Candidiasis is a fungal infection due to any type of Candida (a type of yeast). When it affects the mouth, in some countries it is commonly called thrush. Signs and symptoms include white patches on the tongue or other areas of the mouth and throat. Other symptoms may include soreness and problems swallowing. When it affects the vagina, it may be referred to as a yeast infection or thrush. Signs and symptoms include genital itching, burning, and sometimes a white "cottage cheese-like" discharge from the vagina. Yeast infections of the penis are less common and typically present with an itchy rash. Very rarely, yeast infections may become invasive, spreading to other parts of the body. This may result in fevers along with other symptoms depending on the parts involved.
More than 20 types of Candida can cause infection with Candida albicans being the most common. Infections of the mouth are most common among children less than one month old, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems. Conditions that result in a weak immune system include HIV/AIDS, the medications used after organ transplantation, diabetes, and the use of corticosteroids. Other risks include dentures, following antibiotic therapy, and breastfeeding. Vaginal infections occur more commonly during pregnancy, in those with weak immune systems, and following antibiotic use. Individuals at risk for invasive candidiasis include low birth weight babies, people recovering from surgery, people admitted to intensive care units, and those with an otherwise compromised immune system.
Efforts to prevent infections of the mouth include the use of chlorhexidine mouthwash in those with poor immune function and washing out the mouth following the use of inhaled steroids. Little evidence supports probiotics for either prevention or treatment, even among those with frequent vaginal infections. For infections of the mouth, treatment with topical clotrimazole or nystatin is usually effective. Oral or intravenous fluconazole, itraconazole, or amphotericin B may be used if these do not work. A number of topical antifungal medications may be used for vaginal infections, including clotrimazole. In those with widespread disease, an echinocandin such as caspofungin or micafungin is used. A number of weeks of intravenous amphotericin B may be used as an alternative. In certain groups at very high risk, antifungal medications may be used preventatively.
Infections of the mouth occur in about 6% of babies less than a month old. About 20% of those receiving chemotherapy for cancer and 20% of those with AIDS also develop the disease. About three-quarters of women have at least one yeast infection at some time during their lives. Widespread disease is rare except in those who have risk factors.