Most yeast infections are treatable and result in minimal complications such as redness, itching and discomfort, though complication may be severe or fatal if left untreated in certain populations. In immunocompetent persons, candidiasis is usually a very localized infection of the skin or mucosal membranes, including the oral cavity (thrush), the pharynx or esophagus, the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary bladder, or the genitalia (vagina, penis).
The vagina is self-cleansing and therefore usually needs no special treatment. Doctors generally discourage the practice of douching. Since a healthy vagina is colonized by a mutually symbiotic flora of microorganisms that protect its host from disease-causing microbes, any attempt to upset this balance may cause many undesirable outcomes, including but not limited to abnormal discharge and yeast infection. The acidity of a healthy vagina is due to lactic acid secreted by symbiotic microorganisms which retards the growth of many strains of dangerous microbes.
Candidiasis or thrush is a fungal infection (mycosis) of any of the Candida species, of which Candida albicans is the most common. Candidiasis encompasses infections that range from superficial, such as oral thrush and vaginitis, to systemic and potentially life-threatening diseases. Candida infections of the latter category are also referred to as candidemia and are usually confined to severely immunocompromised persons, such as cancer, transplant, and AIDS patients.
Leukoplakia is adherent white patches on the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, including the tongue. The clinical appearance is highly variable. Leukoplakia is not a specific disease entity, but is diagnosis of exclusion. It must be distinguished from diseases that may cause similar white lesions, such as candidiasis or lichen planus.
The generic term for infection of the vagina is vaginitis. Symptoms may include an unusual or unpleasant discharge, itching, or pain during intercourse. But vaginal infections may also be present without any noticeable symptoms.