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Candida Albicans

Transmitting Candida Albicans

Most cases of Candida albicans infection are caused by the person's own Candida organisms. Candida yeasts usually live in the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina without causing symptoms. Symptoms develop only when Candida albicans becomes overgrown in these sites. Rarely, Candida albicans can be passed from person to person, such as through sexual intercourse.

Diagnosing Candida Albicans

The symptoms of genital candidiasis are similar to those of many other genital infections. Making a diagnosis usually requires laboratory testing of a genital swab a physician takes from the affected area.

Treatment Options for Candida Albicans

Antifungal drugs -- which are taken orally, applied directly to the affected area, or used vaginally -- are the drugs of choice for vaginal yeast infections. Although these drugs usually work to cure the infection (80 percent to 90 percent success rate), infections that do not respond to treatment are becoming more common, especially in HIV-infected women receiving long-term antifungal therapy. Prolonged and frequent use of these treatments can lessen their effectiveness.
Both three-day and seven-day treatments may be effective treatment options for Candida albicans infections.
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for Candida infections are becoming more widely available. As a result, more women are diagnosing themselves with yeast infections and using one of a family of drugs called "azoles" for therapy. However, misdiagnosis is common, and studies have shown that as many as two-thirds of all OTC drugs sold to treat Candida albicans infections were used by women without the disease.
Overuse of these antifungal medications can increase the chance that they will eventually not work (the fungus develops resistance to the drugs). Therefore, it is important to be sure of the diagnosis before beginning treatment with over-the-counter or other antifungal medications.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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