a bit of time for Candida to grow, it can take days to get a proper diagnosis.
Overall, Candidemia is very rare and usually only happens in cases where the person falls into a high-risk category. Anyone with an immune disorder like HIV/AIDS or cancer patients who have a weakened immunity system after chemotherapy falls into that category. Intensive care patients and people with permanent venous catheter lines are also in the high-risk group. Even though it is rare, Candidemia is the 4th highest blood infection in the United States.
The most important thing a person with any type of fungal infection can do is seek treatment immediately. This is especially true for women who have frequent yeast infections. Infections that start out as a minor irritation can stay minor if the patient gets it treated quickly. If not, he or she could develop a chronic Candida infection that causes problems in every aspect of his or her daily life. Rather than succumb to reoccurring misery, be sure to speak with your doctor about any Candida-related problems you have.