Although all three are scientifically part of the Kingdom Fungi, they are different structurally, the way the feed, and the way they reproduce. This is important to know when it comes to diagnosing which type of fungal infection you have and how it should be treated.
Molds are classified in the Phyla Zygomycota, Deuteromycota and Ascomycota. They spread thread like hyphae throughout their food source and excrete enzymes to breakdown the food source and then absorb the nutrients. They usually feed on dead organisms, but some species can occasionally infect living organisms. They reproduce by spores which can cause allergic reactions in some people and some species can infect the respiratory tract of people when the spores find their way into the sinuses or lungs of people with weakened immune systems. They’re treated with strong antifungal medication.
Athlete’s foot/ Ring Worm
This fungus belongs in the Ascomycota Phylum, the Tinea Genus and is a parasitic fungus. It feeds on living skin tissue usually on the feet or groin by using hyphae which grow into the organism, killing skin cells in the process. They reproduce by transmission from person to person. They are treated with antifungal creams and naturally with tea tree oil. Up to 20% of the human population is infected with this fungus.
This type of fungus is in the Ascomycota and the Basidiomycota Phyla and are further divided into the most common Genus Saccharomycetales (bakers and brewers yeast) and Candida (yeast that cause infections). They both reproduce by budding and feed on sugars. They both are usually are unicellular, but Candida can respond to environmental cues and start forming multicellular filaments that invade tissues. This happens more regularly when Candida alibicans is in overabundance on or in the body. Yeast infections can be treated with antifungals or by natural methods covered on this site.
So while Molds, Athlete’s foot, and Yeast infections are all fungus, they are indeed different and interact with the human body differently. When dealing with fungal infections it’s important to get the correct diagnosis and then treat the different fungal infection accordingly.