October 1, 2014
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Candidiasis

(Yeast Infections, Thrush)

Diagnosing Candidiasis

To make a diagnosis your doctor will ask about your diet and recent use of antibiotics or medications that can weaken the immune system. The doctor will also take into consideration any history of diabetes, cancer, HIV, or other chronic diseases.

Candidiasis is easy to identify. The yeast can be seen under the microscope after being scraped off the affected area. However, since yeast is normally there anyway, your doctor will want to be sure that it's candida causing the problem and not something else. The appearance of the rash may be enough.





Treating and Preventing Candidiasis

Candidiasis isn't normally a dangerous disease except in rare cases when it enters the blood and spreads to vital organs of people with weakened immune systems.

For infection of the skin, your doctor can give you an antifungal cream or powder or prescribe you an antifungal pill. For vaginal yeast infections, treatment consists of antifungal medications that are administered directly into the vagina as tablets, creams, ointments, or suppositories, or administered by mouth (e.g., fluconazole*). For oral thrush, a suspension of antifungal medication can be swished in the mouth and swallowed, or sometimes the doctor will have you dissolve an antifungal lozenge in the mouth.

For severe cases, antifungal medication taken by mouth for several days may be needed. Speak with your pharmacist - you can buy many of the creams and powder products intended for minor infections without a prescription.

Here are some hygiene tips to help prevent vaginal candidiasis:

  • wipe from front to back after going to the toilet - the rectal area is full of yeast
  • take baths not showers - sitting in the bath can clear yeast from the vaginal area
  • dry yourself thoroughly afterwards, especially the pubic hair - use a hair dryer on low setting if you have to
  • don't use soap around the vagina - soap kills the bacteria you want to keep, and has no effect on yeast
  • sterilize or throw away underwear that you wore during your last infection - the washing machine isn't hot enough, you must boil them if you want to keep them. You must also replace any diaphragms or caps.
  • avoid chemicals like deodorant tampons and especially vaginal douches, which serve no purpose and may cause infection

These sensible precautions may also help prevent candidiasis:

  • wear loose cotton underwear
  • avoid pantyhose and tight pants
  • eat live yogurt, especially if you have been prescribed antibiotics or have other factors which increase your risk for yeast infections - pasteurized yogurt isn't effective. Some health food stores carry lactobacillus acidophilus pills which may help to keep yeast in check
  • cut down on sugar and alcohol (yeast's favourite foods)
  • consider changing "the pill" - if you've had recurring infections, talk to your doctor about changing your birth control pill and see if it helps
  • make sure your partner is not infected - there's no point curing candidiasis if you're going to be re-infected
  • don't ask for antibiotics if you've got a cold or the flu - the flu is caused by viruses, so taking antibiotics won't help and they might provoke candidiasis

 


*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

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This condition and disease information is written and reviewed by the MedBroadcast Clinical Team.

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