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Fungal Infection

Effects, Nutrition/Diet, Herbs, Vitamins/Supplements, Nails

Fungal Infection, Nutritional Treatment/Support, Recommendations, Considerations

Certain types of fungi (most commonly candida and tinea) can infect the skin and/or mucous membranes; they can also grow under the nails, between the toes, or on internal surfaces of the colon and other organs.

Fungal infection of the skin is most common in places where skin tends to be moist and one skin surface is in contact with another, such as the groin area ("jock itch") and between the toes ("athlete's foot").  A type of scalp infection  known as tinea capitis is found mainly in schoolchildren, although adults also may be affected.  Moist, possibly itchy, red patches anywhere on the body can indicate fungal infection.  In babies, a fungal infection can manifest itself as diaper rash that makes the skin bright red in light-skinned babies and darker brown in dark-skinned babies.

Fungal infection of the mouth is referred to as oral thrush, a condition in which creamy-looking white patches from on the tongue and the mucous membranes of the mouth.  If the patches are scraped off, bleeding may result.  This condition is most common in infants and in those with compromised immune systems.

Nursing mothers sometimes develop a candida infection of the nipples that causes severe pain while feeding.  This can be further complicated if the baby develops oral thrush; it can lead to a "ping-pong" effect in which mother and baby continually reinfect each other.

Fungal infection under the nails (paronychia) or between the toes may cause discoloration and swelling, and the nails may become raised above the surface of the nail bed.  In fungal infection of the vagina (yeast infection), a cheesy discharge is present, usually accompanied by intense itching.

Ringworm, also known as tinea infection, is a fungal infection of the skin or scalp.  Caused by various species of fungi - mainly microspora, trichophyta, and epidermophyta, it is characterized by the development of small red spots that grow to a size of about one-quarter inch in diameter.  As the spots expand, the centers tend to heal and clear while the borders are raised, red, and scaly, giving them a ringlike appearance.  Like other fungal infections, ringworm can be very itchy.

Recurrent fungal infections are a common sign of depressed immune function.  The people most likely to be affected are those who have diseases such as diabetes or cancer, or who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  Women who use oral contraceptives and people taking antibiotics are at higher risk as well, as are people who are obese and/or who perspire heavily.

Source:  Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC and James F. Balch, M.D.


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This information is not intended to treat or cure any disease. For questions concerning health conditions and the use of dietary supplements, please consult your physician. Do not use this website as a substitute for appropriate medical care and consultation, nor should any information in it be interpreted as prescriptive. See Disclaimer for further information.