Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are over 20 species of Candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida albicans.
Candida yeasts normally reside in the intestinal tract and can be found on mucous membranes and skin without causing infection; however, overgrowth of these organisms can cause symptoms to develop. Symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the area of the body that is infected.
Candidiasis that develops in the mouth or throat is called “thrush” or oropharyngeal candidiasis. Candidiasis in the vagina is commonly referred to as a “yeast infection.” Invasive candidiasis occurs when Candida species enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.
- Candidiasis (link)
IgG antibodies to Candida may be due to current or past infection or intestinal overgrowth. An elevated Candida IgG indicates the immune system has interacted with Candida. Although Candida and related fungal species are normal constituents of GI flora, use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, chemotherapy, or anti-inflammatory steroids increases the possibility of fungal overgrowth and imbalance of GI flora. Dietary improvements and/or antifungal therapy may lower Candida antibodies and reduce symptoms.
High levels of IgG antibodies to Candida have been found in patients who reported many symptoms of yeast overgrowth. Candida problems are caused when the benign yeast form of Candida albicans transforms to its fungal form and produces a buildup of toxins in the body. Candida can overgrow areas of the intestinal mucosa resulting in numerous symptoms, including creating microscopic holes in the lining of the intestines, leading to what is commonly known as “leaky gut” syndrome. Candida albicans proteins may trigger an inflammatory response.
A wide range of disorders have been linked to Candida overgrowth including:
- multiple sclerosis,
- chronic fatigue,
- and irritable bowel syndrome.
Immunocompromised patients with cancer or AIDS can have life-threatening complications if Candida enters the bloodstream, resulting in systemic candidiasis. Use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, chemotherapy, anti-inflammatory steroids, and diets high in sugar and starch increase susceptibility to Candida overgrowth.
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