Is candida a parasite? A simple guide to understanding candida

Are you trying to figure out more about candida and are asking, "Is candida a parasite?" Read this article to learn more.

Candida is part of the large group of organisms known as fungi.

Mushrooms, bread mold, and mildew are the best-known types of fungi, yet, research suggests there may be over 5 million fungal species on Earth today.

Many fungi play a vital role in decomposition and are thus an important part of life on our planet.

However, when parasitic fungi occur in the wrong place at the wrong time, they can cause problems.

So, what is candida? Is candida a parasite or is it involved in decomposition?

Types of Fungi

 There are four main types of fungi. These are:

  • Ascomycota – yeasts and sac fungi
  • Basidiomycota – club fungi
  • Chytridiomycota – chytrids
  • Zygomycota – bread molds
  • Lichens

These classifications depend on how the fungus reproduces sexually as well as the shape and internal structure of the sporangia. Sporangia are the spore-producing parts of the fungi.

There's also a fifth grouping, the Deuteromycota, for fungi that can't produce sexually.

Candida is a yeast-type fungus and thus classified as Ascomycota fungi. Most fungi are either saprotrophs or parasites.

Is Candida a Parasite or a Saprotroph?

Some fungi, called saprotrophs, feast on dead organisms, while others feed off live organisms and classed as parasites.

In general, these parasitic fungi don't cause any harm, but they can cause infections if present in unusually large numbers. These afflictions include:

  • Athlete's foot
  • Dandruff
  • Fingernail and toenail infections
  • Ringworm
  • Rosacea
  • Swimmer's ear
  • Valley Fever
  • Yeast infections

Candida normally lives inside the body in places like the mouth, vagina, and gut as well as on the skin. Since it has a living host, candida falls into the classification of a parasite.

What Is Candidiasis?

Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by an overabundance of candida fungi or when it ventures beyond its usual habitats into the bloodstream or internal organs.

Thrush is a candida yeast infection of the mouth, while candidiasis of the vagina's known simply as a yeast infection

These types of yeast infections cause mild to severe discomfort and can lead to severe illness if left untreated. Consult a doctor if you notice any of these signs of a yeast infection.

If left unchecked candidiasis can cause permanent damage and may be fatal in rare instances.

Treatment for Candidiasis

There are hundreds of different species of candida, but candida Albans is most often involved in yeast infections.

It's easy to bring candida Albans under control with anti-fungal medications oral fluconazole or topical applications of boric acid, nystatin, or flucytosine.

Oral thrush usually responds to milder treatments like clotrimazole, miconazole, or nystatin.

Some types of invasive candida, like candida Auris, are resistant to known anti-fungal remedies. This type of candida infects the bloodstream and spreads easily, especially in confined places like hospitals.

Get the Details You Need

So, is candida a parasite? Yes, it is. Yet, in small doses, it's a normal part of the body's natural mycobiome. The mycobiome works with our gut bacteria to keep us healthy.

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