|While small numbers of the Candida fungus usually live on the skin and around the vaginal area – they are generally harmless. The immune system and the ‘good’ bacteria that naturally exist on the skin and in the vagina usually stop the Candida from thriving and so a healthy balance is maintained.
However, when the conditions for Candida are just right, or when the immune system is weak, it multiplies and can cause a yeast infection. This overgrowth of yeast often occurs when the good bacteria are killed through the use of anti-bacterial soap, or antibiotics.
Other conditions that commonly trigger Candida growth are use of steroids, birth control pills, hormonal changes in pregnancy, menstruation or menopause as well as allergies, poor hygiene, stress, a poor diet or chemical poisoning.
Oral thrush, also caused by Candida albicans, is a common fungal infection in babies. The infection generally occurs within the first 6 months of life because babies’ immune systems are generally not very strong yet. Oral thrush usually presents as cracked skin in the corners of the mouth, and whitish or yellowish patches on the lips, tongue, or inside the cheeks. Other types of thrush include vaginal thrush, genital thrush and penile thrush.