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What is a yeast infection?

Yeast is a fungus normally found on your skin. It’s also found in your digestive system. If you’re a woman, you also have yeast in your vaginal area. When too much yeast grows on your skin or other areas, it can cause an infection. This infection is also called candidiasis.

 


What causes a yeast infection?

A yeast infection can happen if your skin gets damaged. Yeast can also “overgrow” in warm or humid conditions. An infection can also happen if you have a weak immune system. Taking antibiotics can also cause an overgrowth of yeast. That’s because antibiotics kill the healthy bacteria in your body that normally keep the yeast in balance.

 


What are the risk factors for yeast infection?

Anyone can get a yeast infection. Those at higher risk for it include:

  • Infants
  • People who wear dentures
  • People taking antibiotics
  • People getting cancer treatment
  • People with other health conditions, such as HIV or diabetes

 


What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?

The symptoms of a yeast infection depend on where it is located in the body. The chart below shows the most common symptoms of a yeast infection. But yours may be slightly different.

Location

Symptoms

Skin folds or navel

  • Rash with redness and skin breakdown
  • 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 may mean you have yeast in your 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 a yeast infection may look like other skin conditions. Always see your physician for a diagnosis
.



How is yeast infection diagnosed?

Your physician will ask about your symptoms and medical history and will also give you a physical exam. A bit of skin may be scraped or removed to be examined to confirm the diagnosis.

 


How is yeast infection treated?

Your healthcare provider will consider your age, overall health, how widespread the infection is and other factors to determine your treatment.

Yeast infections can be easily treated with ointments or other anti-yeast (antifungal) creams.

  • Yeast infections of the vagina or penis can be treated with creams or medicated suppositories. Sometimes an oral anti-yeast medicine is used.
  • Yeast infection in the mouth (thrush) may be treated with a medicated mouthwash. Or it may be treated with lozenges that dissolve in the mouth.
  • If you have a severe infection and have a weak immune system, you may need to take an oral anti-yeast medicine.
  • Esophageal yeast infections are usually treated with oral or intravenous anti-yeast medicines.
  • Yeast infections of the nails are treated with an oral anti-yeast medicine.
  • Yeast infections in the skin folds can be treated with anti-yeast powders.

 


Can a yeast infection be prevented?

You can prevent some yeast infections by doing these things:

  • Use good oral hygiene to help prevent yeast infection in your mouth (thrush). This includes brushing and flossing your teeth every day and using mouthwash as needed.
  • Wear cotton underwear to help to prevent a vaginal or genital yeast infection. If you are a woman and get vaginal yeast infections often, you may want to take probiotics.
  • Keep areas where skin rubs up against skin dry and try to reduce friction.