- Learn all about yeast infections and how to prevent them
- Funny gag gift for people prone to yeast infections
All About Candida (Candida Albicans)
FACTS: C. albicans is a diploid fungus that lives peaceably in over 80% of the population, a stolid member of the commensal community of microorganisms normally found on the skin and in the mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract.
However, from time to time, C. albicans develops territorial ambitions and transforms from a passive unicellular organism into an aggressive multi-cellular filamentous form. The result is candidiasis, commonly manifested as oral thrush, inflamed skin (such as observed in diaper rashes or compromised fingernails), or a genital yeast infection.
C. albicans infections can be provoked by such factors as a compromised immune system (whether from illness or stress), dietary changes, medical treatments or even alterations in hygienic routines that disrupt the normal balance of microorganisms.
These infections exhibit a distinctive whitish color. (Indeed, the name Candida albicans redundantly means “white white,” as candida derives from the Roman custom of “candidates” for political office wearing white to demonstrate their purity, and albicans “to be whitish.”)
Except in extreme cases, such as found in bloodstream-impacting systemic candidal disease, C. albicans infections are not dangerous and often self-resolve.
Still, a variety of treatments from home remedies and topical creams to prescriptive medication are available which can expedite the process and help restore your corporeal community to a state of tranquility and purity.
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NAME This microbe was given a name that describes its most characteristic visible symptom, white patches. Both the genus and species names are Latin root words that mean white.
ACTUAL SIZE About 5 micrometers, which is 2,000 times smaller than a single M&M!
WHERE IT LIVES Candida albicans is the most common species of Candida yeast and the most common cause of candidiasis, an overgrowth of yeast. It’s an opportunistic pathogen commonly found all over the environment, which means it only causes disease when the conditions are favorable. It can cause serious problems for individuals who have impaired immune systems, like the elderly or AIDS patients.
SYMPTOMS Candidiasis can occur all over the body—skin, throat, genitals, and even the blood stream. Candidiasis of the throat, or thrush, causes white patches on the tongue, pain and swelling in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Genital candidiasis, commonly known as a yeast infection, is very common in adult women. It causes itching, irritation, burning, redness, pain and swelling in the vagina. Candidemia, or candidiasis of the blood, occurs in people who have underlying severe illnesses. It results in fever and chills, and can spread to major organs like the heart and brain.
CURE Antifungal drugs
HISTORY Yeast infections were first described by Australian physician, David Grubby, during his tenure at Hospital St. Louis in France.
As treatment with antibiotics became more and more common in the 1950’s, yeast infections became more common.
FASCINATING FACTS Lactobacillus acidophilus has been shown to control the growth of Candida yeast. Perhaps a yogurt a day may keep the doctor away!