Pathogens

Candida – Infection, Transmission & Diseases

Candida

Candida is a genus of yeast . The best-known representative of this genus is the fungus Candida albicans .

What is candida?

Candida are yeasts from the sac fungi family. Several species in the genus are potential human pathogens. They are also referred to as pathogenic Candida. These include Candida stellatoidea , Candida famata , Candida glabrata , Candida krusei or Candida dubliniensis . The best-known and most common representative of Candida, however, is Candida albicans. It is the causative agent of candidiasis . Candidiasis is an infectious disease that can cause sometimes drastic symptoms, especially in people with a weakened immune system.

The fungus is also found in three quarters of all healthy people . However, here it belongs more to the transient flora. This means that it is taken in with food, passes through the intestinal tract and is then excreted again. It lives on the mucous membranes of the mouth , throat and in the digestive tract . He also feels comfortable in the genital area, between the fingers and toes and on the fingernails and toenails .

Candida albicans is a facultative pathogen. Normally it lives in a state of equilibrium with the human immune system and the other microorganisms in the digestive tract. However, relocating can result in serious symptoms.

Occurrence, Distribution & Properties

Candida yeasts can be found almost everywhere. It is almost impossible for humans not to come into contact with Candida. In the case of a normal diet , humans primarily take in foodEat large amounts of mushrooms every day. Plant-based food components in particular are naturally contaminated with Candida. The German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology allows up to 100,000 colony-forming units of fungi per gram on dried herbs and spices. Fresh raw vegetable salads also often contain large amounts of candida. For ready-to-eat salads, such as those available at salad counters in supermarkets, the guideline values ​​are up to 5,000,000 colony-forming units per gram. With a meal containing 200 grams of raw vegetable salad, several million fungi can easily enter the body.

Candida is relatively resistant to gastric acid, so many of the ingested yeast fungi pass into the intestinal tract. In the intestine, many fungi are normally killed off by the digestive enzymes . With an intact colonization resistance in the intestine, however, the fungi usually do not have the opportunity to multiply further in the intestine. Long-term attachment or further settlement in the intestine is also not possible if the intestinal flora is intact.

Diseases & Ailments

On the other hand, if Candida fungi encounter an impaired barrier system in the human gut, the opportunists can multiply in the gut and colonize the gut. A minor Candida colonization initially becomes a superficial infection of the intestinal walls. Candida yeasts can develop various pathogenicity mechanisms in the intestine. For example, they can form threads that penetrate deep into the intestinal mucosa . The activation of cyclic proteases also damages the intestinal mucosa. With the help of these pathogenicity mechanisms, the yeasts can penetrate deep into the intestinal wall. This initially results in deep mycoses . Later there is also a transfer into the bloodstreamof the body and thus a generalized distribution of the yeasts is possible.

Yeasts can already cause numerous symptoms in the intestine. Due to the rapid multiplication of fungi in the intestine, there is naturally also an increased number of dead fungal and intestinal cells. These disintegrate and release so-called antigens . The antigens are partially taken up by the intestinal mucosa and enter the blood via damaged mucosal barriers . In the case of an allergic predisposition (disposition), the antigens can cause corresponding allergic reactions. It is even suspected that rheumatoid symptoms, which often occur in intestinal mycoses, are due to circulating immune complexes.

Yeasts have been used to produce alcoholic beverages for many centuries. When they break down carbohydrates , they produce ethanol and fusel oils. Similar processes take place in the intestine when there is a Candida load. The liver in particular suffers from prolonged exposure to fungi from the fusel alcohols that are constantly produced. Chronic intestinal mycoses can thus cause severe liver damage.

Since the yeasts partially displace the local flora when they attach to the intestinal mucosa, the barrier function of the intestine is also impaired. Intestinal mycosis can cause the so-called leaky gut syndrome . In leaky gut syndrome, the intestinal mucosa is permeable, so that various antigens and microorganisms can enter the bloodstream. Allergic skin symptoms or skin diseases such as neurodermatitis can be the result.

Candida can not only spread in the intestines, but also in the oral cavity . Candidiasis of the oral cavity is also called thrush or stomatitis candidomycetica . A whitish coating can be seen on the reddened mucous membranes of the mouth. This is wipeable.

Candidiasis of the vagina is called vaginal mycosis or vaginal thrush. Again, the cause is almost always Candida albicans. Vaginal thrush is usually caused by a weakened immune system, hormonal fluctuations , incorrect intimate hygiene or sexual intercourse . Characteristic symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are itchingand discharge. The discharge is white and crumbly in consistency. Unlike the discharge from bacterial infections, the discharge from vaginal thrush is nearly odorless. In addition, white, wipeable deposits can appear on the mucous membrane of the vagina. Erosion of the sensitive mucous membranes is also possible. Depending on the extent of the disease, painful lesions can also spread to the inner thighs.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.