Candidiasis is a fairly common infection caused by the candida fungus. It is worth to note that human skin harbors different bacteria and fungi which are important for the health of your skin. However, when the number of one of the microorganisms is too high, an imbalance occurs, which can lead to an infection. An overgrowth of the candida fungus causes candidiasis, a condition that can affect the mouth, skin, nails and genitals. In this discussion, we will look at candidiasis in the skin and nails.
What Are the Symptoms of Candidiasis of Skin and Nails?
Candidiasis of the skin usually affects moist parts of the skin and is characterized by:
- Itchiness and redness
- Intense itching
Cracks are appearing on the skin in severe cases.
The areas of skin usually affected by candidiasis include:
- The skin between the fingers and toes
- The foreskin
- The skin under the breasts
Other skin ailments that resemble candidiasis include ringworms, herpes, hives, diabetic skin conditions, eczema, and psoriasis.
Common symptoms of candidiasis of the nails include:
- Brittle nails which sometimes split at the end
- Yellowish or whitish spots under the nails
- Infection, usually accompanied by pain
- Thick and discolored nails in severe cases
Candidiasis of the skin and nails can become severe and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. The physical symptoms are also quite unsightly.
What Causes Candidiasis?
Candidiasis of skin and nails can occur as a result of various factors. Typically, a healthy amount of the candida fungi lives on the skin; trouble begins when this fungus multiplies rapidly, leading to infections. Following are other causes of candidiasis on the skin:
- Excessive use of antibiotics that kills the good bacteria, causing an imbalance
- Prolonged use of corticosteroids and other medications that affect the immune system
- Wearing tight clothes, thus preventing the skin from “breathing”
- Poor hygiene
- A weak immune system caused by pregnancy and diabetes
- Poor maintenance of hygiene of the genitalia, for instance not changing undergarments regularly
For candidiaiss of the nails, various factors can increase the likelihood of you catching the infection. The type of job that you do can play a huge role. For instance, if you spend a lot of time in water, chances of getting a fungal nail infection increase significantly. There is also the genetic factor that makes you more susceptible to catching fungal infections and having brittle nails. Aging also increases the chances of getting candidiasis.
How to Treat Candidiasis
Candidiasis of skin and nails is treated with over-the-counter medications like clotrimazole and miconazole. Both drugs can be found in the form of tablets or topical creams. Make sure you thoroughly dry skin areas with folds or use powders to decrease moisture.
If little or no change is observed even after taking these steps, see a dermatologist for further advice and treatment. A dermatologist can prescribe further medication and advice on best-practices that will combat the fungal infection.
Invasive candidiasis is experienced in extreme cases. This is a fungal infection that affects the heart, blood, bones, eyes and brain. Patients suffering from conditions that weaken the immune system such as HIV are more likely to experience this. Such patients need immediate medical attention and may be hospitalized so that the effects of the infection can be stabilized.
Home Remedies for Managing or Preventing Candidiasis
Candidiasis of skin and nails can be controlled by use of simple home remedies like the following:
- Keep your skin and nails dry. Always change wet or damp panties and other clothes since yeast thrives in such conditions.
- Lower your intake of sugar and sugary products. This is especially important for people with diabetes. Keeping a normal blood sugar level is essential to maintaining a normal and healthy skin.
- Avoid direct skin contact with people who have skin infections that can be contagious.
- Use gloves when performing domestic chores especially when gardening and washing dishes.
- Wear open shoes when having a relaxing time near a swimming pool or when using a public shower.
- Select your nail salons carefully. Pick a clean place where they use sterilized equipment, or else do your nails in the comfort of your home.
- Maintain body hygiene by taking a bath or showering regularly; always change your undergarments and have them cleaned properly. Make sure your clothes are clean also.
- Have limits. Don’t share personal things like combs, nail clippers, or undergarments. If you absolutely have to, make sure you sterilize them in hot water and a disinfectant afterward.
- Avoid scented products when bathing and even for cleaning dishes and clothes. Particularly avoid scented soaps if you are treating candidiasis of the skin and nails.
- Drink plenty of water and yogurt, especially probiotic yogurt. Probiotic yogurt helps to increase the good bacteria in your system.
- Exercise regularly to maintain a fit body and also shed some excess weight as this leads to skin folds.