Causes of Candida
The first thing that should be kept in mind, is that the Candida species of fungi is already present within our gut, being a normal inhabitant of the body under stable conditions, which help in the digestion process of the meal we consume. It basically keeps us well and healthy in small proportions. The infection termed as Candidiasis occurs only when there is an overgrowth of this specific species of fungus known as Candida albicans. Recently after a large amount of research work the Candida causes have been found out, revealing that an unbalanced lifestyle and medicinal factors have been contributing in the overgrowth of Candida.
The causative agent of most common types of yeast infections that seem to occur in at least 75% of all women at some point in their life is the yeast belonging to the Candida genus, with Candida albicans being the most widespread type present.
The yeast belonging to the Candida genus is among the naturally occurring microorganisms found in the gut, mouth, and other membranes of the mucus. As well as the inside the vaginal canal and the surrounding areas of human females. Moreover, it is also freely occurring on the skin, and even in the natural surroundings of humans. Therefore, they have no dearth of opportunities in wrecking havoc on their human host at the slightest pretext. However, developing comprehensive knowledge regarding the causes of yeast infection can help people in staying vigilant against the threat posed by this apparently harmful microbial neighbor.
People wondering about what causes a yeast infection always need to keep one fact in mind that these infections occur because of a lot of factors coming into play at the same time, and all of them favoring the yeast fungus to grow and proliferate inside and on the skin surface of their human host. Therefore, it would be more prudent to look into the causes of yeast infection in different parts of the body to get a better understanding of the probable causes of each of these.
The most studied type of yeast infection is the one affecting the vaginal area, and it is only but logical to begin with that one.
Vaginal Yeast Infection Causes
Vaginal yeast infection occurs due to any imbalances occurring in the condition inside the vaginal walls, which favors a spur in the growth and proliferation of the yeasts from the Candida genus residing there. The pH level inside the vaginal canal is normally acidic due to the presence of the acid-producing Lactobacillus bacteria. This helps in keeping the fungus in check because they thrive only in alkaline conditions. However, anything that leads to the reversal of the pH condition will directly impact the fine balance between the population of Lactobacillus and Candida present inside the vaginal canal, these include:
One common cause for the loss of acidity is due to the use of antibiotics, which kills the normal microflora of the vagina along with the causative agents of any other disease’s. This leads to the fungal species taking over the space left vacant by the bacterial ones.
Pregnancy also leads to hormonal changes, which directly impact the pH level prevalent inside the vaginal canal. Therefore, women are quite susceptible to recurrent vaginal yeast infection during their pregnancy period if they do not take proper precautionary measures.
Uncontrolled diabetes can significantly lower the immune power of any individual and make them susceptible to recurrent bouts of yeast infection. This is even truer for women who have yeast organisms as part of the normal microflora inside their vaginal canal. Moreover, diseases such as AIDS that result in the weakening of the immune system, as well as, taking of immunosuppressive drugs after organ transplant makes women more susceptible to getting this infection.
The common question ‘How do you get a yeast infection’ among perfectly healthy women is quite common. As women can suffer from recurrent bouts of yeast infection despite being perfectly healthy because of hormonal imbalances during their menstrual cycle.
Other common causes of yeast infection in women include douching, poor eating habits that include lots of sugary foods, chronic stress, and lack of adequate sleep. Lack of sleep and chronic stress can lower the immune power considerably, and make any person much more susceptible to various opportunistic infections such as Candidiasis.
How can Antibiotics Contribute to Candida Overgrowth?
Consumption of antibiotics on a regular basis has been one of the most common reasons for the overgrowth of Candida. Antibiotics are mainly prescribed to kill the harmful bacteria that have gained entry into the body and are causing abnormalities, but as a side effect these antibiotics also kill the friendly or good bacteria residing in the gut along with the harmful bacteria. As the result our body is left defenceless to the harmful Candida species that gets an opportunity to multiply at a faster rate in the absence of its enemies, and it is one of the major Candida causes. It is important to note the fact that antibiotics should be consumed only at times when there is no other alternative for the disease we are suffering from and if taking antibiotics is mandatory, then healthy probiotic supplements should also be consumed during the treatment which will help to replenish the number of healthy bacteria.
A recent study was conducted and published in “The Lancet” by eminent doctors and research workers from the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The examination was conducted on twenty-four elderly patients belonging to an age of around 74 years. The aim was to understand if antibiotic-associated diarrhoea was linked to Candida overgrowth. Seven patients had intestinal overgrowth of Candida overgrowth, and in two patients with Candida overgrowth, the symptoms of diarrhoea stopped immediately after antibiotic use was stopped, less Candida were present in the faecal counts. This study just goes to show that prolonged use of antibiotics can bring about cases of Candida overgrowth along with symptoms of diarrhoea in some people. This is because prolonged use of antibiotics can kill off the good bacteria in our gut which control and prevent the growth of Candida infections from occurring. So, it’s advisable that you don’t prolong the use of antibiotics for a long time, and consult your doctor about any symptoms of Candida yeast infection or any signs of diarrhoea that you may have.
Although many cases of reoccurring/repeated Candida yeast infections are seen by patients stopping their prescribed antifungal medication early before finishing their full course. There are many different species of Candida that one can be affected by, and sometimes a yeast infection can develop resistance to a particular antifungal medication. In which case their doctor should be informed and a different medication prescribed. A case study observing this was conducted on samples collected from January 1998 to March 2001 from 429 affected patients with vulvovaginal Candidiasis to find the antifungal propensity of yeast responsible. Eighty-four patients were found with positive cultures and they were consequently reviewed. Almost 27 cultures suggested the advent of multiple species. The resilience towards flucytosine and fluconazole was found common. The effect of non-Candida albicans fungus was found to be more prominent in the eighty-four patients under direct scrutiny. This study just goes to show that there are various different species of Candida, each of which can result in different infections in the body, and the treatment for Candida albican and non-albicans infections can vary, as antifungals like flucytosine or fluconazole won’t treat all forms of Candida yeast infection in some people, so a doctor will need to prescribe different antifungal medication according to the particular type of yeast infection one may have.
Candida Causes Linked with Our Regular Diet
Now-a-days, the Candida fungi seem to like feasting on the foods that we consume regularly. This is because of the high sugar or carbohydrate in our diets causing it to multiply faster. If we consume anything sweet, or food directly containing sugar, or even any kind of food that will be converted to starch after eating it, then it can be harmful as the overgrowth of Candida will take place. Apart from sources of carbohydrates like white flour and processed foods, alcohol also contributes in Candida causes. Any kind of food that has a large quantity of sugar and carbohydrates actually causes immune deficiency helping the harmful Candida species to proliferate and cause an infection. The baked foods which are made by adding yeast should also be avoided during and after the infection.
Does Stress contribute in Candida overgrowth?
Yes, stress is one of the main Candida causes. In two different ways our body is affected during the time of stress. First of the Cortisol hormone that is released from our body during stress that contributes in depressing the immune system and the elevating the blood sugar level which provides a favourable condition for the yeast to grow. Secondly, the immune system which has been suppressed cannot stop the Candida from overgrowing and then these micro-organisms soon take over the small intestine and become one of the causes of Candida overgrowth. Moreover, adrenal glands which are important for the immune system also get weakened during stress.
Role of candida pathogenesis with antibiotics – The Lancet Journal – 1991 – By P.L. Danna, Carl Urban, J.J. Rahal
Antifungal Susceptibilities of Candida Species – Journal of Clinical Microbiology – 2005 – By Sandra S. Richter, Rudolph P. Galask, Shawn A. Messer
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