Some people are prone to candida, what is commonly called a yeast infection. This may be a vaginal infection in women, diaper rash in infants, or the oral counterpart, thrush. While irritating, candida is relatively harmless. A small amount of the candida fungus occurs naturally in the body, but occasionally it will experience an overgrowth if the good bacteria that keeps it in check is hampered. This can happen from stress, antibiotics, or a weakened immune system. Candida treatment typically involves a prescription antifungal. Invasive candidiasis, however, is far more serious. Here is what you need to know.

What is Invasive Candidiasis?

This is a severe fungal infection that can affect the lungs, liver, heart, brain, eyes, bones, and other organs in the body. It can also infect the bloodstream, a potentially dangerous condition known as candidemia. It is caused by a yeast called Candida, which is a fungus.

What Are The Symptoms Of Invasive Candidiasis?

Pinpointing specific symptoms can be difficult. Often, the sufferer is already in the hospital for another condition, and differentiating between the comorbid diseases may be difficult. Symptoms also depend on which organ is being affected. However, most people who present with invasive candidiasis almost always have a fever and accompanying chills, with an overall malaise. Invasive candidiasis may also be suspected after a course of antibiotics to treat a presumed bacterial infection fails to work.

Who Is Susceptible To Invasive Candidiasis?

Patients in the hospital or confined to nursing homes or extended care facilities are at higher risk as they usually have a less than stellar immune system function. Those being treated for cancer and receiving chemotherapy are also at risk. Kidney failure and hemodialysis is another at-risk population segment, as are those with HIV/AIDS or had recent gastrointestinal surgery. A recent broad-spectrum antibiotic course can also trigger invasive candidiasis.

How Is Invasive Candidiasis Diagnosed?

A simple blood draw is done. The blood is then sent to the laboratory, where it is cultured to see if Candida will grow. The results will take a couple of days. 

How Is Invasive Candidiasis Treated?

Intravenous antifungal medications is the usual treatment. In the case of candidemia, where the yeast has entered the bloodstream, the treatment will continue for at least 14 days after the last symptoms have disappeared. When the fungus has affected other parts of the body, such as the joints or heart, the treatment can last much longer. Yeast is not easy to get rid of.