Medical Definition of Yeast

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Yeast: A group of single-celled fungi that reproduce by budding.

Most yeast are harmless (some are used in baking and brewing). Yeast is commonly present on normal human skin and in areas of moisture, such as the mouth and vagina, usually without causing any problems.

However, yeast can produce disease in people. For example, the yeast Candida (once called Monilia) causes thrush (oral infection) and diaper rash in infants, fingernail infections, vaginal area infections in women after puberty, and a host of problems in patients with immune deficiency.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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