Candida is a single-celled microorganism of a round or oval shape, which belongs to yeast-like fungi. The genus Candida has about 170 species, the most common of which is Candida albicans (Candida albicans).
You can meet him almost anywhere - from the soil and household items to the tissues of the human body: it lives in the intestines, oral cavity, esophagus , genitals, etc.
In the body of a healthy person, there is some balance between Candida albicans, as well as other bacteria and microorganisms, however, in some disorders and pathological conditions, the fungus begins to actively proliferate.
Factors that provoke reproduction of Candida albicans include:
- reduced immunity;
- nervous stress;
- unhealthy diet;
- taking certain medications (antibiotics, oral contraceptives, etc.).
If you look at the structure of the fungus Candida albicans, the photo of which can be found on the web, then it can be noted that it has very dense walls. Because of this, it is highly resistant to any external influence. The fungus is completely undemanding to temperature conditions, and is very fond of glucose, so Candida albicans develops very quickly on the mucous membranes and quickly grows its colonies, causing a disease called candidiasis, or thrush.
Types of candidiasis and their symptoms
Candidiasis can have a variety of forms (depending on the location of the fungus): there are candidiasis of the skin, mucous membranes, internal organs, etc. If Candida albicans begins to multiply on the surface of the skin, the foci of the disease are most often localized in large folds of the skin (inguinal, axillary, interdigital) or between the fingers. They look like small bubbles, which, bursting, form large patches of dark red color.
If the fungus is localized in the gastrointestinal tract, it can manifest itself as candida (thrush) of the oral cavity, or settle in places of ulcerative and erosive injuries of the stomach. Oral thrush most often occurs in newborns and is characterized by a white, cheesy patina forming films of various shapes and sizes. But gastric candidiasis usually develops on the background of a peptic ulcer, slowing the healing of ulcers, and causing pain and bleeding. Symptoms of this disease are white flakes in feces, diarrhea, flatulence.
Approximately 80% of all cases of candidiasis occur in vaginal or urogenital candidiasis. Symptoms of the development of Candida albicans in women and men are significantly different from each other.
So, thrush in women is recognized by the following features:
- cheesy vaginal discharge;
- unpleasant smell;
- redness of the mucous membranes;
- itching or discomfort in the perineum.
But the development of Candida albicans in men is usually manifested by candidal balanoposthitis , and is characterized by such symptoms as:
- white bloom on the head of the penis;
- itching in the foreskin area;
- pain, stinging and other manifestations of discomfort during urination.
In any case, when any suspicion of candida albicans is necessary to undergo a special analysis, which will show the presence of fungus in the body.
Analysis for Candida albicans
The analysis for the detection of a fungus can be performed in any diagnostic laboratory using the following methods:
- Smear microscopy. In this case, the doctor must take a smear from the site of the possible localization of Candida albicans (vagina, urethra, oral cavity). It is examined under a microscope to detect the cells of the fungus.
- Detection of Candida albicans by the method of poly-dimensional chain reaction (PCR). This method is considered the most sensitive for the diagnosis of fungal infections, and is based on the detection in the material (urine, saliva, blood, etc.) of the DNA of the infectious agent.
- Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The analysis is based on the identification of immunoglobulins (antibodies) lgGk Candida albicans.
- Sowing on the fungus with the determination of its sensitivity to special preparations. The material for the study may be urine, sputum, feces or smears from the vagina, urethra, oral cavity, etc. To perform the analysis, the material is placed in a special environment; if the fungus is present in this sample, Candida albicans begins to multiply rapidly, and soon becomes clearly visible to the naked eye.
Deciphering the results of the analysis depends primarily on the method with which the study was conducted, as well as on several other factors, including the patient's condition.
Since the fungus is sometimes present in the microflora of a healthy person, the rate of Candida albicans in a smear can be about 102-104.
In this case, the doctor looks at the patient’s condition and possible symptoms of the disease. If the amount of the fungus exceeds 105, treatment should begin immediately.
If the analysis was carried out by sowing, then a small number of grown colonies of the fungus (<104 cfu / tampon) can be considered the norm. Finally, in the study by ELISA and PCR, the absence of DNA or antibodies to Candida Albicans in the material is considered the norm.