Hopkins ABX Guide

Candidiasis (Secondary Infection of Bacterial Infection)

Candidasis is an infection with any yeast species of the Candida genus, most often with Candida albicans. The later is a part of the normal flora in the human body and usually doesn’t cause any problems. Infection can be caused by anything that disrupts the balance between the microorganisms of the flora and triggers overgrowth of the Candida. A number of things can cause this overgrowth including taking certain medications such as antibiotics. In fact, taking any kind of antibiotics is a risk factor for candidiasis. If yeast infection is developed during or after antibiotic therapy, it is secondary infection of bacterial infection.

What’s the Connection Between Antibiotics and Candidiasis?

Just about all antibiotics are associated with the increased risk of candidiasis, especially in long-term use. This is because antibiotics don’t kill only the harmful bacteria but the beneficial ones as well. This disrupts the balance between the microorganisms that live in the human body - while some are struggling to grow and multiply, others are thriving. Although they are normally harmless, the very same microorganisms can cause various health problems ranging from minor annoyance to potentially life-threatening conditions. And among these microorganisms are also yeasts from the Candida genus.

Types of Candidiasis

Antibiotic use has been shown to increase the risk of two types of candidiasis: yeast infection of the mouth and vaginal yeast infection. Though both can be very disturbing and cause a great deal of discomfort, yeast infection of the mouth - also known as thrush - and vaginal yeast infection usually aren’t dangerous and can easily be treated with antifungal medications. However, if the yeasts enter the bloodstream, they can cause a potentially very serious widespread infection (known as candidemia or invasive candidiasis). This type of candidiasis is most often observed in immunocompromised individuals but it can also be a complication of an untreated thrush or vaginal yeast infection.

Symptoms of Candidasis

Symptoms of candidiasis depend on the affected part/area of the body. Vaginal yeast infection causes severe itching of the vaginal area, white cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge, soreness or/and painful intercourse. Thrush, on the other hand, is characterised by white patches in the mouth and on the tongue, sore throat and difficulty swallowing. Symptoms of candidemia vary greatly because the infection may involve different parts of the body. However, it is almost always accompanied by fever.

Treatment of Candidiasis

All types of candidiasis are treated with antifungal medications, while the type of medication and duration of treatment depend on the part(s) of the body affected and the severity of infection.