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Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Nov 2020| Content last modified Nov 2020
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What is candidiasis?

Candidiasis is an infection by Candida yeast. Because yeast is a type of fungus, candidiasis is a fungal infection, but it's usually referred to as a yeast infection. Candida yeast usually live on your body in small amounts without causing symptoms. But sometimes an overgrowth or infection can happen.

  • Yeast infections usually happen on the surface of your body, including your skin, mouth, or vagina

  • Sometimes people with a weak immune system get yeast infections of their internal organs (systemic candidiasis), which can be life-threatening

  • A yeast infection may cause redness, rash, itching, swelling, or creamy white patches

  • Some diaper rashes are caused by yeast infection

  • Doctors treat yeast infections with creams or medicines taken by mouth

What causes a yeast infection?

A yeast infection is caused by Candida yeast, a fungus that usually lives on your body in small amounts. In small amounts, you don't notice it. If the yeast grows too much, you get a rash.

Some causes of too much yeast growth include:

  • Wearing tight underwear, bras, or other clothing that holds sweat close to your body

  • Keeping babies in wet or dirty diapers too long

  • Having diabetes

  • Having a weak immune system because of disorders such as HIV infection or cancer

  • Taking antibiotics

Yeast likes to live in dark, moist areas of your body. So yeast infections are more common in these areas:

  • Under folds of skin in obese people

  • In the mouth

  • Under women's breasts

  • In the groin area or vagina

What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?

Symptoms depend on where the yeast infection is:

  • On your skin: Bright red, raw rash

  • Inside your vagina: White patches and white, cheeselike vaginal discharge

  • Inside your mouth: White patches (thrush)

  • Corner of your mouth: Cracks in the skin

Yeast Infections

How do doctors tell if I have a yeast infection?

Doctor can usually tell if you have a yeast infection just by looking at it. To know for sure, doctors may scrape off a tiny bit to view under a microscope.

How do doctors treat yeast infections?

Treatment depends on where the yeast infection is.

For infections on your skin, doctors will have you:

  • Apply antifungal creams, powders, or other products to the infected area

  • Keep the skin dry (for example, by changing a baby’s diaper more often)

  • Take medicine by mouth, if the infection is severe

For a yeast infection in your vagina, doctors will have you:

  • Apply an antifungal cream inside and outside your vagina

  • Sometimes, take medicines by mouth

For thrush in adults, doctors will have you:

  • Take an antifungal medicine

  • Sometimes, gargle with liquid antifungal medicine (nystatin)

For thrush in babies, doctors will have you apply a liquid antifungal medicine to the inside of your baby’s mouth.

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Anosmia is the total loss of smell. Most people with anosmia can taste sweet, sour, salty, and bitter substances but cannot distinguish among specific flavors. This is because the sense of smell makes it possible to distinguish among flavors, not taste receptors as many people erroneously believe. Which of the following is NOT a common cause of anosmia?
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