Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What is a candida infection?"
How does it happen? I was showering and now I have one. I don't understand how this happened.
Candida infections are more commonly referred to as yeast infections and occur in warm, moist areas of the skin. Candida refers to a group of fungi, the most common of which is Candida albicans. This fungi is part of the normal flora that lives on all of our bodies and usually does not cause any problems, however given the correct conditions the fungi can grow more rapidly and cause what we typically think of as infections.
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Infections are more common in the very young, women, the elderly and those with decreased or altered immune systems. People with diabetes, taking steroids or other immunosuppressants, or with HIV/AIDS are at increased risk for infection. The most common candida infections are vaginal yeast infections, oral candidiasis, and skin infections (called diaper rash in infants). Very rarely the yeast can spread to the bloodstream and when this happens is very dangerous. Luckily yeast infections are are fairly simple to diagnose and treat. The most common symptoms of vaginal yeast infections are some redness, itching, irritation, and occasionally a discharge. Candida infections in other areas have similar symptoms. Keeping the affected areas clean and dry as much as possible while help limit their spread and prevent future episodes. Vaginal, skin, and oral Candida infections can all be treated topically, though with slightly different medications. Occasionally vaginal yeast infections can be treated with a single dose of oral fluconazole. So though, I’m not entirely clear from your question which type of yeast infection you have, the treatment is usually very simple. Your primary care physician or a gynecologist can best evaluate your symptoms and help find solutions that will work for you. Good luck!
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