Candidiasis is a skin infection produced by Candida, a yeast-like fungus. This type of infection is caused by fungi that live on the hair, nails and outer skin layers. Normally, this yeast lives in the mouth, digestive tract and the vagina without creating any problems. Under certain conditions, such as antibiotic use, immunosuppression or diabetes, the fungus begins to multiply which generates the infection.
With cutaneous candidiasis, usually in a warm, moist area, the skin develops an infection from the Candida fungi. Candidiasis can manifest as diaper rash, oral thrush or a vaginal yeast infection. Antibiotics and birth control pills increase the chances of getting Candidiasis. Infections of the nails (onychomycosis) and of the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis) can also come from Candidiasis.
Types of Candidiasis
The most common forms of Candidiasis are:
An oral yeast infection, thrush shows redness, cracking or white patches in the mouth
Patches of red, raw skin that develops in creases, like under the breasts, belly or groin; itching may also occur
Yeast infection in the vagina that is often accompanied by cottage-cheese like discharge, pain and burning
Located in the esophagus, this yeast infection may cause painful swallowing and chest pains
Depending on the area affected, signs of Candidiasis vary and may include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- White skin lesions
Some patients experience no symptoms at all.
In general, Candidiasis responds well to antifungal medications which can come in the form of pills, topicals, mouthwash, cream or suppositories. Some of these medicines are available over-the-counter but others require a prescription.
Take these steps to increase the odds against developing Candidiasis:
- Take antibiotics only as directed
- Use good hygiene
- Wear natural undergarments
- Wash hands often