Doctor's Notes on Yeast Infection Skin Rash
Yeast infection of the skin is most commonly caused by Candida yeast. This condition is referred to as cutaneous candidiasis. Areas of skin breakdown, cuts, or cracks in the skin may allow the yeast infection ot take hold and grow. Candida infection may cause diaper rash in infants. In other cases, it causes infections in warm, moist body areas, like the underarms, the folds of the groin, under the breasts, between the legs, and under the folds of the skin of the abdomen of people who are obese.
Symptoms of yeast infection of the skin include a flat, red skin with sharp, scalloped edges. Smaller patches of the same type of rash are frequent around the involved area. Other associated symptoms can include warmth of the skin, tenderness or pain, or itchiness of the skin. Softened, red skin in areas of skin folds anywhere on the body are another sign of yeast infection of the skin.
Yeast Infection Skin Rash Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of a candidal infection can vary depending on the location of the infection.
- In women, signs and symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are a white cottage cheese-like discharge that typically itches and irritates the vagina and surrounding outer tissues. Occasionally, pain may occur with sexual intercourse or burning may occur with urination. This same type of yeast infection in men can cause redness, a red rash with white spots, soreness, discharge, and peeling of the skin of the penis. Blisters are not usually associated with vaginal yeast infections and may be a sign of another type of infection such as herpes.
- In infants and adults, a candidal infection can appear many different ways.
- Oral candidiasis (thrush) causes thick, white, lacy patches on top of a red base on the tongue, palate, or elsewhere inside the mouth. These patches sometimes look like milk curds but cannot be wiped away as easily as milk can. If the white plaques are wiped away with a cotton swab, the underlying tissue may bleed. This health infection may make the tongue look red without the white coating. Thrush can be painful and make eating difficult.
- Candidal organisms naturally live on the skin, but a breakdown of the outer layers of skin promotes the yeast's overgrowth. This typically occurs when the environment is warm and moist, such as in diaper areas and skin folds. Superficial candidal skin infections appear as a red flat rash with sharp, scalloped edges. Smaller patches of similar-appearing rash, known as "satellite lesions" or "satellite pustules," are usually nearby. These rashes may be hot, itchy, or painful.
- Intertrigo appears as softened red skin in body fold areas.
- Candidal paronychia appears as nail fold swelling.
- Mucocutaneous candidiasis appears with nail abnormalities.
- Erosio interdigitalis blastomycetica occurs in the finger webs.
- Oral thrush requires medical treatment and a visit to a health care professional. If children take no fluids for longer than 12 hours, contact the child's doctor. Any fever or prolonged problems with feeding or a significant decrease or absence of urine production are health problems that warrant a visit to a doctor or the emergency department.
- Diaper rash or other candidal infections on the skin can be treated with antifungal creams and lotions such as clotrimazole.
Ringworm is another type of fungal infection that is different from a yeast infection. Ringworm is caused by a type of fungus called a dermatophyte, and symptoms include rashes or scaly patches that may be ring-shaped. Ringworm can cause athlete's foot, jock itch, scalp infections, and infections of the nails and in skin folds.
Yeast Infection Skin Rash Causes
An overgrowth of the fungus Candida is the cause of yeast infections. Candidal infections commonly occur in warm, moist body areas, such as the underarms or where skin folds over itself like breast/chest skin. Usually, the skin effectively blocks yeast, but any skin breakdown or cuts in the skin may allow this organism to penetrate and infect.
Areas typically affected by the fungus in babies include the mouth and diaper areas. Moist diapers can lead to an overgrowth of yeast.
In adults, oral yeast infections become more common with increased age. Adults can also have yeast infections around dentures, in the folds under the breast and lower abdomen, in the nail beds, and beneath other skin folds. Most of these candidal infections are superficial and clear up easily with treatment.
In women, vaginal yeast infections are the second most common reason for vaginal burning, itching, and discharge. Yeasts are found in the vagina of most women and can overgrow if the environment in the vagina changes. Antibiotic and steroid use is the most common reason for yeast overgrowth. However, pregnancy, menstruation, diabetes, and birth control pills can also contribute to developing a yeast infection. Yeast infections are more common after menopause.
Any person who has their immune system altered by disease (for example, HIV infection) or other reasons (for example, chemotherapy) is at higher risk to get a yeast infection. In some people, a yeast infection, especially if it is severe and/or recurrent, may be an indication that the person has a depressed immune system.
Fungal skin infections can be itchy and annoying, but they're rarely serious. Common infections such as athlete's foot, jock itch, and ringworm are caused by fungus and are easy to get and to pass around. In healthy people, they usually don't spread beyond the skin's surface, so they're easy to treat. If you spend a lot of time at the gym, take steps to protect yourself against fungal infections.
Ringworm : Test your Medical IQ QuizQuestion
Ringworm is caused by a fungus.See Answer
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.