Candidiasis: Nursing process (ADPIE)

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27-year-old Olivia Hartman presents to the gynecology clinic with complaints of vulvar itching,  white, clumpy vaginal discharge, and painful intercourse. She reports that she recently completed antibiotic therapy to treat an urinary tract infection. After a sample of the vaginal discharge is tested, the gynecologist diagnoses Olivia with candidiasis and antifungal treatment is prescribed.  

Now, candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by Candida species, most commonly Candida albicans. Candida albicans makes part of the normal human microbial flora, so it’s typically present in low numbers on the skin and mucous membranes, most notably the vaginal mucosa in females. Now, candidiasis occurs when there’s overgrowth of Candida albicans which disrupts the normal microbial flora. Most often, candidiasis affects the female reproductive organs, therefore it’s often referred to as candida vulvovaginitis. However, other frequent locations for Candida infection include the mouth, esophagus, and moist and warm areas of the skin, like groins or armpits. 

One of the most common risk factors for Candida overgrowth is recent antibiotic use, since it kills off some important bacteria that are also part of the normal microbial flora, which means that there’s normally less competition for Candida to thrive. Other important risk factors include having diabetes mellitus, being immunocompromised, or taking corticosteroids, all of which can lead to a weakened immune system that can’t keep Candida under control. Finally, there’s increased risk of candidiasis in those who use hot tubs, as well as those with intrauterine devices, implanted prosthetic devices or high estrogen levels, which can be due to combined oral contraceptive use, estrogen therapy, or pregnancy, since all these factors favor Candida overgrowth.


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