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Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

(Moniliasis)

By

Denise M. Aaron

, MD, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine

Reviewed/Revised Sep 2023
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Candidiasis is infection with the yeast Candida.

  • Candidiasis tends to occur in moist areas of the skin.

  • This skin infection may cause rashes, scaling, itching, and swelling.

  • Doctors examine the affected areas and view skin samples under a microscope or in a culture.

  • Antifungal creams or antifungal medications given by mouth usually cure candidiasis.

Yeast is a type of fungus.

Candida is a yeast that normally resides on the skin and in the mouth, digestive tract, and vagina and usually causes no harm. Under certain conditions, however, Candida can overgrow on mucous membranes and moist areas of the skin. Typical areas affected are the lining of the mouth, the groin, the armpits, the spaces between fingers and toes, on an uncircumcised penis, under the breasts, the nails, and the skinfolds of the stomach. Candida can also cause infections in other areas of the body such as the mouth, esophagus, and vagina (see also Candidiasis Candidiasis Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by several species of the yeast Candida, especially Candida albicans. The most common type of candidiasis is a superficial infection of... read more Candidiasis ).

Conditions that enable Candida to infect the skin include the following:

People taking antibiotics may develop candidiasis because the antibiotics kill the bacteria that normally reside on the body, allowing Candida to grow unchecked. Corticosteroids or immunosuppressive therapy after organ transplantation can also lower the body’s defenses against candidiasis. Inhaled corticosteroids, often used by people with asthma, sometimes cause candidiasis of the mouth.

Symptoms of Candidiasis

Symptoms of candidiasis depend on the location of the infection.

Cutaneous candidiasis

Candidiasis infection in skinfolds or in the navel usually causes a bright red rash, sometimes with breakdown of skin. Small pustules may appear, especially at the edges of the rash, and the rash may itch intensely or burn. A candidal rash around the anus may be raw, white or red, and itchy.

Vaginal candidiasis and penile candidiasis

Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include a white or yellow cheeselike discharge from the vagina and burning, itching, and redness along the walls and external area of the vagina.

Penile candidiasis most often affects men with diabetes, uncircumcised men, or men whose female sex partners have vaginal candidiasis.

Sometimes the rash may not cause any symptoms, but usually the infection causes a red, raw, itching, burning, or sometimes painful rash on the head of the penis.

Thrush

Thrush is candidiasis inside the mouth Candidiasis Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by several species of the yeast Candida, especially Candida albicans. The most common type of candidiasis is a superficial infection of... read more Candidiasis . The creamy white patches typical of thrush cling to the tongue and sides of the mouth and may be painful. The patches can be scraped off with a finger or blunt object and may bleed when scraped.

Thrush in otherwise healthy children is not unusual, but in adults it may signal a weakened immune system, possibly caused by cancer, diabetes, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The use of antibiotics that kill off competing bacteria increases the risk of developing thrush.

Angular cheilitis (perlèche)

Angular cheilitis is candidiasis at the corners of the mouth, which causes cracks and tiny fissures. It may stem from chronic lip licking, thumb sucking, ill-fitting dentures, or other conditions that make the corners of the mouth moist enough that yeast can grow.

Nail candidiasis

Candidal paronychia Chronic Paronychia Chronic paronychia is recurring or persistent inflammation of the nail fold, typically of the fingernails. (See also Acute Paronychia.) Chronic paronychia occurs almost always in people whose... read more Chronic Paronychia is candidiasis in the nail folds or cuticles, which causes painful redness and swelling around the nail. In longstanding infection, the area underneath the nail may turn white or yellow, and the nail plate may separate from the nail bed (onycholysis Onycholysis The terms deformities and dystrophies are often used interchangeably, sometimes even by doctors. However, their meanings are slightly different. Deformities: Changes in nail shape... read more Onycholysis ). This disorder typically occurs in people with diabetes or a weakened immune system or in otherwise healthy people whose hands are subjected to frequent wetting or washing.

Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis

Diagnosis of Candidiasis

  • A doctor's examination of the skin

  • Examination or culture of scraping sample

Usually, doctors can identify candidiasis by observing its distinctive rash or the thick, white, pasty residue it generates.

Treatment of Candidiasis

  • Antifungal medications applied to the skin or taken by mouth

  • Measures to keep the area dry

Treatment of candidiasis typically depends on the location of the infection. (See also table .)

Infections in skinfolds are treated with antifungal creams, powders, solutions, or other products that are applied directly to the skin (topical). Examples include miconazole, clotrimazole, oxiconazole, ketoconazole, econazole, ciclopirox, and nystatin. In healthy people, skinfold infections are usually easily cured. Keeping the skin dry helps clear up the infection and prevents it from returning. Solutions that dry out the skin (such as Burow solution) or topical antiperspirants help keep the surface area dry. Keeping the area dry may also help prevent a recurrence. People who have many infected skinfolds may be given medications by mouth (such as fluconazole).

Vaginal candidiasis Diagnosis A vaginal yeast infection (also called candidiasis) is caused by an infectious organism called Candida, usually Candida albicans. A vaginal yeast infection may cause intense itching... read more is treated with antifungal medications that may be applied as a cream to the affected area, inserted into the vagina as a suppository, or taken by mouth (such as fluconazole).

Diaper rash Diaper rash (diaper dermatitis) A rash is an abnormal change in the texture or color of the skin. Known causes of rashes include irritation, allergies, drugs, and bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Rashes include redness... read more Diaper rash (diaper dermatitis) is treated with more frequent changes of diapers, use of super-absorbent or ultra-absorbent disposable diapers, and a cream that contains an antifungal medication (for example, butoconazole, clotrimazole, fluconazole, ketoconazole, or miconazole).

Candidal paronychia is treated by protecting the area from wetness. Doctors give antifungal medications that are taken by mouth or applied to the skin. These infections are often difficult to treat.

Thrush in adults is treated with medications that go directly in the mouth. An antifungal medication (such as clotrimazole) may be given as a tablet or lozenge that dissolves in the mouth. Doctors may also have people gargle with liquid nystatin for as long as possible and then spit it out or swallow it. Doctors may also give medications in pill form that are swallowed (such as fluconazole).

Thrush in infants may be treated with liquid nystatin. The liquid can be applied with a finger or cotton swab to the cheek pouches inside the mouth.

Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis is treated with fluconazole taken by mouth. This medication is taken for a long time.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
Aloe Vesta, Antifungal, AZOLEN TINCTURE, Baza, Cruex, Desenex, Desenex Jock Itch, Fungoid, Lotrimin AF, Lotrimin AF Antifungal Liquid, Lotrimin AF Deodorant, Lotrimin AF Powder, Lotrimin AF Spray, Micaderm , Micatin, Miconazole 7, Micotrin AP, Micro-Guard , Mitrazol, Monistat 1 Day or Night Combination Pack, Monistat 1 Vaginal Ovule Combination Pack, Monistat 1 Vaginal Ovule Combination Pack (Prefilled), Monistat 3, Monistat 3 Vaginal Cream (Prefilled), Monistat 3 Vaginal Cream Combination Pack, Monistat 3 Vaginal Cream Combination Pack (Prefilled), Monistat 3 Vaginal Ovule Combination Pack, Monistat 3 Vaginal Suppositories Combination Pack, Monistat 7, Monistat 7 Vaginal Cream Combination Pack, Monistat-Derm, Mycozyl AP, Neosporin AF, Novana Anti-Fungal, Oravig, Remedy, Remedy Phytoplex, Soothe & Cool INZO, Ting Antifungal, Triple Paste AF , Vagistat-3, Zeasorb Athlete's Foot, Zeasorb Jock Itch
Alevazol , Antifungal, Anti-Fungal, ATHLETE'S FOOT, Cruex, Desenex, Fungoid, Gyne-Lotrimin, Lotrimin, Lotrimin AF, Lotrimin AF Ringworm, Micotrin AC, Mycelex, Mycelex Troche, Mycozyl AC
Oxistat
Extina, Ketodan, Kuric, Nizoral, Nizoral A-D, Xolegel
Ecoza, Spectazole, Zolpak
Ciclodan, Ciclodan Nail Solution, Loprox, Loprox TS, Penlac
Bio-Statin , KLAYESTA, Mycostatin, Nyamyc, Nyata, Nystex, Nystop, Pedi-Dri
Diflucan
Gynazole-1
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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