Skin, the body’s largest organ, acts as a protective barrier against diseases and external injuries. It remains exposed to all kinds of microorganisms and is susceptible to various infections. One of the most common skin problems that afflict maximum number of people is candidiasis or yeast infection. Candidiasis in itself is a huge term that encompasses yeast infection on your skin, nails, genitals, mouth and internal body organs.
Cutaneous candidiasis refers to yeast infection on skin. It may develop on any skin surface of your body, but is most likely to develop on warm and moist folds of skin that may be creased. It can even affect infants and appears mostly as diaper rash.
What Causes Candidiasis
Overgrowth of the fungus known as Candida albicans, which is usually harmless and present everywhere in the environment, lead to Candidiasis. When this seemingly harmless pathogen gets favorable conditions, it may lead to its unchecked growth. This overgrowth of Candida albicans is responsible for yeast infection.
Candidiasis may develop due to the following risk factors:
- Obesity: Obesity can easily lead to candidacies, as the yeast ‘candida albicans’ tends to grow on creased skin folds. Obesity leads to creased skin, which becomes a breeding ground for this particular fungus.
- Tight-fitting clothes: Wearing tight fitting clothes can entrap sweat (moisture) and favor growth of yeast. Most cases of yeast infection on your genitals are caused by wearing tight fitting clothes that provide no air circulation and lead to infection.
- Weak immune system: People with weaker defense mechanisms are more likely to develop yeast infection. This is because the excessive growth of yeast remains unchecked by the weak immune system of your body. This condition may worsen if you suffer from diabetes or HIV.
- Antibiotics: Overuse of antibiotics may create an environment that is conducive to the growth of yeast, and hence lead to candidiasis.
- Lack of hygiene: One of the leading causes of candidiasis is lack of proper hygiene, as good hygiene helps in getting rid of any pathogenic growth at an initial stage.
Some of the signs and symptoms of this unpleasant skin infection include:
- Pimples or rash: Candidiasis rashes appear on your body in the form of tiny pus-filled pimples with scalloped borders and sharply outlined edges.
- Soreness: Most of the times Candidiasis leads to soreness of skin and you may even experience a burning sensation on the affected area.
- Red rashes: The rash caused by this infection is fiery red in color, and causes redness of the area affected. In case of oral candidiasis, these rashes appear as white patches. These patches may even ooze a clear liquid.
- Itch and pain: Cutaneous candidiasis leads to painful rashes that can even appear itchy. The continuous itch along with pain can cause lot of discomfort.
Most doctors can diagnose this infection by examining the medical history of the patient. The appearance of this rash can be confusing, so the physician may conduct microscopic examination of a swab of the affected area. In certain cases, culturing of the swab is also required.
Treatment of candidiasis involves checking the overgrowth of candida albicans. The treatment processes for this skin infection includes intake of antimycotics. Some of the most prevalent treatment options used for treating Candidiasis include:
- Medicated creams: Most physicians usually prescribe medical creams for treating cutaneous candidiasis. These creams are generally quite effective in most cases, and help in reducing the discomfort. Topical creams that could be used in treating this infection include butoconazole, miconazole and fluconazole.
- Keep skin dry: Make it a point to keep your skin dry and clean at all times. You can also consider using drying powders to keep the area dry. Clean the affected area with defense soap and water, to supply local anti-fungal treatment.
- Home remedies: There are many effective home remedies to help provide relief from candidiasis. Consider treating yourself with yogurt, garlic cloves, boric acid, apple cider vinegar or tea tree douches. Make sure you know how to handle and prepare for these remedial actions.
Candidiasis is easily preventable, and you need not undergo all the pain and misery of contracting this dreadful infection. Follow some of the following preventive measures to avoid falling prey to cutaneous candidiasis:
- Diet: Consider avoiding all sugary food items, as fungi feed on sugar in your body. A yeast-free diet for regular period can ensure that the candida overgrowth starves and ends due to lack of favorable nutrition. You may consider including organic food in your diet to ensure better results. Try including oil of oregano and virgin coconut oil in your diet. These food items possess fungi-killing properties that can help check candidiasis.
- Weight loss: It is imperative to follow a proper weight loss regime, as obesity favors candidiasis. Work on eliminating the loose folds of skin in your body, so that there is minimum possibility of candida overgrowth. You must also work towards reducing the blood sugar levels in your body, so that excess sugar levels don’t attract growth of candida.
- Personal Hygiene: It is extremely important to observe proper hygiene, and keep yourself clean. Avoid sharing your personal items and scrub warm and moist parts of your body clean regularly.
- Shower with defense soap: Consider showering with defense soap, to avoid accumulation of any pathogenic growth on your skin.