Candidiasis, also known as thrush or moniliasis, is a yeast infection. Candida albicans is an organism that normally takes up residence quietly on your skin and doesn't bother anyone. It ends up in the female genital tract, and we all carry it on our skin, in our mouths, and our digestive tract (guts).

From time to time, the yeast grows out of control, causing pain and inflammation. Candidiasis can also occur on the skin, especially on the mucous membranes of the vagina and mouth as well as on the skin of the penis. It can also spread through the bloodstream or develop in certain viscera such as the liver and spleen. In the vast majority of cases, however, the infections affect the skin, mouth and vagina. It is also a common cause of baby diaper rash. Although annoying, these infections do not threaten the life of the infected subject.

Candidiasis can be fatal when it affects the bloodstream or vital organs like the heart, but these are rare cases, even in people with weakened immune systems, and even rarer when it affects healthy people. However, candidiasis is a constant source of inconvenience, and sometimes a serious threat for people with AIDS and for some cancer patients who do not have the immune resources necessary to fight against this infection.

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Written and edited by DJIMA Rachidatou on 08/01/2022

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Forms of candidiasis, causes and manifestations

Candida yeasts can affect one or more parts of the body, causing superficial infections, the most common of which are the following.

Oral candidiasis

Oral candidiasis

Oral candidiasis, commonly called thrush, affects the oral cavity and concerns particular newborns, patients who are subjected to immunosuppressants, antibiotic treatments, or massive corticosteroids, subjects with AIDS, or weakened by d other serious illnesses (cancer, diabetes, chronic urinary tract infection).

This infection results in the presence of a whitish deposit on the mucous membranes of the mouth, causing burning and unpleasant tingling. This sign may also be accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain, loss of appetite, inflammation, irritation and discomfort when swallowing.

In the absence of adequate treatment, this infection presents a risk of spreading and reaching other organs, such as the larynx and the oesophagus. Candidiasis then here takes the form of oesophagal or oropharyngeal candidiasis. This condition is, however, rare and usually only occurs in the setting of HIV/AIDS infection.

Genital candidiasis

Genital candidiasis is another very common case of Candida albicans infection. However, this condition is not considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD) but is mainly due to an unhealthy lifestyle or a physiological defect, which disturbs the pH of the genital mucous membranes.

In women, we speak of vaginal candidiasis, or vulvovaginal candidiasis, also called candidositis vaginitis. According to an epidemiological study, no less than 75% of women experience an episode of vaginal candidiasis once in their lives. The risks of recurrence, in the event of inadequate treatment or factors favouring the imbalance of the vaginal flora, are very high. Long-term treatment with antibiotics or corticosteroids, diabetes mellitus, use of overly aggressive toiletries, increased estrogen levels due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills, IUDs or simply wearing synthetic underwear can increase the risk of contracting this vaginitis.

The main clinical signs of vaginal candidiasis are a whitish vaginal discharge or leucorrhoea, without a disturbing odour. Greenish discharge, with a persistent smell of amine (similar to a fishy smell), mainly concerns infections of bacterial origin. In some cases, patients may also complain of intromission dyspareunia, i.e. pain during intercourse, vaginal pruritus, external dysuria or difficulty urinating. These symptoms mostly appear a few days before menstruation.

In men, genital candidiasis presents as urethritis, or inflammation of the urethra, which is manifested by discharge and dysuria. This infection can sometimes be associated with balanitis, which is an inflammation of the glans penis. Red spots, associated with irritation and pain, are the main signs. In the case of Candida balanitis, the patient must be treated appropriately, so as not to infect his sexual partner.

Cutaneous candidiasis

Cutaneous candidiasis, also known as candidiasis infection, mainly affects the skin and appendages (hair, hair, and nails). This form of candidiasis develops especially in parts of the body prone to moisture, such as the armpits, groin, and interdigital areas, under the breasts, between the buttocks, and under the nails. The condition presents as redness covered with a whitish layer, or painful and inflammatory swelling.

Complicated forms of candidiasis

Systemic candidiasis, or candidemia, is one of the most severe forms of candidiasis, with an average mortality rate of 40-50%. Although rare, this insidious condition can be the consequence of exogenous nosocomial contamination, especially in subjects who have had intravascular catheters; or a passage of yeasts having colonized the digestive tract or the genital tract towards the blood. This second case is favoured by the weakening or ulceration of the mucous membranes due to a lack of white blood cells, for example, to long-term antibiotic treatments, or even after chemotherapy.

This complicated form of candidiasis must be monitored closely because it can lead to serious illnesses, such as meningitis, stroke, bacterial pericarditis and ankylosing arthritis. The subjects most likely to contract it are especially those hospitalized in the departments of surgery, haematology and respiratory assistance.

The decline in immune defences, in subjects with AIDS or subjected to long-term corticosteroids or immunosuppressants, risks promoting other equally serious forms of candidiasis, such as visceral candidiasis and monilia granuloma.




Candidiasis cannot be caught. The yeast is already there. Several factors can increase the risk of yeast overgrowth. One of the most common causes is the overuse of antibiotics. To live on us, yeasts must compete with various other organisms, the majority of which are bacteria. These bacteria, which grow on the skin, in the intestine and the vagina, among other places, are harmless but effectively fight yeast. When antibiotics are prescribed to kill more harmful bacteria, they also kill harmless bacteria. Yeasts that are unaffected by antibiotics spread to the places vacated by bacteria, and begin to grow and multiply.

Steroids and some cancer drugs weaken the immune system and can promote yeast overgrowth. Candida albicans (also called oral thrush) infections of the mouth most often affect people with conditions like cancer and AIDS. People with diabetes and those who wear dentures that cause chronic irritation are also more susceptible to oral candidiasis. Taking oral contraceptives increases the risk of developing vaginal candidiasis. Hot temperatures, poor hygiene, and tight clothing are also risk factors because they create the perfect environment for candida.

Other factors that promote Candida overgrowth include obesity and pregnancy. Yeast usually infects the intertriginous regions, i.e. the places where the skin is in contact with itself. Overweight people have more skin folds. They also sweat more than others and Candida albicans love moist skin. Pregnancy causes estrogen levels to rise, which increases the risk of infection.

Candidiasis is not considered a sexually transmitted infection because an infected woman is unlikely to pass it on to her or her sexual partner. However, if the infection keeps coming back, the sexual partner may also need treatment.

Symptoms and Complications

Candida infections of the skin cause a well-defined, red patch of skin that itches and beads fluid. It may be lined with scabs and pustules. It usually sits in areas such as the groin, the folds of the buttocks, the space between the breasts, the toes or fingers and the navel. This plaque can be difficult to see on some people's dark skin.

A vaginal yeast infection can cause a thick, white, lumpy-looking substance like cottage cheese to discharge with little or no odour. They manifest themselves in the vagina by an itching or burning sensation, especially during the emission of urine or sexual intercourse which often generates pain or a feeling of discomfort.

A superficial periungual whitlow is a form of candidiasis that affects the nails. This infection is more common in people who often have their hands in water. It sometimes causes painful, red swelling of the fingers. In more severe cases, the nails may peel off and reveal a whitish or yellow discoloured nail bed.

Oral thrush causes white curd-like patches to appear inside the mouth, on the tongue and palate, and around the lips. It can also cause cracked, reddish, moist areas to appear on the skin at the corners of the lips. Thrush patches sometimes cause pain.

Penile infections caused by Candida are rare, but they can cause the end of the penis to swell and turn red, as well as pain.





Garlic extract

Garlic (Allium sativum L.), renowned for its antifungal action, is one of the natural remedies whose effects on Candida albicans have been the subject of scientific analysis. The experiment was carried out on normal rats and diabetic rats induced by Streptozotocin, with or without candidiasis problems. The subjects were divided into 6 groups of 15 individuals, including a group of normal rats serving as control, a group of non-diabetic rats infected with Candida albicans, a group of infected rats having taken garlic extracts, a group of rats diabetics, a group of diabetic rats infected with Candida albicans, and a final group of diabetic rats with candidiasis subjected to treatments based on garlic extract.



The following hygiene measures can help prevent genital candidiasis:

Wipe yourself from front to back after defecating - yeasts are present in large numbers in the rectal area;

Sponge well after a bath, and take special care to dry pubic hair - if necessary, use a hair dryer on the lowest setting;

Refrain from soaping the vaginal area - soap kills helpful bacteria and has no effect on yeast;

Sterilize or throw away the underwear you wore during your last infection - machine wash water isn't hot enough, you have to boil them if you want to keep them. You also need to get new diaphragms or cervical caps);

Avoid the chemicals in scented tampons and douches, they are useless and can cause infection.

Avoid tight tights and pants

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Written and edited by DJIMA Rachidatou on 08/01/2022

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