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Candida skin infections, also known as cutaneous candidiasis, are caused by different species of yeast organisms, all belonging to the genus candida. These kinds of organisms are common on human skin, and do not usually cause any problems, but if the outer layer of the skin is damaged, skin infections can occur. This happens most often in areas of the body where the skin is consistently kept moist and warm, for example the diaper area in babies, and in various skin folds, including the armpits, the corners of the mouth, the buttocks, and the groin. Common symptoms of this type of yeast skin infection include itching, redness, and discomfort or pain in the affected area. Candida skin infections commonly cause a rash, usually characterized by the formation of larger lesions surrounded by smaller so-called satellite lesions.
Yeast is a type of fungus, and various kinds of fungi can cause skin infections. The specific yeast organism that most commonly causes candida skin infections is candida albicans. A very common symptom of this type of infection is a rash or lesions that are usually red in color and have an undulating but well-defined edge. This rash is often associated with itching, irritation, and a burning sensation. Diaper rash is a common form of candida, and can cause severe pain and discomfort for the child.
Anyone can contract candida skin infections, but those most at risk are people with diabetes, the obese, and people with compromised immune systems, such as people with AIDS or those undergoing chemotherapy. Taking antibiotics or oral contraceptives can also increase the risk of contracting cutaneous candidiasis. Candida infections are usually treated successfully with anti-fungal creams or ointments, and the infected area should also be kept clean and dry. One should consult a doctor if the skin infection does not improve within a few days of treatment. In some cases, oral medications are needed to treat the condition.
There are also other common types of yeast infections. Thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth, with symptoms that include white patches on the tongue and other areas inside the mouth. It is common in infants and adults with poorly functioning immune systems, and can be so painful that eating and drinking becomes difficult. Candida infections can also occur in the vaginal and penile area, where they commonly cause itching, pain, and sometimes a thick white discharge. More rarely, candida organisms cause infections of the bloodstream, the throat, and the gastro-intestinal system.