What Is It?
Candidiasis is an infection caused by Candida fungi, especially Candida albicans. These fungi are found almost everywhere in the environment. Some may live harmlessly along with the abundant "native" species of bacteria that normally colonize the mouth, gastrointestinal tract and vagina.
Usually, Candida is kept under control by the native bacteria and by the body's immune defenses. If the mix of native bacteria is changed by antibiotics, the body moisture that surrounds native bacteria can also have subtle changes in its acidity or chemistry. This can cause yeast to grow and to stick to surfaces, so that the yeast causes symptoms.
Candida infections can cause occasional symptoms in healthy people. If a person's immune system is weakened by illness (especially AIDS or diabetes), malnutrition, or certain medications (corticosteroids or anticancer drugs), Candida fungi can cause symptoms more frequently. Candidiasis can affect many parts of the body, causing localized infections or larger illness, depending on the person and his or her general health.