Candida infections are the most common fungal infections that affect humans. Candida is the name for a group of yeasts (a type of fungus) that commonly infect the skin. The name ‘Candida’ refers to the white color of the organisms in culture. It is a normal inhabitant of the human digestive tract from early infancy, where it lives without causing any disease most of the time. It is normally controlled by beneficial bacteria in the intestines which act as host’s defense. However, if the bacteria-fungus balance is upset, by the use of antibiotics for example, or if the immune system is compromised, an overgrowth of Candida can occur, resulting in infection. The infection results in release of powerful chemicals into the bloodstream, causing such varying symptoms as lethargy, chronic diarrhea, yeast vaginitis, bladder infections, muscle and joint pain, menstrual problems, constipation and severe depression. Also, it can cause infection of the mucosa (the lining of the mouth, anus and genitals), the skin, and rarely, deep-seated infection. Although both men and women can have Candida infections, however it does occur more frequently in women (especially young women) with more severe effects.
Fungal infections are more common today than ever before. There are a number of reasons for this. People are living longer, and older people are more likely than younger people to have compromised immune systems, a major risk factor for fungal infection. Similarly, the widespread use of antibiotics has contributed to the growing infection rate (fungal infections are known to occur after antibiotic therapy, which has the effect of killing the beneficial bacteria that normally suppress fungi). The cases of Candida infections too are in rise. Candida species are true opportunistic pathogens that exploit recent technological advances to gain access to the circulation and deep tissues. Several other factors can lead to an overgrowth of Candida. Steroids such as Cortisone (Decadron or other cortisone-type drugs) suppress the immune system’s ability to fight Candida growth. The immune system can also be weakened in the people infected with HIV. Prolong use of contraceptive pill or injection, or pregnancy is also conducive for candida growth. The candida infection may be due to general debility e.g. from cancer or malnutrition. Another cause of Candida overgrowth can be from a low Acidophilus and Bifidus culture in the colon. It is imperative that there is enough of these two friendly bacterias in the system in order to control Candida overgrowth. Once the level of these friendly bacteria is lowered, Candida fungus takes control. Iron deficiency too is considered one of the reasons for candida infection.
Management of serious and life-threatening invasive Candida infection remains severely hampered by delays in diagnosis and the lack of reliable diagnostic methods that allow detection of both fungemia and tissue invasion by Candida species. Diagnosis of candida infection can often be accomplished by the presence of symptoms alone. To confirm the diagnosis, however, samples of the fungus have to be identified under a microscope. During this test, scrapings or smears of the tissue are taken from skin, nails, oral mucosa, and vaginal mucosa and identified with a low-powered microscopic examination, a process that gives immediate results.
Once Candida infection is diagnosed, its treatment depends on where it is located. People with skin infections are usually instructed to keep the affected areas as dry as possible until the infection has cleared. Doing so may mean changing out of a wet bathing suit or out of damp workout clothes as soon as possible. Antifungal shampoos are available, as well as antifungal mouth rinses. Infection does not always respond quickly to these treatments and may recur when topical application is discontinued.
The main theme of Candida infection treatment is strengthening of the human immune system. Colloidal silver is the right choice in this regard as it is well known for its capability of fighting against fungus infections. Colloidal silver is nothing but very fine particles of pure silver, suspended in water. Colloidal silver has antimicrobial properties. A lot of research has been done recently on its functioning. Certain bacteria are essential to healthy body function, such as acidophilus. Several researchers claim colloidal silver only attacks the unfriendly pathogens and will not harm the friendly bacteria. But one must wonder how it can possibly differentiate. One explanation is that the friendly bacteria are aerobic, while unfriendly bacteria are anaerobic. Also, it is said that the silver does not attack bacteria directly, but rather decomposes certain enzymes the anaerobic bacteria, viruses, yeast, and molds require. The silver acts as a catalyst and is not consumed in the process. It is probable that the reason the bacteria cannot develop a resistance to silver, as they do to antibiotics, is because silver does not directly them directly, but rather destroys the enzymes they depend on. This is in quite contrast to normal antibiotics, which kills friendly bacteria as well.
The germ fighting properties of colloidal silver has been adopted in soap making and such soaps are in vogue. Regular use of such soap not only helps in keeping the skin clean and healthy but also enhances the body immune system, thus preventing further infections of Candida. Even dermatologists recommend soaps with colloidal silver for the patients with candida infection. However, one must be selective while purchasing such soaps. Soaps containing colloidal silver with 20 ppm are considered the best for daily usage and they have optimum effect on fight against Candida infection.