Conditions & Treatments

Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

Candidiasis, sometimes called moniliasis or a yeast infection, is an infection caused by yeast on the skin and/or mucous membranes.

Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

What is candidiasis?

Candidiasis, sometimes referred to as a yeast infection, is an infection caused by yeast on the skin and/or mucous membranes. Although yeast is normally a harmless inhabitant of the digestive system and vaginal area, it may cause an infection when the skin is damaged, when conditions are warm and humid leading to overgrowth, and/or when a person has a depressed immune system. Antibiotics can also cause yeast to grow, because the normal healthy bacteria in tissues are killed, letting the yeast grow unhampered.

What are the symptoms of candidiasis?

The symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the location of the infection. The following are the most common symptoms of a yeast infection. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Location

Symptoms

Skin folds or navel

  • Rash

  • Patches that ooze clear fluid

  • Pimples

  • Itching or burning

Vagina

  • White or yellow discharge from the vagina

  • Itching

  • Redness in the external area of the vagina

  • Burning

Penis

  • Redness on the underside of the penis

  • Scaling on the underside of the penis

  • Painful rash on the underside of the penis

Mouth (thrush)

  • White patches on the tongue and inside of the cheeks

  • Redness or soreness 

  • Difficulty swallowing can suggest candida in the esophagus 

Corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis)

  • Cracks and/or tiny cuts at the corners of the mouth

Nail beds

  • Swelling

  • Pain

  • Pus

  • White or yellow nail that separates from the nail bed

The symptoms of candidiasis may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is candidiasis diagnosed?

In addition to a medical history and physical examination, your doctor may scrape off a skin sample to confirm the diagnosis with a microscope or a culture.

Treatment for candidiasis

Specific treatment for candidiasis will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the condition

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the condition

  • Your opinion or preference

Candidiasis is highly treatable with medicated ointments or other anti-yeast (antifungal) preparations. Yeast infections of the vagina or penis can be treated with medicated suppositories or creams and sometimes an oral anti-yeast medication. Thrush may be treated with a medicated mouthwash or lozenges that dissolve in the mouth. Severe infection or infections in an immunocompromised person may be treated with oral anti-yeast medications. Esophageal candidiasis is usually treated with oral or intravenous anti-yeast medications. Candida infections of the nail are typically treated with an oral anti-yeast medication .

Treatment Programs


Massachusetts General Hospital understands that a variety of factors influence patients' health care decisions. That's just one reason why we're dedicated to ensuring patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Because a single option might not serve all patients, we offer a wide range of coordinated treatments and related services across the hospital. Patients should consult with their primary care doctor or other qualified health care provider for medical advice and diagnosis information.

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