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by Horn D
Esophageal Candidiasis; Esophageal Thrush

Definition

Candida is a fungus. Small amounts live in moist places in the body. Mouth and throat are common areas. Candida esophagitis is an overgrowth of this fungus. It happens in the tube that joins the mouth to the stomach. The overgrowth is an infection.

Causes

The body can normally keep the fungus under control. Medical issues or treatment can weaken the body’s ability to protect itself. This leads to an infection from the overgrowth of fungus.

Risk Factors

This infection may be more common in older adults. Other things that may raise your risk are:

  • Health issues like HIV infection, some types of cancer, or an organ transplant that make it hard for the body to fight infections
  • Diabetes
  • Some medicine, such as antibiotics or corticosteroids
  • Poor food and nutrition choices
  • Alcohol use disorder

Symptoms

Some people may not have symptoms. People who do may have:

  • Problems and pain when swallowing
  • Pain behind the breastbone
  • White patches in the mouth and throat
  • Burning of the tongue

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. An exam will be done. The doctor will make a diagnosis based on the exam.

An endoscopy may also be done. A tube is passed down the throat. The doctor will be able to look at the throat lining. Fluids or tissue samples may also be taken for testing.

Treatment

Candida esophagitis can be treated. Antifungal medicine will help to fight the infection.

Prevention

Some illnesses, like HIV, can make it harder for the body to fight infections. Treatment can make the body stronger. This can prevent infections.

RESOURCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  https://www.cdc.gov 

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases  http://www.nfid.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The College of Family Physicians of Canada  https://www.cfpc.ca 

Public Health Agency of Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

References

Candida infection. The Oral Cancer Foundation website. Available at: https://oralcancerfoundation.org/complications/candida/. Accessed June 27, 2019.

Candida infections of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/thrush/index.html. Updated April 12, 2019. Accessed June 27, 2019.

Esophageal candidiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115950/Esophageal-candidiasis . Updated April 27, 2017. Accessed June 27, 2019.

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