An infection caused by the fungus ‘candida albicans’, more commonly known as thrush or moniliasis. Candidiasis will affect areas of mucous membrane in the body, most usually seen inside the mouth and around the vagina. In children, candidiasis can occur in conjunction with nappy rash.
The fungus is generally present in the vagina and mouth, however in some situations it may multiply excessively. Candidiasis can occur if anti biotic drugs kills the harmless bacteria that control the growth of fungus, or if the body’s resistance to infection is lowered. Some disorders, for example diabetes mellitus, and the hormonal changes that come about during pregnancy or with oral contraceptives can also encourage growth of the fungus.
Candidiasis can be contracted by having sexual intercourse with an infected person. The infection is much more common in women than in men.
Oral candidiasis produces creamy-yellow, sore patches in the mouth. Symptoms of the vaginal infection include a white, thick discharge, discomfort when passing urine and genital irritation.
Candidiasis can spread from the mouth or genitals to any other area of the body that is a moist area. It can also affect the gastrointestinal tract, particularly people with impaired immune systems, such as those who have HIV or those on immunosuppressant drugs.
Diagnosis and treatment
Candidiasis is diagnosed by examination of a sample patch taken from the patches or white discharge. The condition is then treated topically with antifungal drugs, such oral antifungals or clotrimazole. The drugs will be given in form of throat lozenges, vaginal pessaries and creams. Treatment of candidiasis is often successful, but the condition can return.