Cutaneous Candida Infection An Overview

Published: 15th October 2008
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The most prevalent form of Candidal infection is Cutaneous Candida, an infection of the outermost layer of the skin. It is said that almost 80% of human beings have Candida fungi on the skin and thus, people are most likely to develop the infection on the skin, especially when their immune system gets weak. Healthy people normally do not get infected that easily as they have strong immune system that prevent diseases.

There are several forms of Cutaneous Candidiasis; among the identified are intertrigo, "Erosio interdigitalis blastomycetica," diaper rash, Candidal balanitis, Perianal candidiasis, and Candidal folliculitis.

Intertrigo infection are found in warm and moist parts of the body like the groin, armpit and beneath the breasts. This is characterized by well defined reddening and softening of skin.

Erosio interdigitalis blastomycetica affects the spaces between fingers and toes. Signs include inflammation and breaking out of the skin in the said areas.

Candidiasis in form of diaper rash is common to infants who have probably gotten the Candida fungi from the mother upon birth. The infection starts in the area surrounding the anus and then spreads toward the sex organ and the inner thighs. The skin is eroded and partly scaly. Small blister-like lesions can sometimes be found on the infected area.

Candidal balanitis affects the male sex organ, particularly the end part of the penis and the inner part of the foreskin. The infected area is inflamed and have several distinct blister-like lesions filled with pus.

Perianal candidiasis affects the anus and the surrounding area. In this kind of Candidal infection, lesions are worse. The skin reddens and softens more intensely. Candidal folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles and thus, symptoms appear in the hairy parts of the body, including the scalp. Tiny pustules usually appear on the base of the hair follicles.

There are also other rare forms of cutaneous candidiasis: generalized, disseminated and congenital. There is also the so called Candidal granulomas, a candidal infection characterized by thickening of the skin and formation of large and dry lesions.

Generalized cutaneous candidiasis involves the genitals, the anus and the surrounding areas; the trunk; the feet; and the hands. It affects young and old ones alike.

Disseminated candidiasis unlike other kinds starts inside and develops outwards, sometimes forming lesions on the skin. The reason why it develops this way is that the Candida fungi first contaminate the bloodstream and then the blood carries them to the skin.

Congenital cutaneous candidiasis is experienced mostly by not that common but they mostly affect newly born infants. Mortality rates among babies infected with congenital cutaneous candidiasis are high-above 50 percent.

Basically, all the abovementioned forms of cutaneous candidiasis are caused by prolonged exposure of the skin to moisture. The areas where the infection occurs are warm; thus, moisture easily builds up.

People who frequently immerse their hands in water, those who use corticosteroid creams and as well as those fat people who find it hard to keep their skin dry are prone to cutaneous candidiasis. Newly born babies are have very thin and delicate skin, so even when they are dry, they are prone to having the infection.

Common clinical manifestations of persons with those infections include itching and discomfort on the infected area. Those experiencing more severe episodes of candidiasis may experience pain, especially in areas that closely touch the clothes.

Charlene J. Nuble is a healthcare professional who loves writing about women's issues, parenting and other health related stuffs. Click on the link to learn more about Candida...

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