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Quick Facts

Candidiasis

(Candidosis; Moniliasis; Yeast Infection)

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

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

Candidiasis is an infection caused by the Candida yeast, which is a type of fungus.

Candidiasis can occur:

  • On the surface of your body, which is rarely serious

  • Widespread inside your body (called invasive candidiasis), which is life-threatening

Candidiasis on the surface of your body can affect anyone. It usually occurs on warm, moist areas such as your:

  • Mouth

  • Armpits

  • Crotch

  • Skin between your toes or under your breasts

Invasive candidiasis usually happens to people who have a weak immune system What problems can the immune system have? The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system's job is to attack things that don’t belong in your body, including: Germs... read more or are in the hospital with a serious disease. It can run through your bloodstream and affect many organs, including your:

  • Heart valves

  • Brain

  • Eyes

  • Kidneys

  • Spleen

For both kinds of candidiasis, doctors give antifungal medicine.

What causes candidiasis?

Candida is normally present on your skin, in your intestines, and if you’re a woman, in your genital area. Usually, it doesn’t cause problems.

Candida infections on the surface of your body are more likely if you:

Widespread, invasive candidiasis happens mainly if you:

  • Are in the hospital for a serious problem such as major surgery or complications of AIDS

  • Have IV lines or tubes in your body

  • Are taking certain antibiotics by vein

What are the symptoms of candidiasis?

Symptoms depend on the type of candidiasis you have.

With candidiasis of your mouth, symptoms include:

  • White, creamy patches inside the mouth

  • Cracking at the corners of the mouth

With candidiasis of your vagina, you may have:

  • Thick, white or yellow cheeselike discharge from your vagina

  • White patches inside or outside your vagina

  • Itchy, irritated red areas inside or outside your vagina

With systemic candidiasis, your symptoms depend on what part of your body is affected. It can be hard for doctors to tell which symptoms are caused by the candidiasis and which are caused by other medical problems you may have.

How can doctors tell if I have candidiasis?

Doctors can usually recognize candidiasis on the outside of your body by looking at it. They may scrape off a sample of skin and look at it under the microscope.

For invasive candidiasis, doctors usually test a sample of your blood or tissue for the fungus.

How do doctors treat candidiasis?

Doctors treat candidiasis with antifungal medicines. Depending on what type of infection you have, you may take them as a cream, a pill, or by vein.

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