Candida albicans is a pathogenic fungus that causes the infection known as Candidiasis (Moniliasis) to man. It is found as a harmless opportunistic commensal in the gastrointestinal tract, mouth, oral and genital tracts, and a normal microflora of the human body. It is the most causative agent of mucosal infection and systemic infection and one of the life-threatening diseases in the world. It occurs more in individuals with system defects, and immunocompromised patients due to the prevalence of AIDS, or even in healthy persons.
As I have said earlier, it is a normal microflora of the body and therefore, cannot cause infection but when it transits from a communal form to a pathological one, which depends on the environment in which it is located, becomes infectious.
The morphological Candida albicans transition begins with the budding of blastospores and the formation of new cells. Afterward, Candida albicans is present in the form of yeast in the human microbiome, and from yeast to the hyphae form which is the pathogenesis form.
In this form, the cells enter your tissue by active penetration and induce endocytosis.
Candida can occur in two forms depending on the severity of the disease.
In one form, the mucosal infection such as “Thrush” has the characteristics of white spots, sores, etc, in the infected parts. The other form is “Vulvo Vaginal Candidiasis” which is the most common among women.
Why do people suffer from Oral Candidiasis
Oral candidiasis, also known as thrush affects your oral mucosal/ cavity and causes an overgrowth of Candida albicans. It is mostly among the elderly, and predisposing causes. However, people suffer because of the following reasons:
• Poor oral hygiene
• Dry mouth
• Steroids inhalers use
• A diet rich in carbohydrates
• Diseases of oral mucosal
• Oral cancer
• Drugs such as broad-spectrum antibiotics
• Antineoplastic agents
• Cushing’s syndrome
• HIV infections
• Nutritional deficiencies (Vitamin B)
How do you know oral candidiasis?
You can know oral candidiasis from the appearance. It appears as white pseudo membranes that occur on the surface of your labial and buccal mucosa, tongue, hard and soft palate, periodontal tissues, and oropharynx with a burning sensation in your mouth or tongue, the tongue eventually becomes bright red.
Why do people suffer from gastrointestinal candidiasis?
Candida albicans, as normal flora of the body, are found also in the intestines of every healthy individual.
It happens when the microbiome is unbalanced. This means the good bacteria are depleted and Candida is overgrown causing gastrointestinal candidiasis.
It occurs commonly as esophagitis and uncommonly as gastritis affecting the esophagus, stomach, and small intestines. It’s an opportunistic infection in persons infected with HIV, infection of the lower gastrointestinal tract, overgrowth of Candida spp. in stool, people with peptic ulcer disease or malignant neoplasms, and immunocompromised pediatric patients.
Gastrointestinal candidiasis can also be a result of the long-term use of antibiotics, a diet high in refined sugars, and processed carbohydrates (like wheat flour).
Symptoms of gastrointestinal candidiasis
1. Bloating after eating
3. Excessive gas
The use of either antacid or laxative can help give you relief.
Why do people suffer from Vulvovaginal candidiasis?
Candida albicans is the primary causative agent of vulvovaginal candidiasis. It occurs in the lower female reproductive tract, that is, only women are prone to vulvovaginal candidiasis. Although, some men with vaginal rashes are a result of Candida albicans gotten from their spouses or female sex partners. This happens when Candida has overgrown in your vagina, subsequent epithelial invasion, and production of virulence efforts.
Why do people suffer from vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC)?
This is because you are always using antibiotics, engaging in sexual activity, high estrogen-containing oral contraceptives, sometimes during pregnancy, use of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, environmental factors, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), exposure to some chemical irritants, and allergens.
How bacteria, parasites, viruses, and environmental factors contribute to vulvovaginal candidiasis.
1. Bacteria: Gardnarella is a harmless bacterium found in the vagina. It becomes pathogenic when it multiplies and overgrows and causes bacterial vulvovaginal candidiasis.
2. Parasites: Some parasites like Pinworms, Lice, etc, can cause vulvovaginal candidiasis.
3. Viruses: Sexually transmitted viruses like Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause vulvovaginal candidiasis.
4. Environmental factors: Internal environmental poor hygiene is not good for you. Also, always wearing tight clothing irritates your skin making it uncomfortable which may expose to you vulvovaginal candidiasis.
Symptoms of vulvovaginal candidiasis
1. Painful urination.
2. Soreness, redness, and swelling of the vulva.
3. Pain during sexual intercourse with your partner.
4. Itching and/or burning sensation around the vulva and vaginal opening.
5. Vaginal whitish discharge.
Is Candida albicans the same thing as yeasts?
Candida albicans are yeasts. Yeasts are fungi and they occur as spherical or ellipsoidal cells. True yeasts can reproduce sexually, developing ascospores or basidiospores under favorable conditions.
The false or yeast-like/ imperfect yeasts can only reproduce asexually by budding. The false yeasts sometimes grow partly as yeasts, and partly as pseudohyphae.
An example of true yeast is Cryptococcus neoformans, and that yeast-like is Candida Albicans.
Identification of candida albican
There are different methods of identifying candida albicans.
Candida yeasts are always small, oval, measuring 2-4um in diameter. Single budding may be seen under a microscope without being stained, and a stained smear may be seen attached to pseudohyphae under a microscope. However, here is what happens:
1. Your medical laboratory worker will take a sample from your high vaginal swab to isolate Candida albicans after 48hours of incubation at 37 degrees Celsius.
2. He mixes a small portion of the isolated Candida albicans with a small drop of distilled water or normal saline on a clean slide.
3. He places a clean cover glass slip over it and uses 10x of an objective lens of the microscope to observe immediately under the microscope.
4. He then adjusts the 10x objective lens of the microscope to 40x for viewing.
5. He takes note of the morphological characteristics of the yeast cells.
Permanent direct mount from a colony of cultured high vaginal swab sample.
1. Your medical laboratory worker again prepares a smear from the fungus isolate.
2. He fixes the smear by passing through a bunsen flame.
3. He places a drop of immersion oil on the fixed smear and covers it with a cover slip.
4. He uses 40x of the objective lens of the microscope and observes the morphological characteristics of the Candida albicans.