The following are the typical causes of candidiasis (these will be explained further in the article that follows):
- Broad-spectrum antibiotics4 – Antibiotics are effective when a bacterial infection in the body needs to be targeted and destroyed. However, broad-spectrum antibiotics do not specifically target one kind of bacteria. They target a wide range of invading bacteria, which can result in the 'good bacteria' responsible for maintaining healthy levels of Candida within the body also being killed off. A long course of these types of antibiotics can thus create an environment that facilitates the overgrowth of Candida.
- Birth control pills5 – A Candida infection can stem from the use of birth control pills. Although these pills are not a direct cause, they can lead to yeast infections as they may upset the natural fungal balance of the vagina. If birth control pills are taken along with a course of antibiotics and the woman in question also consumes a diet high in refined sugars, this can significantly increase her risk of a yeast infection (vaginal thrush) developing.
- Oral corticosteroids6 – These are used in inhalers for those with asthma and can lead to the systemic overgrowth of Candida.
- Weakened immune system7 – The very young, the elderly, those who suffer from autoimmune diseases as well as those with HIV/AIDS are at higher risk of developing candidiasis. This is due to the fact that their immune systems may not yet be strong (as is the case in infants and toddlers), or are compromised and cannot always fight off the infection and control the levels of Candida effectively.
- Diabetes8 – Those who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes tend to have higher sugar levels in the mouth as well as other mucous membranes. Seeing as Candida is a kind of yeast, and sugar is known to support the growth of yeast, this makes diabetics more susceptible to candidiasis.
- Cancer treatments9 – Radiation and chemotherapy work by killing off cancer cells but also tend to destroy the other healthy cells of the body which can adversely impact the sufferer's immune system. When a person's immune system is compromised, candida overgrowth may occur.
4. Effects Of Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics On Colonization Of Gastrointestinal Tracts Of Mice By Candida Albicans. American Society for Microbiology; 1994:602-603. https://aac.asm.org/content/aac/38/3/602.full.pdf. Accessed May 16, 2019.
5. Mayer F, Wilson D, Hube B. Candida albicans pathogenicity mechanisms. Virulence. 2013;4(2):119-128. doi:10.4161/viru.22913
6. van Boven J, de Jong-van den Berg L, Vegter S. Inhaled Corticosteroids and the Occurrence of Oral Candidiasis: A Prescription Sequence Symmetry Analysis. Drug Saf. 2013;36(4):231-236. doi:10.1007/s40264-013-0029-7
7. Onishi A, Iwasaku M, Sato A, Furukawa T. Interventions for the management of esophageal candidiasis in immunocompromised patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd011938
8. Rodrigues C, Rodrigues M, Henriques M. Candida sp. Infections in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus. J Clin Med. 2019;8(1):76. doi:10.3390/jcm8010076
9. Treatment O. Oral thrush: Prevention during cancer treatment. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK367590/. Published 2006. Accessed May 16, 2019.