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
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
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.
for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC and James F. Balch,