Candida is a genus of yeast that naturally occurs in the intestines, on the skin, and in mucous membranes. Most people have some level of Candida throughout the body. It’s usually harmless. However, an overgrowth of Candida can lead to an infection called candidiasis. The mouth and vagina are the two most common places for candidiasis. An overgrowth can also occur in the intestines. This can cause Candida to appear in your stool.
Signs and symptoms
- white, yellow, or brown mucus
- a white, yellow, or light brown string-like substance
- froth or foam
- loose stools
If people have a Candida overgrowth, they may also experience the following symptoms:
- a headache
- craving for sweets
- itching skin
Other symptoms of a Candida overgrowth depend on where the yeast is in the body. In the sections below, we look at symptoms that may develop when Candidaoccurs in different locations within the body:
- white areas inside the mouth
- red, inflamed tissue underneath the white patches, which may bleed
- cracked corners of the mouth
- pain when swallowing
- chest pain under the breastbone
- itchy or sore vagina and vulva
- thick, white discharge
- pain during urination or sex
- burning sensation
Medication use, certain health conditions, and lifestyle factors can all cause the balance of microbes and moisture levels in the body to change.
Healthful bacteria help keep Candida in check. Antibiotics kill good bacteria as well as bad bacteria, which can affect the balance of microbes in the body. This can cause an overgrowth of Candida.
Weakened immune system
People with health conditions that weaken the immune system — such as HIV, AIDS and some cancers may be more at risk of experiencing Candida overgrowth. This is because the body is less able to fight off infections.
High levels of stress may increase the risk of a Candida infection. One study found that exposing healthy rats to stress led to increased levels of Candidaon the rats’ tongues.
Smoking can also increase the risk of a Candida overgrowth, especially in the form of oral thrush. One study found that in participants who smoked, 58% had Candida present in their stools, while only 29% of nonsmokers had Candida present.
How is it treated?
Candida can be treated with antifungal medications. The most commonly used one, fluconazole, can be taken in pill form to treat Candida in your stool. If an underlying condition such as IBD is causing Candida in your stool, it’ll be treated as well. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to find the right treatment for you. Common treatments for IBD include anti-inflammatory drugs. If a medication is causing Candida in your stool, like proton pump inhibitors or antibiotics, talk to your doctor about the best way to discontinue the medication.