Candida albicans is among the 19 different species of the Candida fungus that carries the chance of causing infection in humans, and this happens to be a major cause of infection particularly in women. Therefore, it is always prudent to possess the basic know-how regarding the causes of Candida yeast overgrowth to be able to stay ever vigilant against its likely occurrences. The fact that Candida forms a part of the natural microflora in humans, and is present in large enough numbers on certain body parts such as the skin and the female genital tract makes it possible for them to cause infections due to sudden spurts in their growth rate. However, the fact remains that Candida overgrowth does not occur out of the blue, and certain underlining causes are always present to promote the excessive growth of this opportunistic pathogen that leads to infections with debilitating consequences.
Candida Overgrowth – What Is It?
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Candida fungus is present in abundant numbers throughout the body of even the normal individuals, and their numbers are more conspicuous in certain specific body parts such as the skin and the vaginal tract. However, they possess the capability of being present in large numbers especially in the Gastrointestinal tract if the gut pH level becomes exceedingly alkaline, and the beneficial bacteria have severely declined because of any reason. This is because the Candida fungus requires an alkaline pH, apart from a warm and moist environment to be able to grow and multiply in a rapid manner. In fact, it is the major reason behind the limitation in the growth of the Candida yeast on the skin because of the limited amount of moisture present on the skin surface. This, in combination with the presence of other microbes such as bacteria, ensures that there are no instances of Candida overgrowth fungus on the skin surface.
The Candida albicans is also present in conspicuous numbers in the vaginal tract of a significant number of women. In fact, according to various studies, a majority of the women from across the world complain of an occurrence of vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lifetime. The presence of lactic acid producing bacteria inside the vaginal canal helps in keeping the pH level there slightly acidic which is essential for depriving the Candida yeast of the ideal growth conditions. Thus, the Candida overgrowth does not find an opportunity to take so long as this fine balance between the various microbes forming the microflora of the genital tract remains in place. However, this fine balance can go awry because of a number of different reasons, and this in turn opens the gates for the Candida fungus to go on a growth spurt and cause considerable distress for the host. The above information should give you an insight to ‘What is Candida Overgrowth’ and what are the symptoms of Candida Overgrowth.
Candida Overgrowth – What Causes It?
Candida yeast overgrowth can occur in practically any part of the body, and this means that they are bound to occur because of a number of diverse and different reasons. However, one fact remains constant irrespective of the body part affected by the Candida fungus, and it is that this microbe can thrive only in warm and moist conditions with alkaline pH level. Therefore, any body part that provides these conditions is susceptible to a bout of overgrowth of this Candida fungus.
It would be most apt to discuss the causes of yeast overgrowth in the genital tract first because of its widespread prevalence and it relevance among women of all age and race. As discussed earlier on, the genital tract in human females consists of a number of different microbes with each of them occupying their specific niche. Moreover, any sudden changes in the composition and balance between these microbes is likely to result in marked reduction in the number of certain species, and other ones going for a growth spurt at their expense. Even though the concept of one microbe growing at the expense of another seem innocuous enough, the fact is many of microbes forming part of the natural microflora in the human body are actually opportunistic pathogens that can cause an infection if provided with the opportunity. Candida falls under this category, and a bout of Candida overgrowth results in an infection with a number of irritating and painful symptoms, and serious consequences if not treated properly.
Women may experience a bout of Candida infection after undergoing a course of antibiotics because it can inadvertently kill of the beneficial bacteria present in the genital tract along with any other disease causing ones. Moreover, many women prefer to opt for douching and rubbing on a frequent basis to keep their vagina clean, especially after having sexual intercourse, which can cause the vagina to become dry and make it more susceptible to yeast infection. In addition to that, women who have become pregnant might turn out to be much more susceptible to overgrowth of Candida albicans because of changes in their hormone levels, which can cause a decline in the vaginal acidity.
Candida yeast infections can also occur in the genital area of men even though it is must less frequent than that in case of women. However, men are susceptible to a bout of genital yeast infection as well, and this can occur because of a number reasons. The most common cause behind penile yeast infection is an act of unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner with the resultant transfer of the pathogen from the genital tract of the woman concerned. However, genital yeast infection can also occur in men who are suffering from lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, or any other health condition that can compromise with their immune capabilities. Moreover, wearing wet swimwear for long periods can also cause Candida yeast overgrowth in the genital region, especially in uncircumcised men because the warm and moist environment under their foreskin provide the ideal growth conditions for the yeast.
Candida overgrowth can also occur in the oral cavity and the throat region, with the term ‘Oral Thrush’ being popularly used to describe this condition. This condition manifests with the presence of a milky white film on the tongue, as well as, a number of other symptoms, and is common in people with seriously compromised immune functions. Thus, people suffering from AIDS, or have seriously compromised immune function because of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes or have undergone organ transplants are at a particularly high risk of contacting this infection.
We hope that the above information has given you an overview to: ‘What Causes Candida Overgrowth’ in the human body.
Candida Overgrowth Facts:
Candida overgrowth can cause considerable discomfort and may even turn fatal in case it enters the blood stream. This happens in case of people with severely compromised immune system with the fatality rate being extremely high at over 50% if this fungus gains entry into the blood stream. Therefore, it always pays to be vigilant regarding what causes yeast overgrowth and the measures that are available close at hand to prevent it from happening. Maintaining healthy sanitary standards of the body is among the many preventive measures that one can opt for in order to stop this opportunistic pathogen from turning harmful.
Diet plays a major part in controlling the overgrowth of this fungus, and many of the constituents of the daily diet are in fact huge promoters of its uncontrolled growth. Any diet overloaded with carbohydrates, sugars, and yeast is likely to promote the overgrowth of Candida because this fungus simply thrives in sugar, which constitutes its most crucial growth factor among nutrients. Therefore, it is always advisable to opt for a balanced diet and cut down on the consumption of carbohydrates and sugar that can cause an overgrowth of this pesky fungus.
Lack of adequate rest, as well as, minimum physical exercise can also lead to a weakened immune system, which can result in the rapid growth spurt of the Candida fungus and lead to an infection. Therefore, it is always prudent to opt for adequate amount of exercise and proper rest to be able to keep this opportunistic pathogen at bay.
Candida albicans overgrowth can occur because of a number of causes, and preventing such overgrowth of Candida in any particular organ depends upon taking remedial measures for the particular causative factor. The fact that Candida is part of the natural microflora of the human body means that they are capable of causing an infection whenever the conditions become suited to their taste. Therefore, the only way out is to become more aware regarding the causes of Candida yeast overgrowth, and staying ever-vigilant to keep them from happening.
According to a 2004 publication by ‘Elsevier’, it is estimated that the Candida species dates back from 3 to 16 million years from now, in various Candida Albican genotypes with a very broad geographical association. This suggests that Candida has been a natural part of the human society from most of known history. However, as the usual modern day diet consist of far more sugars and yeasts foods that the Candida fungus really thrives in, it’s not no wonder that Candida overgrowth has become a greater problem in recent times.
Another study published by ‘Elsevier’ revealed that the growth of Candida in the gastrointestinal tract was directly associated with symptoms of diarrhœa, and stomach cramps in 6 patients. The stool samples were analysed under a microscope, and had been confirmed to contain an overgrowth of Candida with them. Another publication by BMJ dated 2000, revealed that a high number of yeast species were identified within the stools of 43 children with diarrhoea, and 26 without diarrhoea. The association of these yeast overgrowth cells were mainly due to recent antibiotic use in the children.
The above research clearly shows that Candida Overgrowth within the body can have symptoms of diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Moreover, the recent use of antibiotics can increase the prevalence of Candida yeast overgrowing within the gastrointestinal tract, so if you have any such symptom, then opting for a stool test should be the first step to diagnosing, and then treating the problem. To learn more about the different symptoms of Candida Overgrowth, Click Here!
A study published in the ‘The Lancet’ looked at 24 men aged in their seventies regarding Candida in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. 7 tested positive for Candida overgrowth. Yet Candida was also seen in patient without diarrhoea symptoms. 5 patients who had Candida and diarrhoea responded well to oral nystatin treatment. In some cases, diarrhoea continued as long as they took antibiotics.
Another study published in 2005 in the ‘Journal of Clinical Microbiology’ studied 429 patients with suspected vulvovaginal candidiasis, 593 yeast isolates were searched including Candida albicans. The four imidazole medications (clotrimazole, econazole, miconazole, and ketoconazole) were active in fighting most of the Candida albican species. However recurrent Candida overgrowth’s were seen to be caused by non-albicans species of Candida.
While the first study confirms that Candida does have an influential role in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, the frequency of diarrhoea continued throughout antibiotic use. So the growth of Candida was at its most or in continued growth during the antibiotic use.
The second study found a maximum of Candida albicans rather than the other species in vulvovaginal candidiasis. However, imidazole medications can be quite useful to fight outbreaks of Candida Overgrowth, but patients with non-albican Candida species may sometimes have recurrent outbreaks, in which case additional antifungal medication may be administered. Overall, it’s recommended to start an anti-Candida diet to first stop the Candida yeast from growing, this will then avoid future flare-ups of an infection occurring. Also prolonged use of antibiotics should only be carried out with your doctor’s advice, and any signs of diarrhoea during antibiotic should be consulted with your doctor aswell.
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Candida albicans ancient origin – A Elsevier Study
Diarrhoea Caused By Candida – A Elsevier Study
Faecal Candida and diarrhoea – A BMJ Study
Role of Candida in Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhoea within the Elderly – 1991 – by P.L. Danna, MD, Carl Urban, PhD, J.J. Rahal, MD, Eran Bellin, MD, J.J. Rahal, Carl Urban (The Lancet) chart
Candida Species Causing Vulvovaginitis – 2005 – by Sandra S. Richter, Rudolph P. Galask, Shawn A. Messer, Richard J. Hollis, Daniel J. Diekema and Michael A. Pfaller (Journal of Clinical Microbiology)