|Classification and external resources|
Agar plate culture of Candida albicans
|eMedicine||med/264 emerg/76 ped/312 derm/67|
Candidiasis or thrush is a fungal infection (mycosis) of any of the Candida species, of which Candida albicans is the most common. Candidiasis encompasses infections that range from superficial, such as oral thrush and vaginitis, to systemic and potentially life-threatening diseases. Candida infections of the latter category are also referred to as candidemia and are usually confined to severely immunocompromised persons, such as cancer, transplant, and AIDS patients.
Superficial infections of skin and mucosal membranes by Candida causing local inflammation and discomfort are however common in many human populations. While clearly attributable to the presence of the opportunistic pathogens of the genus Candida, candidiasis describes a number of different disease syndromes that often differ in their causes and outcomes. Commonly referred to as a yeast infection, it is also technically known as candidosis, moniliasis, and oidiomycosis.:308
Candidiasis may be divided into the following types::308-311
Most candidial infections are treatable and result in minimal complications such as redness, itching and discomfort, though complication may be severe or fatal if left untreated in certain populations. In immunocompetent persons, candidiasis is usually a very localized infection of the skin or mucosal membranes, including the oral cavity (thrush), the pharynx or esophagus, the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary bladder, or the genitalia (vagina, penis).
Candidiasis is a very common cause of vaginal irritation, or vaginitis, and can also occur on the male genitals. In immunocompromised patients, Candida infections can affect the esophagus with the potential of becoming systemic, causing a much more serious condition, a fungemia called candidemia.
Children, mostly between the ages of three and nine years of age, can be affected by chronic mouth yeast infections, normally seen around the mouth as white patches. However, this is not a common condition.
Symptoms of candidiasis may vary depending on the area affected. Infection of the vagina or vulva may cause severe itching, burning, soreness, irritation, and a whitish or whitish-gray cottage cheese-like discharge, often with a curd-like appearance. These symptoms are also present in the more common bacterial vaginosis. In a 2002 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, only 33 percent of women who were self-treating for a yeast infection actually had a yeast infection, while most had either bacterial vaginosis or a mixed-type infection. Symptoms of infection of the male genitalia include red patchy sores near the head of the penis or on the foreskin, severe itching, or a burning sensation. Candidiasis of the penis can also have a white discharge, although uncommon. However, having no symptoms at all is common, and a more severe form of the symptoms may emerge later.
Candida yeasts are commonly present in humans, and their growth is normally limited by the human immune system and by other microorganisms, such as bacteria occupying the same locations (niches) in the human body 
In a study of 1009 women in New Zealand, C. albicans was isolated from the vaginas of 19% of apparently healthy women, i.e., those that experienced few or no symptoms of infection. External use of detergents or douches or internal disturbances (hormonal or physiological) can perturb the normal vaginal flora, consisting of lactic acid bacteria, such as lactobacilli, and result in an overgrowth of Candida cells causing symptoms of infection, such as local inflammation. Pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives have been reported as risk factors, while the roles of engaging in vaginal sex immediately and without cleansing after anal sex and using lubricants containing glycerin remain controversial. Diabetes mellitus and the use of anti-bacterial antibiotics are also linked to an increased incidence of yeast infections. Diet has been found to affect rates of symptomatic Candidiases in some animal infection models,  and hormone replacement therapy and infertility treatments may also be predisposing factors.
A weakened or undeveloped immune system or metabolic illnesses such as diabetes are significant predisposing factors of candidiasis. Diseases or conditions linked to candidiasis include HIV/AIDS, mononucleosis, cancer treatments, steroids, stress, and nutrient deficiency. Almost 15% of people with weakened immune systems develop a systemic illness caused by Candida species. In extreme cases, these superficial infections of the skin or mucous membranes may enter into the bloodstream and cause systemic Candida infections.
In penile candidiasis, the causes include sexual intercourse with an infected individual, low immunity, antibiotics, and diabetes. Male genital yeast infection is less common, and incidence of infection is only a fraction of that in women; however, yeast infection on the penis from direct contact via sexual intercourse with an infected partner is not uncommon.
Diagnose of a yeast infections is done either via microscopic examination or culturing.
For identification by light microscopy, a scraping or swab of the affected area is placed on a microscope slide. A single drop of 10% potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution is then added to the specimen. The KOH dissolves the skin cells but leaves the Candida cells intact, permitting visualization of pseudohyphae and budding yeast cells typical of many Candida species.
For the culturing method, a sterile swab is rubbed on the infected skin surface. The swab is then streaked on a culture medium. The culture is incubated at 37 °C for several days, to allow development of yeast or bacterial colonies. The characteristics (such as morphology and colour) of the colonies may allow initial diagnosis of the organism that is causing disease symptoms.
Candida species are frequently part of the human body's normal oral and intestinal flora. Treatment with antibiotics can lead to eliminating the yeast's natural competitors for resources, and increase the severity of the condition.
In clinical settings, candidiasis is commonly treated with antimycotics—the antifungal drugs commonly used to treat
candidiasis are topical clotrimazole, topical nystatin, fluconazole, and topical ketoconazole.
For example, a one-time dose of fluconazole (as Diflucan 150-mg tablet
taken orally) has been reported as being 90% effective in treating
a vaginal yeast infection. 
(Care should be taken by people who have allergic reactions to
azole group of medicines. And this medicine has different levels of
contraditory reactions with other medicines as well. ) This dose is
only effective for vaginal yeast infections, and other types of
yeast infections may require different treatments. In severe
infections (generally in hospitalized patients), amphotericin B,
caspofungin, or voriconazole may be
used. Local treatment may include vaginal suppositories or medicated douches. Gentian violet
can be used for breastfeeding thrush, but when used in
large quantities it can cause mouth and throat ulcerations in
nursing babies, and has been linked to mouth cancer in humans and
to cancer in the digestive tract of other animals.
C. albicans can develop resistance to antimycotic drugs,  such as fluconazole, one of the drugs that is often used to treat candidiasis. Recurring infections may be treatable with other anti-fungal drugs, but resistance to these alternative agents may also develop.
The genus Candida and species C. albicans was described by botanist Christine Marie Berkhout in her doctoral thesis at the University of Utrecht in 1923. Over the years, the classification of the genera and species has evolved. Obsolete names for this genus include Mycotorula and Torulopsis. The species has also been known in the past as Monilia albicans and Oidium albicans. The current classification is nomen conservandum, which means the name is authorized for use by the International Botanical Congress (IBC).
The genus Candida includes about 150 different species, however, only a few are known to cause human infections: C. albicans is the most significant pathogenic species. Other Candida species pathogenic in humans include C. tropicalis, C. glabrata, C. krusei, C. parapsilosis, C. dubliniensis, and C. lusitaniae.
Some alternative medicine proponents postulate a widespread occurrence of "systemic candidiasis" (or candida hypersensitivity syndrome, yeast allergy, or gastrointestinal candida overgrowth). The view was most widely promoted in a book published by Dr. William Crook, which hypothesized that a variety of common symptoms such as fatigue, PMS, sexual dysfunction, asthma, psoriasis, digestive and urinary problems, multiple sclerosis, and muscle pain, could be caused by subclinical infections of Candida albicans. Crook suggested a variety of remedies to treat these symptoms, ranging from dietary modification, prescription antifungals, to colonic irrigation. With the exception of the few dietary studies in the urinary tract infection section conventional medicine has not used most of these alternatives, since there is limited scientific evidence to prove their effectiveness, or that subclinical "systemic candidiasis" is a viable diagnosis.
Classification and other resource links
|Agar plate culture of Candida albicans|
|eMedicine||med/264 emerg/76 ped/312 derm/67|
Candidiasis, often called yeast infection or thrush, is a type of infectious disease. It is a fungal infection (mycosis). The disease is caused by any of the Candida species of yeast. Candida albicans is the most common species.
Candida yeasts are common in most people. The yeast is usually controlled in the body. When the yeast grows without control, an infection happens.
The Candida fungus grows best in warm, moist and dark places.
Esophageal candidiasis is an infection of the esophagus by Candida albicans. The disease happens in unhealthy people. Sometimes people will get the infection when they are done with chemotherapy. People with AIDS can also get this infection more often.
One sign of esophageal candidiasis is painful swallowing. Weight loss can happen when a person has esophageal candidiasis for a long time.
Candida may appear as thick white or cream-coloured areas on mucosal membranes. The infected mucosa of the mouth may look inflamed. In babies the condition is called thrush. For babies, it is usually painless and causes no pain. Adults may experience discomfort or burning sensation.
Candidiasis is a very common cause of vaginal irritation, or vaginitis. It can also occur on the penis or scrotum. In unhealthy patients, the Candida infection can affect the esophagus. It could get everywhere in the body. This would cause a much more serious health condition, a state called candidemia.