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candidiasis

candidiasis (kănˌdĭdĪˈəsĭs) [key], infection of the mucous membranes caused by the fungus Candida albicans. Other terms for candidiasis are yeast infection, moniliasis (after a former name of the fungal genus), and thrush, the latter term usually being reserved for infection of the mucous membrane of the mouth. The fungus is a normal inhabitant of the mouth and vagina, and its growth is usually kept in check by certain bacteria that also live in these areas. When the balance of these organisms is disturbed by antibiotic treatment, by hormonal imbalances, or by a weakening of the body's resistance to disease (as occurs in AIDS), the fungus can begin to proliferate. Candidiasis of the penis (usually traceable to a female with the infection) is called balanitis. Candidal infections are treated with antifungal drugs such as nystatin and miconazole.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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