Tuesday, August 15

Candidiasis of the Mouth, Throat and Oesophagus


Definition of Candidiasis
Oral Candidiasis, Candida Infection In The Mouth
Oral Candidiasis, Candida Infection In The Mouth

Candidiasis is an infection caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida. Candida normally lives in the digestive tract and on skin without causing any problems. Sometimes, Candida can multiply and cause an infection if the environment inside the mouth, throat, or oesophagus changes in a way that encourages fungal growth.

Candidiasis in the mouth and throat is also called "thrush" or oropharyngeal candidiasis. Candidiasis in the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach) is called esophageal candidiasis or Candida esophagitis. Oesophageal candidiasis is one of the most common infections in people living with HIV/AIDS.

Symptoms of Candidiasis

Candidiasis in the mouth and throat can have many different symptoms, including:

• White patches on the inner cheeks, tongue, roof of the mouth, and throat (photo showing candidiasis in the mouth)
• Redness or soreness
• Cottony feeling in the mouth
• Loss of taste
• Pain while eating or swallowing
• Cracking and redness at the corners of the mouth
• Symptoms of candidiasis in the esophagus usually include pain when swallowing and difficulty swallowing.

Oral Thrush
Oral Thrush
Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms that you think are related to candidiasis in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.

Risk and Prevention

Who gets Candidiasis in the Mouth, Throat or Oesophagus?

Candidiasis in the mouth, throat, or esophagus is uncommon in healthy adults. People who are at higher risk for getting candidiasis in the mouth and throat include babies, especially those younger than one month old, and people who:

• Wear dentures
• Have diabetes
• Have cancer
• Have HIV/AIDS
• Take antibiotics or corticosteroids, including inhaled corticosteroids for conditions like asthma
• Take medications that cause dry mouth or have medical conditions that cause dry mouth
• Smoke

Most people who get candidiasis in the esophagus have weakened immune systems, meaning that their bodies don't fight infections well. This includes people living with HIV/AIDS and people who have blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. People who get candidiasis in the esophagus often also have candidiasis in the mouth and throat.

How can I prevent candidiasis in the mouth, throat, or esophagus?

Oesophageal Candidiasis
Oesophageal Candidiasis

Ways to help prevent candidiasis in the mouth and throat include:

Maintain good oral health

Rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after using inhaled corticosteroids
Some studies have shown that chlorhexidine mouthwash may help to prevent oral candidiasis in people undergoing cancer treatment

Sources

Candida normally lives in the mouth, throat, and the rest of the digestive tract without causing any problems. Sometimes, Candida can multiply and cause an infection if the environment inside the mouth, throat, or esophagus changes in a way that encourages its growth. This can happen when a person's immune system becomes weakened, if antibiotics affect the natural balance of microbes in the body, or for a variety of other reasons in other groups of people.

Diagnosis and Testing

Healthcare providers can usually diagnose candidiasis in the mouth or throat simply by looking inside. Sometimes a healthcare provider will take a small sample from the mouth or throat. The sample is sent to a laboratory for testing, usually to be examined under a microscope.

Healthcare providers usually diagnose candidiasis in the esophagus by doing an endoscopy. An endoscopy is a procedure to examine the digestive tract using a tube with a light and a camera. A healthcare provider might prescribe antifungal medication without doing an endoscopy to see if the patient's symptoms get better.

Treatment of Candidiasis
Treatment of Oral Candidiasis
Treatment of Oral Candidiasis
Candidiasis in the mouth, throat, or esophagus is usually treated with antifungal medicine. The treatment for mild to moderate infections in the mouth or throat is usually an antifungal medicine applied to the inside of the mouth for 7 to 14 days. These medications include clotrimazole, miconazole, or nystatin. For severe infections, the treatment is usually fluconazole or another type of antifungal medicine given by mouth or through a vein for people who don't get better after taking fluconazole.

The treatment for candidiasis in the esophagus is usually fluconazole. Other types of prescription antifungal medicines can also be used for people who can't take fluconazole or who don't get better after taking fluconazole.

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