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A Brief Overview of Different Types of Candida
It is estimated that as many as 7 in 10 people, young and old alike, currently suffer from a candida overgrowth. The candida fungus creates yeast infections that can evidence themselves in the human body in a number of ways. The 6 most common of the more than 150 species of the candida fungus are:
- Candida Albicans
- Candida Tropicalis
- Candida Glabrata
- Candida Parapsilosis
- Candida Krusei
- Candida Lusitaniae
Fortunately for you and I, there are only about 20 species of candida that can cause an infectious problem in human beings. These microorganisms generally are not problematic, and are naturally occurring at healthy levels in men, women and children. Health concerns develop when candida yeast grows to problematic levels.
Depending on the area of the body that is infected, how long a candida overgrowth has existed and other conditions, symptoms can be wide and varied. All candida species fall under the 3 following main types of fungal infections.
Oropharyngeal or Esophageal Candidiasis (Yeah, I know big words)
This is most commonly called thrush, or oral candida. You may experience white lesions or patches on your tongue, on the roof of your mouth, or on the inner sides of your mouth. In the early stages of this candida overgrowth, pain is not usually a problem. Pain while chewing can develop if the situation gets worse. Oral thrush is often found in babies.
Image By James Heilman, MD – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Fungi like candida love moist, warm places where they can thrive. Obviously, your mouth is the perfect breeding ground for candida overgrowth when your immune system isn’t doing its job properly. Esophageal candidiasis occurs when the condition is experienced in the esophagus, as opposed to the mouth.
Oral thrush seen in the mouth can lead to soreness of the infected area. A red discoloration might also appear. A white coating on the tongue or in the mouth can be scraped away, and will usually reveal a red, sometimes painful base underneath. A cracking and drying of the skin at the corners of the mouth, accompanied by a white or gray discharge in some cases, is also seen in some oral thrush patients.
When an overgrowth of Candida develops on the skin, an infection can occur. This condition is known as candidiasis of the skin, or cutaneous candidiasis.
Candidiasis of the skin often causes a red, itchy rash to form, most commonly in the folds of the skin. This rash may also spread to other areas of the body. This is another form that is commonly seen in babies and is often called ‘diaper rash.’ While the symptoms are often bothersome, they can usually be treated with improved hygiene and antifungal creams or powders.
Genital or Vulvovaginal Candida (VVC)
When most adults hear the term “yeast infection” they think of a vaginal problem that some women experience. In truth, this is the most common representation of a candida overgrowth common in men or women. Women are approximately 7 to 8 times more susceptible to yeast infections than men anywhere in the body, and this is the most common place where this fungal overgrowth will develop.
Extremely common, 3 in 4 adult women will experience a yeast infection, genital candidiasis, at some point in their lifetime. Men may also develop this condition, however. Sometimes genital candidiasis is difficult to diagnose, because the symptoms of this type of yeast infection are similar to other genital conditions.
A genital yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted disease, but is a sign that the underlying weak immune system could make its owner more susceptible to STDs and other infections.
Unlike oral and vaginal yeast infections, invasive candidiasis can pose serious threats to your health and well-being. Your blood, eyes, bones, heart, brain and other important parts of your body can be dramatically affected negatively by invasive candidiasis. As with all other species of candida, symptoms of this condition can mirror other health problems.
The fact that invasive candidiasis is usually found in men and women already sick from other medical conditions, misdiagnosis or lack of treatment often occurs. The most common symptoms are chills and fevers that don’t show any positive response to antibiotic treatments.
Your odds of developing this most serious type of candida overgrowth rise dramatically if you have been admitted to a hospital, or were exposed to a nursing home or some other similar health care setting. Invasive candidiasis is not contagious. However, it can be carried on your skin. That means that it could become a problem when a high-risk individual with a poor immune system comes into contact with someone who is carrying the invasive candidiasis fungus.