Candidiasis or candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans . Candidiasis usually occurs in the skin, mouth, and genitals. If not treated, this infection can spread to other organs of the body, such as the intestines, kidneys, heart, and brain.

Candidiasis can be experienced by anyone. However, people with a weak immune system are more at risk of contracting this infection. Some diseases that can cause a decrease in immunity are diabetes , cancer, and HIV/AIDS .

Causes of Candidiasis

Under normal conditions, Candida fungi do live in the skin and some parts of the body, such as the mouth, throat, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina, without causing health problems. However, this fungus can harm the body if it grows out of control or enters the bloodstream, kidneys, heart, and brain.

The uncontrolled growth and development of the Candida fungus is most often caused by a weak immune system. Some factors that can weaken the body's resistance are:

  • Suffering from diabetes , HIV/AIDS, cancer , or undergoing chemotherapy
  • Using corticosteroid drugs for a long period of time
  • Using antibiotics for a long time
  • Suffering from obesity or malnutrition

Risk factors for candidiasis

Some of the following factors can increase the risk of candidiasis on the skin and genital area:

  • Warm and humid weather
  • The habit of rarely changing underwear
  • The habit of using clothes that do not absorb sweat
  • Poor personal hygiene

Symptoms of Candidiasis

Patients with candidiasis can experience different symptoms, depending on the location of the infection. Here are the symptoms of candidiasis based on the part of the body affected:

Oral candidiasis ( oral thrush )

  • White or yellow spots on the tongue, lips, gums, palate, and inner cheeks
  • Redness in the mouth and throat
  • Cracked skin at the corner of the mouth
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Wounds at the corners of the lips

Vulvovaginal candidiasis

  • Extreme itching in the vagina
  • Pain and burning when urinating
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Swelling in the vagina and the outside of the vagina (vulva)
  • Clotted discharge

Candidiasis of the skin ( cutaneous candidiasis )

  • An itchy rash in skin folds, such as the armpit, groin, between the fingers, or under the breast
  • Dry and cracked skin
  • The skin blisters and festers if a secondary infection occurs, which is an infection by other germs, including bacteria

When should you go to the doctor?

Check with your doctor if you experience the complaints and symptoms mentioned above. You should also check with a doctor if you have risk factors that can increase the occurrence of candidiasis, such as suffering from HIV, cancer, or diabetes.

If you have been diagnosed with candidiasis, check according to the schedule recommended by the doctor. In addition to monitoring therapy, this also aims to prevent complications.

Diagnosis of Candidiasis

The doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms, as well as his health history and the medications he is taking. The doctor will also perform a thorough physical examination, including a skin examination to see the rash that appears.

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will perform several supporting examinations, such as:

  • Potassium hydroxide (KOH) test, to see the type of fungus growing on the skin by examining a skin scraping sample
  • Blood test , to detect infection in the body by examining a blood sample
  • Fungal culture, to detect the type of fungus that infects the body by examining blood and body tissue samples
  • Vaginal fluid test, to detect fungal growth and the type of fungus that causes infection in the vagina, by examining a sample of vaginal fluid
  • Urine test , to detect the growth of Candida fungus by examining a urine sample

Candidiasis treatment

The purpose of candidiasis treatment is to overcome the infection and prevent complications. When diagnosed with candidiasis, the doctor will give antifungal medication , according to the location and severity of the infection. Doctors can give antifungal medicine in the form of tablets, lotions, or creams.

Antifungal drugs that can be used include:

  • Amphotericin B
  • Butoconazole
  • Caspofungin
  • Clotrimazole
  • Fluconazole
  • Miconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Nystatin
  • Tioconale
  • Voriconazole
  • Micafungin

Complications of Candidiasis

Candidiasis on the skin will usually cause discomfort and lack of self-confidence so that it can cause stress. If the infection spreads to the bloodstream and other body organs, there can be complications in the form of sepsis and disorders of the infected organs.

In certain cases, the spread of Candida fungus to the covering membrane of the brain (meninges) will cause meningitis .

Prevention of Candidiasis

Candidiasis can be prevented by maintaining personal hygiene and immunity. Some of the ways that can be done are:

  • Keep your mouth and teeth clean, by brushing your teeth regularly and checking with the dentist at least once every 6 months.
  • Stop smoking .
  • Use clothes that are comfortable, not tight, and absorb sweat.
  • Change clothes, underwear, and socks, regularly.
  • Change pads regularly during menstruation.
  • Consume balanced nutritious food and probiotics .
  • Clean the vaginal area with running water, and avoid using panty liners and feminine cleansing soaps without a doctor's recommendation.
  • Do a routine checkup with a doctor if you suffer from a disease that can weaken the body's immunity, such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV/AIDS .
  • Do routine checks if you undergo chemotherapy or use corticosteroid drugs for a long time.
  • Do not use corticosteroids and antibiotics outside of the doctor's recommendation.
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