Where Does The Candida Live?
This is a yeast that lives in the mouth, throat, nose, intestines and all over the skin of most normal human being. It is also considered to be a normal part of the internal lining of the bowel, and in its normal state actually helps to ensure that regular, normal bowel movements are maintained.
Candida albicans first attaches itself to newborn babies either during or very shortly after birth, but it remains essentially harmless even to a baby as long as that baby has an immune system that is strong enough to keep the growth of the yeast culture in check.
By the age of six months, around 90% of babies will test positive for the presence of Candida albicans. This is why babies whose immune systems are somehow weakened are often prone to oral thrush in the first few months of their life, as this is a yeast infection caused by Candida.
By the time we are adults, almost every person plays host to Candida albicans. However, for the vast majority of the time, this is not going to cause any kind of problem at all, any more than any other of the millions of microbes on your body will do.
This is because for most of the time, there is a balance between all of these different strains of microbes, and as long as this balance is maintained, you will remain healthy and infection free. For example, there are other bacteria on your skin that fight against Candida albicans for the same food sources, and consequently this keeps the Candida cell growth in check.
It is only when this balance is somehow upset that the conditions will prevail whereby a yeast infection can begin to set in.
A general overview of how yeast infections happen…
Yeast infections that occur as a result of Candida albicans are generally referred to by the group name Candiasis and can take many different forms. However, the etymology of how such an infection develops is always pretty similar, irrespective of the particular part of the body that is under attack.
As a general rule, Candida albicans is a yeast which exists in a single cell form. In this form, it remains essentially harmless.
However, all fungi are on a constant watch for sources of nutrition, and once such a nutritional source is located, many millions of these single cell Candida yeast organisms will gravitate towards that source of nutrition. When they do so, they become a mold, and it is at this point where the risk of a yeast infection has begun to develop.
In order to absorb nutrition, fungi have the same ability as animals to secrete hydrolytic enzymes as a way of turning previously indigestible solid matter into foodstuffs that the fungi can feed on. Consequently, when any individual Candida yeast cell identifies a suitable source of food, the whole colony of Candida cells – millions of them – is mobilized so that every individual cell can absorb the maximum amount of nutrition from that food source.
So, what does all this tell you about yeast infections in general, and vaginitis in particular?
What it should indicate is that Candida albicans can only attack and infect your body when conditions are suitable for it to do so.
For example, there are millions of Candida cells on your skin, every one of which is looking for a suitable source of nutrition. However, as long
as your skin is clean, dry and unbroken, no such opportunity is going to be presented to the yeast culture to start feeding from you. As a result, you will remain free of infection.
If conditions are not so good, then there are a myriad of different situations where the Candida cells can begin to attack. For example, if your skin is cut or has some kind of abrasion or lesion, then that provides a ‘window of opportunity’ for the Candida albicans cells to cluster together into mold culture, and begin to infect your body.
What may contribute to the occurrence of the Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Chemical products, local allergy and delayed hypersensitivity may contribute to the induction of symptomatic vaginitis and vulvitis and may play a role in chronic or recurrent candidiasis.
The diagnosis of vaginal candidiasis cannot always be established on the basis of clinical manifestations alone.
Classic symptoms and signs of candidiasis include vaginal itching, an odourless curdy white discharge (“cottage cheese”), a burning feeling in the vulva, dysuria, and erythema of the labia and vulva. Symptoms and signs, however, are often more equivocal. Laboratory support is necessary for a differential diagnosis or to confirm the clinical diagnosis of candidiasis.
A wet-mount preparation should routinely be done not only to determine the presence of yeast cells, but also to exclude the presence of Trichomonas vaginalis and “clue cells” (see section 7.11 below). Positive direct microscopy has a very high diagnostic value. In a minority of patients with symptomatic vaginal candidiasis, the microscopic examination is negative.
Culture remains the most sensitive method currently available for the detection of Candida. However, a positive culture does not necessarily indicate that also termed candidosis.
Candida is responsible for the vaginal symptoms, as more than 20% of healthy women may harbour Candida spp. in the vagina. Therefore, culture is only recommended if vaginal candidiasis is clinically suspected but wet-mount microscopy is negative.
Continue To Part 3 “How To Get Rid of Yeast Infection”
Go Back To Part 1 “How To Get Rid Of Yeast Infection“
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