Ask the treatment expert: What is the best way to treat a yeast infection?

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Susan Wickard, RN, BSN, CWCN, CWS, CLNC
Susan Wickard, RN, BSN, CWCN, CWS, CLNC

Signs and symptoms of a yeast infection can still confuse staff. What is the best way to treat it?

This is a question that often surfaces, so it may be useful to review the definition, causes, recognition and treatment of “yeast infections.” Candidiasis is basically a fungal infection and is commonly known as a yeast infection. Because the Candida organisms are yeast-like, they reproduce by budding. 

A compromised immune system, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, stress, steroids, antibiotic therapy, and cancer treatments are a few of the conditions that may be linked to candidiasis. A moist environment, heat and friction may contribute to candidiasis found in skin folds.  

The most common candidiasis is found as a localized infection of the skin, mucosal membranes, and the genitalia. Candidiasis may present itself as a pustule, erythematous papules and/or plaques. The lesions may have a cheesy white exudate and scaling. They are normally beefy red and have satellite erythematous papules and pustules. 

These satellite lesions are important in making the correct diagnosis of candidiasis. Itching and burning may be present. Sometimes confused with contact dermatitis, the main differentiations include satellite lesions, and pruritus. 

Contact dermatitis has well defined borders and usually does not have pruritus. Folliculitis, which is the inflammation of a hair follicle, is also sometimes confused with candidiasis.

Both topical and oral antifungal drugs are used to treat candidiasis. Topical nystatin, topical clotrimazole, and topical ketoconazole are a few medications used. Fluconazole is an oral medication that is sometimes used. Non-pharmacological treatments also may be helpful. Using body powders to reduce the moisture buildup and eliminating tight clothing also is suggested.  



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