What is the difference between candidiasis and yeast infection?

The difference between candidiasis and a yeast infection is the area that is infected. Thrush usually refers to a yeast infection in a nursing mother and her baby. In most cases, the baby is infected through the mother. A yeast infection generally refers to the overproduction of yeast on the genitals.

Yeast and bacteria are part of the microscopic food chain of the human body. Bacteria eat yeast, and when not enough bacteria are present, yeast growth becomes excessive. The result is a yeast infection.

The symptoms of candidiasis and a yeast infection present themselves very similarly. The telltale sign is a white curd-like substance in the infected area. Any area that is moist and warm is susceptible. Thrush is typically found on the mother's breast, on the nipple, in the baby's mouth, and on the baby's bottom.

When a baby's bottom is infected, thrush resembles a severe diaper rash. The difference between candidiasis and a common diaper rash is that candidiasis is persistent despite treatment. Ointments can even make the rash worse. A breast infected with thrush will be very painful, and the nipple area will be red, scaly, or have a rash. Without treatment, a yeast infection in the breast can lead to plugged ducts and mastitis.

The mouth of a baby with thrush will have white curds on the inside of the lips and cheeks. There may also be a white coating on the tongue. It may look like the curds can be scraped off, but doing so will cause redness and bleeding.

Mothers who have taken antibiotics during pregnancy are at increased risk of developing a yeast infection, and taking oral contraceptives or steroids also increases the chances of developing a yeast infection. These drugs affect the immune system and compromise the body's ability to maintain its chemical balance.

Both men and women can develop genital yeast infections, and in both cases, white curds or discharge will likely be seen. In women, the vagina may also have a white coating and an unpleasant odor. A vaginal yeast infection often causes itching and discomfort. Yeast infections in men normally occur on the penis and there is often irritation around the penis and discharge. The tip of the penis is typically red and painful.

Both candidiasis and yeast infection require the attention of a medical professional. Prescription medications are needed to restore normal levels of bacteria. There are some home and natural remedies, but they should probably not be used in place of professional medical treatment.

Go up