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1 Candida: The Fungus among Us The causative agent of the Candidiasis disease is a fungus Candida, usually Candida albicans. Candida are thin-walled, small yeast (4 to 6 microns) that reproduce by budding and are one of the most common causes of opportunistic mycoses worldwide. Candida is a normal part of ordinary flora of skin, mouth, vagina, and stool. It is a pathogen and a colonizer; also found in the environment particularly on leaves, flowers, water, and soil. The genus Candida includes a
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  1 Candida : The Fungus among UsThe causative agent of the Candidiasis disease is a fungus Candida , usually Candida albicans . Candida are thin-walled, small yeast (4 to 6 microns) that reproduce by budding and are one of the most common causes of opportunistic mycoses worldwide. Candida is a normal part of ordinary flora of skin, mouth, vagina, and stool. It is a pathogen and a colonizer; also found in the environment particularly on leaves, flowers,water, and soil. The genus Candida includes about 154 species. Six of them are morefrequently isolated in human infections. The colonies of  Candida are cream to yellowishin color. They grow rapidly and mature in 3 days. The texture of the colony may be pasty, smooth, dry, wrinkled and dull, depending on the species. Candida is unicellular yeast, though it can be a multicellular mold. Although this fungus reproduces sexuallyand asexually by formation of spores, yeast is reproduced via budding. Candida is a ubiquitous fungi organism. It has been one of the many eukaryoticorganisms that work in symbiotic existence with humankind for as long as we know;however, when the delicate balance of coexistence that keeps each one at bay is disruptedit becomes an opportunist by over populating. It soon creates havoc in its host. Whenthis occurs, the diagnosis is Candidiasis. According to the 9 th edition of McGraw-HillEncyclopedia of Science and Technology, the majority of fungal infections are caused byyeast ( ). David Grubby, born in Austria in 1810, became a doctor and scientist inFrance at Hospital St. Louis and the Foundling Asylum. His works, published in the1840s, were the first to describe yeast infections and the relation to fungi (712). Duringthe 1940s, Candidiasis was almost unheard of, a rare medical occurrence but, the use of antibiotics was becoming more common (Knox). By the 1950s an epidemic of yeastinfections occurred and the use of antibiotics was an epidemic of its own. The increaseof Candidiasis infections was parallel to the increase of antibiotic use (Knox).Candidiasis is the cause of  Thrush , an infection in the mouth creating a whitishfilm on the palate, tongue, and inside cheeks. When thrush extends into the throat itcauses Esophagitis . Candidiasis is also the cause of  Cutaneous   Candidiasis , commonlyknown as diaper rash, which can be problematic anywhere in the folds of the skin such asarmpits, hands, groins, buttocks, and under breasts. Many other illness have been foundto be related to the Candida organism such as acne, sinusitis, bronchitis, UTIs, ear infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, athlete’s foot, constipation, anddiarrhea (Knox). Finally, the last and most common illness which is publicly known dueto the explosion of advertisement in the past decade, promoted by pharmaceuticalcompanies of their over-the-counter topical treatments, is Vaginal Yeast Infection .Even though Candidiasis is not known to be a sexually transmitted disease, it still has been one of the concerns for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and continues to beincluded in their STD guidelines due to the high rate of occurrences reported ( ). Candida although it is a naturally occurring yeast that exists in our bodies as wellas the environment it can also wreak havoc when given the opportunity. Overgrowth of  C. albicans (the most common strain of  Candida ) is the culprit behind the majority of yeast infections (Candidiasis, CDC). This pathogen attacks the mucous membrane of theoral cavity, G.I. tract, vagina, and various other epithelium, nervous system andlymphatic system through toxins, as well the blood stream. Toxins like canditoxin and  2 ethanol (produced during fermentation) creates not only a drunken like state but“interferes with our biochemical processes” (Ninazu), some of the toxins produced arealso lethal to lymphocytes (Leicester). Acidic proteases and other metabolites disrupt our energy production cycle which then causes fatigue and also creates a better breedingground for this pathogen. Although Candida is naturally inside our bodies the presence of escalated, or presence in areas of the body that Candida should not exist (i.e. the bloodstream), onset of the infection could begin in as few as 2 to 10 days.Major symptoms and signs may include any of the following: White patches, or red lesions in oral cavity, pruitus, and vulval erythematic, curd-like discharge fromvagina. Signs or more sever infections are: fever, chills, a drunken like state with out the presence of alcohol, not sensitive to antibacterial medications (CDC, Ninazu). Luckilymost infections are treatable with antifungal medications and do not tend to persist longer than approximately 2 weeks after starting medication, in some cases lasting only 2 to 3days. There should be no sequalae as long as appropriate treatment has been taken.Antifungals are among the most common treatment for Candidiasis but in cases of moresevere infections, Amphotericin B can be given intravenously (CDC). These treatmentsslow down and interfere with C. albicans  by altering the cell wall permeability andthereby slow its growth. If homeopathic treatment is desired, healthful living fermentedfoods such as kraut help reduce the amount of  C. albican over population (Knox). Dr.Knox also states that a person should avoid high consumption amounts of animal by- products and increasing the amounts of raw vegetable matter; by doing this, a personincreases the amount of beneficial bacteria in the body, which in turn limits the amount of  Candida growth (. An alternative treatment to an antifungal medication, thoughmedication is more convenient and less expensive, would be colonic irrigation.According to Dr. Knox, colonic irrigations (a.k.a. enemas) are slightly invasive procedures but effective in controlling the outbreak of Candidiasis. Colonic irrigationsare not a quick fix. Treatment usually consists of two to three colonics per week for twoweeks, if symptoms have not been relieved by this time, further diagnosis is suggested(Knox). The best preventative measures that can be taken are keeping skin clean and dry,take medications as directed and only as directed by a doctor, and living a healthylifestyle.Because Candida albicans is a naturally occurring organism in the intestinal tractof the human body, Candidiasis occurs everywhere. It is estimated that Candidiasisinfects more than 30% of the world population, especially females over the age of twelve(Clinkscale). The infections caused by the Candida organism have been considered ahealth crisis since the 1980s and occurs in at least one-third of the North American population including those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and severe allergies (Knox,Clinkscale). Candidiasis is most prevalent in the industrialized areas of the world wherethe use of antibiotics is easily accessible and sold to the farms where animal by-productsare mass produced and then consumed by the people. The rate of new infections isunknown due to the frequency of misdiagnosis and the constant consumption of antifungal/antibacterial products. As long as people consume meat, animal by-products,alcohol, antibiotics, birth control pills, and any other yeast containing product, continualcases of Candidiasis will occur with the increasing rate it has for decades. AlthoughCandidiasis has been considered more of a chronic illness and easily cured, a 50% deathrate occurs if the infection reaches the blood stream before diagnosis ( ). These cases are  3 more commonly found in undeveloped parts of the world where up-to-date medicaltreatment is not readily available rather than the heavily populated developed areas(Clinkscale). Candida is stored in the intestinal tract and then is transmitted throughout the body once an abundance of the C. albican fungus develops. The over development of  C.albican most commonly occurs after an illness was treated with antibiotics. Usuallywithin two weeks of the antibiotic treatment several of the bacteria in the G.I. tract arekilled off and C. albican has room to grow. Once the over population of  Candida fillsthe empty spaces of the intestinal tract, the immune system shuts off its defense to theflora and spreads to the other mucous membrane areas of the body (Knox). Candidiasiscan be transmitted sexually, through the food we eat or from poor hygiene, but mostcommonly it is developed after taking an antibiotic.When the topic was first assigned to the group, everyone was in dismay, as wellas many of our peers that were approached, on what Candidiasis is. However, if you ask any mother, “What is a diaper rash?” or any female, “What is a yeast infection?” theconversations begin to flow. There would be a variety of responses, personal accountsand stories. Traditionally, this was the subject of talk between patients and doctors, or mothers and daughters but society has evolved to become more open and aware of illnesswith the help of the media, advertisement and the sexual revolution. Pharmaceuticalcompanies have become very profitable businesses by informing the public of symptomsand then suggesting a treatment or medication. The public can basically walk into adoctor’s office and request the medication advertised. Many forms of medication havemade way into the general market place. One of the major concerns and controversy has been with the mismanagement of antibiotics. We see antibiotics in our soap, mouthwash,toothpaste, hand sanitizers, and many female hygiene products in an attempt to promote a preventative maintenance mentality. If we cut down the microorganisms, then we willcut down on potential illnesses. As Gordon Sauer states in the Manual of Skin Diseases,6 th Ed., avoid excessive washing and the use of antibacterial soap (224). Unfortunately,we are seeing fungal infections on the rise due to the imbalance being created in thatfragile natural relationship created between these microorganisms and the assistance inevolution of more severe and resistant strains. Don’t be fooled that this is only awoman’s issue. Candidiasis is a non-discriminate and men can be infected as well. Weneed to promote awareness in the over use of antibiotics, educate the potential causes of Candidiasis, and understand the importance of incorporating preventative measures intoour lives.Many of the preventative measures for Candidiasis are reasonably easy to learnand keep in good practice. A person who develops Candidiasis or has chronic symptomsof the infection should adjust their diet and avoid foods which are known to assist in thegrowth of fungi; these foods usually contain large amounts of sugar, dairy, yeast, wheat,and caffeine. Eating yogurt, which contains  Lactobacillus acidophilus , a bacterium thathelps control Candida albican , is also beneficial. Consuming living (raw) vegetablematter and krauts will help repopulate beneficial bacteria and help control C. albicans (Knox). Clothing is another important factor in the prevention of Candidiasis. Some keythings to remember are: keep clothing loose to allow ventilation and dryness; avoid tight pants during hot and humid weather; wear lose, natural-fiber clothing and undergarmentswith a cotton crotch; and be sure to change out of wet clothes such as bathing suits as  4 soon as possible. The most important prevention method for Candidiasis, and many other types of infections, is personal hygiene. A person should practice oral hygiene daily and bathe on a regular basis drying well when done. Use gentle soaps on the body, and avoidusing fragrant soaps or body washes, which can cause irritations, especially in the genitalareas. Scented tampons and feminine sprays should also be avoided. Another key to prevention is trying to reduce exposure of the hands to chemical soaps and water bywearing gloves while cleaning. Most of all, educating oneself on the infection at hand isthe best way to prevent a reoccurrence.
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