A yeast infection is a common fungal infection caused by Candida albicans. These organisms live on our bodies and are not harmful when under control. A yeast infection is commonly associated with the vagina, where it is characterized by itching, tenderness, and a thick white discharge. However, yeast infections can occur to anyone, male or female, adult or child and anywhere on the body, though they are more commonly found in moist warm folds of skin like the underarms and groin area.
Thrush is a common form of yeast infection that develops in the mouth and is common in babies, patients undergoing chemotherapy, and those infected with HIV.
Patients sometimes confuse the conditions of a yeast infection with those of a UTI, or urinary tract infection. The differences are:
When a woman has a vaginal yeast infection she will experience itching and burning sensations and the abnormal discharge. Yeast infections can also be identified during a pelvic exam and pap smear. When yeast infections develop on other parts of the body, in most cases an itchy red rash forms and the patient may notice an odor. Dr. Boyd can usually diagnose a yeast infection by sight, but may also take a swab from the rash to test for the presence of the Candida fungus.
Vaginal yeast infections can be treated with either an oral or topical antifungal medication. The topical medication is inserted into the vagina in either cream or pessary form via an applicator. Women are advised to eat a balanced diet that includes food with live cultures like yogurt. They are also advised to avoid using harsh or fragranced soaps and to rinse thoroughly with water.
Oral thrush is treated with an antifungal mouthwash that includes nystatin. Antifungal lozenges and pills are also available. Thoroughly clean any items that are put into the mouth, particularly for babies and those who wear dentures.
Breastfeeding mothers may also want to consider being evaluated for a Candida infection on the breast. When the infection is present elsewhere on the skin, clotrimazole creams and lotions should be applied to the rash. Dr. Boyd can provide prescriptions for stronger doses of these medications if necessary.
Anyone experiencing a rash accompanied by itching or burning sensations should make an appointment with Dr. Boyd today.
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