A fungal infection in throat is a serious condition that is more commonly seen in individuals with compromised immunity. Continue reading to see how it occurs and how one can deal with it.
Our oral cavity is a hotbed of different species of microorganisms. While most of these are part of the normal flora of the oral cavity, and do not pose any threat to the individual, there do exist some microorganisms which are known to cause harm. Various problems occur when there is a deviation from this flora; one such common problem is that of fungal infection, also known as Candidiasis or oral thrush. There also exists a relatively rarer extension of this infection known as fungal throat infection. While the condition is not very common, it can cause immense discomfort when it does occur and that makes the identification of this problem, and initiation of treatment at the earliest, all the more important.
Causes and Risk Factors
As we mentioned earlier, fungal infection in throat is a relatively rare condition, which is caused due to Candida albicans, It is seen more commonly in a select group of individuals who are at an added risk of suffering from it:
- Newborn babies, who do not have a very well-developed immune system are at a risk of developing this infection, as are people that suffer from various immune compromising conditions, like diabetes and AIDS.
- Long term denture users who may become callous about their daily routine of cleaning their dentures may also fall prey to this yeast infection.
- People who are on long term antibiotics, chemotherapy or even steroids may also develop a yeast infection in the throat.
- People who have habits, like alcohol or drug abuse.
- People who are malnourished.
- People suffering from a pre-existing oral disease, like dry mouth.
There are many signs and symptoms which can make it easy to spot this condition. This is a serious condition and the symptoms will surely make you feel uncomfortable in the throat. Initially, you may feel slight pain or itching in the throat, a feeling which will be aggravated while swallowing. You will also get to see white spots or patches in the region of the palate and throat. These may be balding in nature or they may present as a slightly raised creamy white colored patch. A slightly velvety feel is characteristic of a throat yeast infection. If these patches are pulled out, they reveal painful and bleeding ulcers, which only make it harder to swallow. The person is also likely to sense a slight unpleasant change in the taste of food.
The treatment for a Candidal infection of the throat tends to be slightly more intense than the treatment for oral thrush that is restricted to the oral cavity, and this can be attributed to the fact that there are many more risks involved in this case. The fact that the person does not eat as much as usual and there is a marked decrease in the appetite of the individual as a result of pain involved with swallowing. This interferes with treatment because adequate amount of nutrition is of utmost importance for treating this infection. More importantly, while swallowing the little bit of food that the person does eat, he may carry the fungus into the gastrointestinal tract, leading to intestinal candidiasis and systemic candidiasis – which is quite dangerous.
The treatment for this condition involves prescription topical and systemic antifungal drugs. An intense course is usually prescribed so as to deal with this condition with absolute finality. Dealing with throat fungal infections in AIDS patients is slightly more difficult, due to their compromised immunity and the high chance of recurrence. Along with this, lozenges may be prescribed to deal with the sore throat. Also, maintaining adequate amount of nutrition is very important. If there is any pre-existing condition, then that needs to be dealt with first. There are certain home remedies, like eating garlic, which may be of help to abate any further growth or progress of the infection.
Fungal infection in throat is usually seen in people that have a compromised immunity. That being said, if a person shows any symptoms of the same, then not only should he opt for the diagnosis of these symptoms, but should also get a full body check up done to identify any underlying cause or disease present.