Candidiasis, sometimes referred to as a yeast infection, is an infection caused by yeast on the skin and/or mucous membranes. Although yeast is normally a harmless inhabitant of the digestive system and vaginal area, it may cause an infection when the skin is damaged, when conditions are warm and humid leading to overgrowth, and/or when a person has a depressed immune system. Antibiotics can also cause yeast to grow, because the normal healthy bacteria in tissues are killed, letting the yeast grow unhampered.
The symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the location of the infection. The following are the most common symptoms of a yeast infection. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Skin folds or navel
Patches that ooze clear fluid
Itching or burning
White or yellow discharge from the vagina
Redness in the external area of the vagina
Redness on the underside of the penis
Scaling on the underside of the penis
Painful rash on the underside of the penis
White patches on the tongue and inside of the cheeks
Redness or soreness
Difficulty swallowing can suggest candida in the esophagus
Corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis)
Cracks and/or tiny cuts at the corners of the mouth
White or yellow nail that separates from the nail bed
The symptoms of candidiasis may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a medical history and physical examination, your doctor may scrape off a skin sample to confirm the diagnosis with a microscope or a culture.
Specific treatment for candidiasis will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Candidiasis is highly treatable with medicated ointments or other anti-yeast (antifungal) preparations. Yeast infections of the vagina or penis can be treated with medicated suppositories or creams and sometimes an oral anti-yeast medication. Thrush may be treated with a medicated mouthwash or lozenges that dissolve in the mouth. Severe infection or infections in an immunocompromised person may be treated with oral anti-yeast medications. Esophageal candidiasis is usually treated with oral or intravenous anti-yeast medications. Candida infections of the nail are typically treated with an oral anti-yeast medication .