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Candidiasis (yeast infection)

Candidiasis is an infection caused by a group of yeasts. There are more than 20 species of Candida, the most common being Candida albicans. These fungi live on all surfaces of our bodies. Under certain conditions, they can become so numerous they cause infections, particularly in warm and moist areas. Examples of such infections are vaginal yeast infections (thrush), oral thrush, skin and nappy rash, and nail bed infections.

Candidal infections commonly occur in warm moist body areas, such as underarms. Usually the skin effectively blocks yeast, but any breakdown or cuts in the skin may allow this organism to penetrate.

Typical affected areas in babies include the mouth and nappy areas.

In adults, oral yeast infections become more common with age. Adults also can have yeast infections around dentures, under the breast and lower abdomen, nail beds and beneath other skin folds. Most of these candidal infections clear up easily with treatment.

Rarely, the yeast infection may spread throughout the body. Systemic candidal disease can be fatal.

Yeast infections that return may be a sign of more serious conditions.

Pictures of candidiasis

Candidiasis can affect various part of the body. Here are some pictures of candidiasis.

White plaques representing thrush are present inside the cheek and under the tongue.

Rash of candidiasis in the armpit

A fingernail with candidal infection becomes red, swollen, and tender with an occasional discharge.

Soreness and cracks at the sides of the mouth is a frequent expression of candidal infection in elderly people.

Yeast infection causes

In women, yeast infections are a common cause of vaginal burning, itching and discharge. Yeasts are found in the vagina of most women and can overgrow if the environment in the vagina changes. Antibiotic and steroid use are common reasons for yeast overgrowth. But pregnancy, menstruation, sperm, diabetes, and contraceptive pills also can contribute to developing a yeast infection. Yeast infections are more common after menopause.

In people who have a weakened immune system because of cancer treatments, steroids, or diseases such as AIDS, candidal infections can occur throughout the entire body and can be life-threatening. The blood, brain, eye, kidney and heart are often affected. The candidal fungus also can grow in the lungs, liver and spleen. Candida is the leading cause of oesophagitis, or inflammation in the throat, in people with AIDS.

Some people with weakened immune systems develop a systemic illness caused by Candida. These infections enter into the bloodstream through breakdown of, or cuts in the skin or mucous membranes. Candidal organisms may build up in an area because of frequent use of powerful antibiotics, which kill the bacteria that normally keep it under control.

Use of devices implanted in the placed into the body such as urinary catheters and IV drip equipment also provide access for the yeast to enter the body. Injecting drug users may inject the yeast directly into their bloodstream or deep tissues through dirty needles.

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