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What Is Moniliasis?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2014
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Moniliasis is another term for candidiasis, an infection caused by yeast in the genus Candida, particularly C. albicans. This term references the former genus name for Candida, Monilia, and people may also use terms like “thrush” to refer to the same infection. Treatments are available to manage moniliasis, and in some cases, patients may need to be hospitalized to manage complex or concurrent infections, especially if they have underlying health issues.

These yeasts are naturally present in and around the body in most people. In individuals with compromised immune systems, they can take advantage of weak points to start growing in large numbers, creating fungal colonies. In patients with moniliasis, white furry patches can appear around the infected area and the patient may develop a malodorous discharge caused by yeast metabolism. Common spots for infections include the mouth, genitals, and folds of the body.

Often, a quick physical exam is enough to identify moniliasis in a patient, although a culture may be taken to confirm the diagnosis. Medications can be prescribed to kill the yeast and patients may also use natural measures like eating yogurt to control the growth of the bacteria by boosting the numbers of beneficial organisms in the body. These organisms will make a more acidic environment, killing the fragile Candida yeasts. Regular consumption of yogurt with active cultures can also help cut down on the risk of developing moniliasis in the first place.

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In some patients, this infection can become very stubborn. People with tuberculosis, AIDS, and other causes of severe immunocompromise are at increased risk, as their bodies cannot contribute to the fight against the infection. In these patients, the yeast can continue growing and spreading, causing pain and irritation. Aggressive medications may be needed to check their growth, and the infection may recur when the patient goes off the drugs.

Many people develop mild moniliasis at some point in their lives, particularly in the case of sexually active individuals. It is usually very treatable when caught early and people can complete treatment at home without fear of additional complications. If the infection does not respond to prescribed medications, it may be necessary to receive a more thorough evaluation or to switch medications. Patients with a history of yeast infections should make sure their doctors are aware of this, as recurrent infections can be a sign of an underlying medical problem that needs to be treated.

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