|Also Listed As:
Candidiasis is an infection caused by a yeastlike fungus called candida. It
can infect the mouth, vagina, skin, stomach, and urinary tract. Approximately 75
percent of women will get candidiasis of the vagina during their lifetime, and
90 percent of all people with HIV/AIDS develop candida infections.
|Signs and Symptoms|
- Creamy white patches in the mouth or on the throat
- Painful cracks at the corners of the mouth
- Skin rashes, patches, and blisters found most commonly in the groin,
between fingers and toes, and under the breasts
- Vaginal itching and irritation with a curdlike
|What Causes It?|
Normal amounts of candida existing in the mouth, stomach, and vagina do not
cause infections. Candidiasis occurs when there is a buildup of candida. This
may be caused by taking certain drugs (especially antibiotics), pregnancy, being
overweight, bacterial infection, or any of a number of health conditions (for
example, immune disorders, diabetes, and psoriasis).
|What to Expect at Your Provider's Office|
Your health care provider may take samples for testing (for example, a
vaginal wet smear) and do extensive tests (such as a CT scan or test of your
stool) if it appears that the infection has spread. An antifungal medication may
be prescribed, and dietary changes may be recommended. These treatments usually
cure candidiasis. If you have recurrent bouts of candidiasis, your provider will
explore the possibility of an immune deficiency or some other
A number of antifungal medications are available to treat candidiasis. Your
health care provider will prescribe a drug depending on the location and
severity of your disease.
- Antifungal medications—include oral rinses
and tablets, vaginal tablets and suppositories, and creams; various side
- Antibiotics—cure certain types of
- Topical vaginal creams and suppositories
- Creams combined with low-strength
corticosteroids—reduce inflammation and itching
Most treatments last from 2 to 3 days to 2 weeks. Be sure to take all
medicine exactly as prescribed. If you do not, the same infection could come
back. Reinfection with a new strain of candida also can occur. For more severe
candidiasis, you will be given fluids and electrolytes intravenously.
Some topical vaginal creams and suppositories are available over the counter
and may be used for 1 to 7 days; see your provider if the condition persists.
|Complementary and Alternative Therapies|
The "candida diet" allows no alcohol, no simple sugars, and very limited
amounts of refined foods. Alternative therapies aim to "starve" the yeast and
use natural antifungals.
- Vitamin C (500 to 1,000 mg per day), vitamin E (200 to 400 IU per
day), and selenium (200 mcg per day) are anti-inflammatory
- Essential fatty acids: anti-inflammatory, a mix of omega-6 (evening
primrose) and omega-3 (flaxseed) may be best (2 tbsp. oil per day or 1,000 to
1,500 mg twice a day). Reduce animal fats in your diet and increase fish and
- B-complex: B1 (50 to 100 mg), B2 (50 mg), B3 (25 mg), B5 (100 mg), B6
(50 to 100 mg), B12 (100 to 1,000 mcg), folate (400 mcg per day)
- Calcium (1,000 to 1,500 mg per day) to correct deficiency often found
in people with yeast infections, and magnesium (750 to 1,000 mg per day) to
balance calcium intake
- Lactobacillus acidophilus (2 to 5 million organisms three times per
day) to help restore normal balance of bowel and mucous membranes
- Caprylic acid (1 g with meals) is an antifungal fatty acid
- Avoid simple carbohydrates including fruit juice, yeast, and
fermented foods; limit fruit to one serving per day, increase garlic
(fungicidal), nuts (essential fatty acids), whole grains (B vitamins), oregano,
cinnamon, sage, and cloves (antifungal spices)
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites
(glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Teas should be made with
1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or
flowers and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per
- Pau d'arco bark (Tabebuia avellanedae): antifungal, best used
as a tea (2 tbsp. boiled in 1 quart of water; 3 to 6 cups per day), or use the
cooled tea as a vaginal douche
- Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Oregon grape root
(Mahonia nervosa), and barberry (Berberis vulgaris) are digestive
and immune stimulants. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and licorice
(Glycyrrhiza glabra) are anti-inflammatory. Use a tea or tincture of the
five herbs listed above (1 cup tea three times per day or 30 to 60 drops
tincture three times per day) for six weeks. Do not take licorice if you have
high blood pressure
- Topical treatments include tea tree oil (Melaleuca
alternifolia) or lavender essential oil (Lavandula species)
two to three times a day; apply full strength to skin infections (discontinue if
skin irritation develops); marigold (Calendula officinalis) apply three
to five times per day in a salve for rashes
- Fireweed (Epilobium parviflorum): take as a tea for oral,
vaginal, and intestinal candidias
Some of the most common remedies used for candidiasis are listed below.
Usually, the dose is 3 to 5 pellets of a 12X to 30C remedy every one to four
hours until your symptoms get better.
- Borax for bleeding oral mucosa, especially with
- Belladonna for bright red, inflamed skin that is not raw or
oozing, but is painful, especially with irritability
- Chamomilla for "diaper" rash, especially with
- Arsenicum album for burning, itching rashes, especially with
- Graphites for thick, cracked skin (corners of mouth or
- Kreosotum for leukorrhea that causes itching and
May be helpful to stimulate immune system, digestion, and relieve
You can prevent another yeast infection by taking lactobacillus acidophilus
when you take antibiotics, avoiding antibiotics that act against a wide variety
of bacteria when possible, wearing cotton or silk underwear, maintaining good
hygiene, and staying at the proper weight. Women should avoid douches (except
when medically necessary), vaginal deodorants, and bubble
Be sure to tell your health care provider if you are
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|Review Date: August 1999|
|Reviewed By: Participants in the review process include: Dahlia Hirsch, MD, Center for
Holistic Healing, BelAir, MD; David Winston, Herbalist, Herbalist and Alchemist,
Inc., Washington, NJ; Leonard Wisneski, MD, FACP, George Washington University,
Copyright © 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc
The publisher does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of
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of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage
to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or
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guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information
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regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications
before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed