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Alternative namesSkin infection - fungal; Fungal infection - skin; Skin infection - yeast; Yeast infection - skin; Intertriginous candidiasis; Intertrigo
DefinitionCutaneous candidiasis is an infection of the skin caused by the fungus candida.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The body normally hosts a variety of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi. Some of these are useful to the body, some produce no harm or benefits, while others may cause harmful infections. Fungal infections are caused by microscopic organisms (fungi) that can live on the skin. They can live on the dead tissues of the hair, nails and outer skin layers. Fungal infections include mold-like fungi (dermatophytes, which cause tinea infections) and yeast-like fungi (such as candida).
Oral thrush, a form of candida infection found on the mucous membranes of the mouth, may be a sign of HIV infection or other immunodeficiency disorders when it occurs in adults. Infected individuals are not usually considered infectious to others, though in some settings transmission to immunocompromised people can occur.
Candida is also the most frequent cause of vaginal yeast infections, which are extremely common.
Signs and testsDiagnosis is primarily based on the appearance of the skin, particularly if risk factors are present. A skin scraping can show typical yeast forms, suggestive of candida.
TreatmentGeneral hygiene is vital to the treatment of cutaneous candidiasis; keeping the skin dry and exposed to air is helpful. Weight loss may eliminate the problem in obese people, and good sugar control in diabetics may also be helpful. Topical antifungal medications may be used to treat infection of the skin; systemic antifungal medications may be necessary for folliculitis or nail infection.
Expectations (prognosis)Cutaneous candidiasis is usually treatable, but occasionally is difficult to eradicate. Recurrence is common.
Calling your health care providerCall for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms indicate cutaneous candidiasis.
Good general health and hygiene help prevent candida infections. Keep the skin clean and dry. Drying powders may help prevent fungal infections in people who are susceptible to them. Weight loss and good sugar control in diabetics may help prevent these infections.
Update Date: 8/7/2002Camille Kotton, M.D., Infectious Diseases Division, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT