The human body is home to several types of fungi that usually remain in a dormant state. In certain cases, however, these fungi can change or get triggered by external factors to multiply and cause infections, commonly called as fungal or yeast infections. Although fungal infections can be caused by different species of fungi, most of the infections in the human body are caused by an organism callCandida Albicans
Also present in small quantities in the human body, Candida Albicans (also called as Candida) is responsible for most of the fungal infections contracted by the body.
Common Causes for Fungal Infections
Although there are plenty of reasons for a person to contract fungal infections, here are some of the most common causes for the same.
Weakened Immune System
A weak immune system would not be able to fight against harmful pathogens and organisms that can attack the healthy cells in the body. These pathogens can also aggravate the dormant fungi to grow to abnormal levels, thereby causing fungal infections.
Improper Personal Hygiene
Cleanliness plays an important part in keeping fungal infections at bay. Poor hygiene and unclean habits can cause the fungi in the body to multiply rapidly. This could lead to the onset of several fungal infections.
Overuse of Antibiotics and Other Drugs
Antibiotics and Immunosuppressive drugs are known to affect the healthy cells of the body in addition to getting rid of the harmful ones. Therefore, a person who is on antibiotics and other similar drugs would have a weakened immune system that is incapable of fighting off bacteria, fungi and other harmful pathogens. This in turn can lead to the growth of fungal infections in the body.
Types of Fungal Infections
Fungi (singular is fungus) are primitive organisms that live in and on air, water, soil, and other surfaces. Some types of fungus reproduce by sending tiny spores through the air. When these spores land on and grow on the body, they can cause fungal infections. People who have a weakened immune system and those who are taking certain medicines (e.g., antibiotics, corticosteroids) are at increased risk for fungal skin infections.
Also called as Tinea Corporis, Ringworm is a very common skin related fungal infection that is caused by fungi living in the epidermal layer of the skin. The infection can lead to the development of red rashes (looking like ringworms) on the skin in the infected area. The rashes are accompanied by severe itching and irritation. Ringworms can also be treated via antifungal medications.
Also known to affect the epidermis, Tinea Versicolor is caused by certain fungi in the skin that love oil glands and thrive on the subcutaneous glands present on the skin surface. This leads to the formation of rashes over the affected area. Tinea Versicolor is also called Pityriasis Versicolor, and is more prevalent in youngsters. The condition does not cause pain, itching or irritation, but can occur frequently even after treatment.
As the name suggests, this particular fungal infection occurs on the skin in and around the groin region. The condition is also called as Tine Cruris, and is caused by fungi which thrive in warm, moist areas. Jock Itch can lead to severe itching and irritation in the infected area. The condition can be treated by keeping the groin area clean and dry, and by applying an antifungal powder or cream every day.
This type of fungal infection is caused by fungi that thrive in the warm, moist areas of the skin folds (ex: the armpits, thighs, groins, underneath breasts and fat folds). Typical symptoms of Intertrigo include the appearance of rashes in the infected area followed by pain and irritation.
Also called as Onychomycosis, fungal nails are caused by fungi that live near the nail bed. Improper hygiene can cause these fungi to grow in the region where the nail and toe connect. This in turn would cause the nails to become thick and brittle. In certain cases, the infected nail would separate from the nail bed and cause immense pain. Fungal nails can be treated with oral antifungal medicines as lotions and creams would not be effective.
Usually occurring inside the mouth, Thrush is a fungayeast infection caused by the Candida fungus. Usually caused by a weakened immune system, the infection can lead to the formation of white lesions on the lips, tongue, gums, inner cheeks, throat or the roof of the mouth. The lesions are extremely painful and can bleed if accidently scraped (for ex: while brushing). IN certain cases, thrush can also cause severe throat pain and fever. The most common form of treatment for this fungal infection is oral antifungal medications
Also called toe web infection, this is the most common kind of athlete’s foot. It usually occurs between the two smallest toes. This form of athlete’s foot can cause itching, burning, and scaling and the infection can spread to the sole of the foot.
Also called as Tinea Capitis, Scalp Ringworm is a fungal infection that affects the skin and hair follicles on the scalp. The fungi behind the infection can affect the skin and enter the hair follicles to cause intense infection inside the epidermis. In most cases, the infection would lead to hair fall and the formation of a red rash in the infected region. The best known treatment for Tine Capitis is an oral antifungal medication that would work better than topical creams and lotions.