Candidiasis is a condition caused by the fungus Candida albicans. It is
also called a yeast infection. The yeast may
infect the vagina, mouth, or moist areas on the skin.
It is normal to have some fungus, or yeast, on the body. Bacteria usually
keep the growth of the yeast in check.
However, sometimes the yeast grows (multiplies) quickly and causes an
There are several situations in which the yeast may multiply. For example,
antibiotic medicine may kill the bacteria
that keep yeast levels down. Conditions that cause hormonal changes,
birth control pills, may also cause the yeast to grow. Yeast infections are
often associated with diabetes, especially
when the blood sugar level is too high. Recurring or stubborn cases of
early sign of diabetes. In some cases, yeast infections that don't go away
are an early sign of HIV infection. Drugs
that suppress the body's defense system (such as drugs used to treat AIDS)
also allow the yeast to grow and spread.
Candidiasis usually is not spread by sexual intercourse.
If you have a vaginal yeast infection, you may have a discharge from the
like paste or cottage cheese. Other symptoms of a vaginal infection are:
• redness of the outer part of the vagina (the vulva)
• a burning feeling when you urinate.
Some women infected with Candida have no symptoms.
In men, the yeast can cause swelling and redness on the penis and
foreskin. Yeast infections of the penis are more
common when the penis is uncircumcised.
If the mouth is infected, the lining of the mouth is often red and sore.
Sometimes the yeast causes white spots and
patches on the tongue and cheek lining. This is called "thrush." The yeast
On the skin (including skin with diaper rash), candidiasis produces an
itchy red rash. Often the rash is a red patch
Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and examine you.
in samples collected from the mouth or vagina. A few cells scraped from
Medicines are available as creams to put on the skin, tablets and creams
to be put in the vagina, and tablets to be
If you have a vaginal yeast infection, your health care provider may
suggest that you try a nonprescription medicine
for the vagina. Examples of such medicines are miconazole nitrate
(Monistat-7) and clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin,
Mycelex-7, and FemCare). If you have tried one of these medicines and it
may prescribe a medicine available only by prescription, such as an
With proper treatment, the infection usually clears up in a few days to a
If you have a vaginal yeast infection, follow these guidelines:
• Follow the full treatment prescribed by your health care provider.
• Avoid sexual intercourse until the infection is gone.
• After urinating, wipe gently to avoid irritation.
• Avoid using douches and other chemicals, such as bubble bath or
hygiene spray, in the vaginal area unless
recommended by your health care provider.
• Take a shower instead of a bath. Pat the genital area dry.
• Wear cotton underwear to allow ventilation and to keep the area drier.
• Lose weight if you are obese (20% over normal weight).
• If you are diabetic, maintain a normal blood sugar.
• Try eating yogurt. Some women find that daily yogurt prevents yeast
If you have been diagnosed previously with candidiasis, try using a
nonprescription yeast medicine the next time
CAUTION: See your health care provider promptly if you have repeated
or a yeast infection that persists despite treatment. Let your provider help
you be certain that yeast infection is the
problem and, if it is, to determine why it's not responding to treatment.
What can be done to prevent candidiasis from occurring?
To prevent candidiasis, follow these guidelines:
Keep moist areas of the body cool and dry.
Avoid wearing a wet bathing suit or damp clothing for long periods of
Avoid bubble baths (scented or unscented).
Avoid wearing underwear made from nylon or other nonventilating
Avoid wearing tight pantyhose or tight pants.
Avoid frequent or prolonged use of oral antibiotics if possible
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