Three Main Causes of Candida Overgrowth Discussed
Candida Infections: Defining Characteristics
The candida fungus overgrowth is commonly associated with many defining characteristics. The fungus is capable of infecting all individuals, but is more commonly diagnosed in adult women. There exist several types of candida infections (oral thrush, moniliasis, balanitis, intertrigo, and systemic candida), all having defining characteristics that include location and specific symptoms. However, the main causes of infection for all types remain similar, but change based on the particular circumstances of the individual system.
Candida Overgrowth: The Causes
A variety of Candida fungi (over 20 species) are the cause for yeast infections. The overgrowth of this fungus is most commonly caused by Candida albicans. Candida is normally located on the body in small controlled amounts. There are three main causes of the loss of control of the normal Candida growth. These causes of Candida overgrowth include: environmental changes, immune system weakness and/or suppression, and the use of antibiotics and steroids.
Antibiotic and Steroid Use
The use of antibiotics and steroids are the two most common causes of Candida overgrowth and infection. Frequent or overuse of antibiotics within a particular individual causes normal bacteria to increase overall resistance levels. The increased resistance to these antibiotics can result in overgrowth of the normal Candida present on the body, ultimately leading to an infection. Steroids are associated with decreased immune system efficiency, and loss of proficiency in the immune system is caused by an increased susceptibility to Candida overgrowth.
Environmental changes are another cause for overgrowth of Candida. Most environmental changes within the body are unavoidable. For instance, pregnancy is associated with increased frequency of Candida infections. Long-term presence of sperm and use of birth control pill use are also associated with this increase of frequency in infection rates. Menstruation, causes many changes and women are more susceptible to infection during this period. Post-menopausal women are also associated with increased rates of infection. The presence of urinary catheters and IV ports provide Candida with options for direct entrance to the bloodstream, again, increasing overall rates of infection. Diabetes is also associated with reduced glycogen levels, raising overall sugar content and pH of the normal environmental system, increasing susceptibility for infections.
Immune System: Suppressed and Weakened
There are many ways in which the immune system can be suppressed and/or weakened, creating a decrease in its ability to function against infections. The presence of specific conditions associated with weakened immune systems such as HIV and cancer are also correlated with higher rates of Candida infections. The immune system functions to provide the body with defense mechanisms against harmful agents. Any suppression, deficiency, or weakness to the general immune system creates increased susceptibility rates of Candida infections and could result in an array of other difficulties.