What is Candidiasis?
Candidiasis is a fungal infection resulting from an organism called Candida albicans. Also referred to as thrust or yeast infections, the infection can be superficial, systematic as well as life-threatening. The most common forms of Candidiasis affect the vagina (vaginitis), mouth (oral thrust) or on the skin. These forms are referred to as superficial. Life-threatening forms of Candida infections are usually present in persons with diseases like cancer and AIDS or persons who have done transplants of any kind. These infections are referred to as candidemia.
Candidiasis does not seem to be uncommon in infants and appear in the forms of oral thrust and candida diaper dermatitis, more commonly known as diaper rash. Diaper rash is deep read with small “satellites” or extensions present around the edges. There are many things that a pharmacist can recommend or an antifungal cream can be prescribed by the baby’s physician.
Asthmatic children and adolescents on steroid inhalers also contract oral thrust occasionally. As a precaution, users of steroid inhalers should rinse the mouth with water after each use. Some antibiotics can also cause Candidiasis especially in children and adolescents.
White patches on the roof of the mouth, inner cheeks and the tongue are all physical signs of Candidiasis. In babies, this white film is often mistaken for milk however, a simple cotton swap can remove milk residues left behind. Thrust on the other hand cannot be removed in this manner. Candidiasis as an isolated condition is in no way harmful but because it is persistent and can happen very frequently, it tends to be annoying and a great source of discomfort.
It can also be transferred via breast milk so it is advised that breastfeeding be discontinued during an episode. In the event that transmission occurs, an antifungal oral solution like Nystatin can be prescribed by the baby’s doctor while the mother can use an antifungal cream to treat the area around the nipples. Breastfeeding while using a topical ointment or any medication is unwise.
The treatments for both mother and child are usually administered simultaneously over at least a seven day period to prohibit each from transferring the infection back to the other. Until the infection clears up, boil baby bottles, rubber nipples and pacifiers before use each day or soak overnight in a quart of water mixed with two tablespoons of vinegar as an alternative to daily boiling. Also, change nursing pads after each feed.
Candidiasis in the vagina can affect girls immediately after puberty and adult women. Vaginitis is indicated by vaginal itching or irritation and vaginal discharge often compared to cottage cheese because of the white clumps present. A diagnosis is fairly simple and can often be done at the doctor’s office. Treatment includes oral medication and vaginal preparations. Recurring yeast infections may be a sign of another condition hence the underlying cause of repeated bouts must be ascertained.
Recently, chronic fatigue, weight gain, depression, intestinal disturbances and headaches have been associated with Candida albicans however, this is still being debated.