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Diseases & Topics

Candidiasis

Candidiasis, also known as a "yeast infection," is a common fungal infection that occurs when there is overgrowth of the fungus called Candida in a person's body. Candida is always present in the body in small amounts, usually in the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina. Symptoms develop only when Candida becomes overgrown in these sites. When an imbalance occurs, such as when the normal acidity of the vagina changes, hormonal balances change, or when antibiotics cause a decrease in natural bacteria, Candida can multiply and cause symptoms of candidiasis to appear.

Women with genital candidiasis (also known as VVC, or vulvovaginal candidiasis), usually experience genital itching or burning, with or without a "cottage cheese-like" vaginal discharge. Men with genital candidiasis may experience an itchy rash on the penis.

Most cases of Candida infection are caused by the person's own Candida organisms. Rarely, Candida can be passed from person to person, such as through sexual intercourse.

Several antifungal drugs are available to treat genital candidiasis. Because candidiasis and urinary tract infections share similar symptoms such as a burning sensation when urinating, it is important to see a doctor and obtain laboratory testing to determine the cause of the symptoms and determine effective treatment.

Other forms of candidiasis include invasive candidiasis, a bloodstream infection that spreads throughout the body, and candidiasis of the mouth and throat, also known as "thrush." Both are treated with antifungal medications.

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