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Candidiasis

February 2017

woman eating a yoghurt

Most people especially women have heard of thrush, a common yeast problem that can be unpleasant and very uncomfortable. Less known is that thrush can affect men too.

This nasty infection is caused by the fungus candida albicans and the official name for thrush is candidiasis. White spots on the tongue can be oral candidiasis.

The name comes from candida, a type of yeast . Some species of this yeast are harmless while others can invade and cause a range of infections. In fact, along with thrush, there are actually more than 20 other species of candida and yeast infections that can occur around odd places like dentures, in skin folds and even in nailbeds.

For older people or people who have a weakened immune system because of cancer treatments, steroids or diseases such as AIDS, candida infections can also occur anywhere in the body including in the blood, brain, lungs, liver and spleen, so it is not something to be taken lightly.

As you can imagine, with an infection that can attack so many places in our body, the symptoms are very varied.  Skin infections that cause itching or pain, discharges, pain, sickness or fever can all be symptoms of specific candida infection getting a hold. Digestive problems can occur when candida takes a hold in your intestinal track.

Treatments for most candida infections can be undertaken at home with cream, tablets and other prescription medication. However, some of the more invidious candida infections can be very difficult to treat. Intestinal candida can thrive if your intestinal tract has become too alkaline, so changing your diet to help maintain the acidity levels in your tummy can help.

In fact, diet is thought to play a part for many of the types of candida infection. Wherever candida is present on your body, because it is a yeast based infection, it needs energy to build its cell walls and multiply. Candida gets its energy from the sugars and simple carbohydrates that we eat, so this is why diet that cuts down on the sugars especially can help in certainly some types of candida infection.

But it is all so complex and while more information is coming in all the time, candida can still be an infection that can be difficult to identify and even more difficult to eliminate.

It is worthwhile being aware of the risk of candidiasis as we grow older and talking to your doctor if you have concerns. There is quite a lot of information available now, including on the following sites:

The Candida Diet
Draxe

 

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