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Medicine > Infectious diseases > Candidiasis

Candidiasis, commonly called yeast infection or thrush, is an infection by the Candida albicans organism, a one-cellular fungus. It is best known as the most common cause of vaginal irritation of vaginitis but can also involve other mucous membranes. In rare cases, in immunocompromised persons, the infection can be systemic (widespread in many systems and present in blood).

At least three quarters of all women will experience candidiasis at some point in their lives. The Candida albicans organism is found in the vaginas of almost all women and normally causes no problems, however when it gets out of balance with the other "normal flora" an infection can result. Pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives and some antibiotics, and diabetes mellitus increase the risk of infection.

The most common symptoms are itching and irritation of the vagina and/or vulva. A whitish or whitish-gray discharge may be present, sometimes resembling cottage cheese, and may have a "yeasty" smell like beer or baking bread.

Candidiasis is treated with vaginal creams and/or vaginal suppositories. A woman with symptoms of candidiasis should have a gynecological (pelvic) examination by a doctor to be sure that the symptoms are not caused by another, more serious, disorder.

Following the health tips at Vulvovaginal health can help prevent candidiasis.

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