Yeast Infections & Psoriasis: Unveiling Candida’s Impact & Relief

February 7, 2024

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Candida and psoriasis are two seemingly unrelated conditions, yet research shows they can be connected in some patients. This article explores the link between fungal infections like candidiasis and autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, including the impact yeast infections can have on psoriasis severity and treatment options for those with Candida-induced psoriasis.

What is Candida?

Candida is a type of yeast that naturally occurs in small amounts in places like the mouth, skin, gut, and vagina. When the growth of Candida goes unchecked, usually due to things like antibiotic use, illness, stress, or a compromised immune system, an overgrowth can occur. This is known as candidiasis or a yeast infection.

Common symptoms of Candida overgrowth include:

  • Itchy, red rash
  • White discharge
  • Pain during sex or urination
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Digestive issues

Candida species most often responsible for infection include:

  • Candida albicans
  • Candida glabrata
  • Candida parapsilosis
  • Candida krusei
  • Candida tropicalis

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an inflammatory autoimmune condition that causes rapid skin cell buildup, resulting in scaly patches, redness, and irritation. The most common form is plaque psoriasis which appears as thick, silvery scales or plaques on the skin.

Common symptoms and signs of psoriasis include:

  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Itching, burning, or soreness
  • Thickened or pitted nails
  • Red patches with silvery scales on elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, etc

While the underlying cause is not fully known, psoriasis involves an overactive immune system and genetics likely play a role as well. Flare-ups can occur due to certain triggers like stress, skin injury, weather changes, and infections.

So what does a superficial yeast infection have to do with an autoimmune condition like psoriasis? Research continues to uncover a complex bidirectional relationship between the two:

  • Those with psoriasis seem more prone to developing oral and genital candidiasis. This may be due to skin vulnerabilities or immunosuppressive medications.
  • Pre-existing Candida infection can act as a trigger for psoriasis flares in those already susceptible.
  • Treatment resistant psoriasis is more common in those with recurring Candida infections.
  • Higher Candida colonization levels appear to parallel more severe psoriasis cases.

The exact mechanisms behind this connection are still under investigation. One theory points to molecular mimicry, where the immune system gets confused between similar proteins. In attempting to attack the Candida, it inadvertently also goes after healthy tissue, initiating a psoriasis flare up.

More research is exploring if reducing Candida load could lessen psoriasis symptoms by eliminating a key trigger. Developing treatments that target the pathways shared by Candida and psoriasis may also hold promise for better management.

Treating Candida-Induced Psoriasis

For those whose psoriasis seems to stem from or becomes exacerbated by Candida, simultaneously treating both conditions is critical. Key areas to focus on include:

Addressing Underlying Causes

Getting any underlying issues related to recurring yeast infections under control can help prevent Candida-induced psoriasis flares. This may involve adjusting medications that suppress the immune system or treating co-existing health conditions.

Antifungal Medications

Prescription or over-the-counter antifungal medication can get Candida overgrowth under control. This may include oral drugs like fluconazole or topical creams containing clotrimazole or miconazole.

Immunosuppressants for Psoriasis

To treat the autoimmune response and symptoms of psoriasis, medications that suppress immune activity may be given. These can include methotrexate, cyclosporine, or biologics like adalimumab or infliximab.

Lifestyle Changes

Dietary modifications to discourage yeast, practicing proper hygiene, reducing stress, and losing weight can help minimize Candida risk and subsequent flares. Gentle skincare can also calm psoriasis symptoms.

Alternative Therapies

Some patients find benefit managing both infections from options like oral probiotics that restore healthy gut flora or topical applications of tea tree oil to ease skin irritation. Always consult a doctor first.

Frequently Asked Questions About Candida and Psoriasis

Can psoriasis increase my risk for vaginal yeast infections?

Yes, those with psoriasis seem to have a higher rate of oralgenital, and other candidiasis infections. This is likely due to vulnerabilities in psoriatic lesions and dry, cracked skin providing areas for Candida to take hold. Certain immunosuppressant medications may also increase susceptibility.

Is Candida a common trigger for psoriasis?

For those prone to psoriasis, pre-existing Candida infections can definitely act as instigating factors that kick off flare ups. Treating the fungal overgrowth may help reduce occurrences, particularly in cases of treatment resistant psoriasis.

If I treat my recurring yeast infections, will my psoriasis get better?

For some patients, yes – getting recurrent Candida infections under control appears to alleviate psoriasis severity. Lowering total fungal burden may mean less stimulation of the immune pathways that trigger psoriatic flares. Always check with your doctor.

Are there specialized treatments for Candida-induced psoriasis?

Topical antifungal creams, oral antifungals, and gentle skin care can treat superficial fungal infections. To address the underlying autoimmune response requires customized psoriasis medications like biologics which target specific inflammatory pathways shared by Candida.

Should I avoid yeast if I have psoriasis?

Limiting dietary yeast intake and practicing proper hygiene like changing damp clothes frequently can help restrict fungal overgrowth. However, yeast avoidance diets should only be attempted with medical guidance to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Probiotics may also help rebalance your microbiome.

Key Takeaways: Candida and Psoriasis

  • An opportunistic yeast like Candida can trigger psoriasis flares and exacerbate symptoms
  • Those with psoriasis seem prone to recurrent oral and genital Candida infections
  • Higher Candida load correlates to more severe psoriasis
  • Treating co-existing fungal infections may lessen psoriasis activity
  • Customized treatment plans should address both conditions
  • More research is needed on specifically targeting shared inflammatory pathways

Talk to your doctor if you suspect Candida or yeast infections are making your psoriasis worse. Identifying and controlling triggers is key to finding your best treatment path.

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