Yeasts are fungi that commonly reside in our gastrointestinal tract, as well as the moist and warm areas of the body, like the oral cavity. Normally, these microscopic pathogens do not cause any health problem, if their population is kept under control by a healthy immune system and the beneficial bacteria found in our body.
But if the immune system is not strong enough, or when the number of beneficial bacteria reduces due to some underlying factors, then yeasts multiply rapidly in the body. This can cause a yeast infection, which is also known as candidiasis. It generally affects the areas that remain moist and warm, such as the mouth, the genital area, and the armpits. A yeast infection of the mouth is known as oral thrush, which can sometimes, spread to the throat to cause a throat yeast infection.
Candidiasis in the Throat
A weakened immune system is one of the main risk factors for developing this infection. The condition is more commonly observed in infants and young children, mainly because their immune system is not fully developed. People with a compromised immune system are also predisposed to develop this infection more frequently. This is the reason why individuals with HIV/AIDS are more likely to have severe and recurrent yeast infections.
Even people with diabetes and other metabolic disorders, as well as those taking steroid drugs and undergoing cancer treatments like chemotherapy, can have a greater risk of developing fungal infections. Apart from these, an overuse or prolonged use of antibiotics can also cause yeast infections. As has been mentioned already, the beneficial bacteria found in our body help control the population of yeasts. But antibiotics destroy both the harmful and the beneficial bacteria, which in turn, can create an environment favorable for the rapid proliferation of pathogens like yeasts.
The most common symptom of this infection is the development of slightly raised lesions in the oral cavity, including the palate, tongue, inner cheeks, and the throat. These lesions are usually white or slightly yellowish in color. They can be quite painful, and can bleed, if scraped.
Due to the development of such lesions, one can experience soreness in the throat, which can cause difficulty in swallowing food. Sometimes, a throat yeast infection can be confused with a sore throat or strep throat, as both the conditions can cause soreness and a burning sensation in the throat. In addition to these, this condition can be accompanied by fever, cold hands and feet, vomiting, and an upset stomach at times.
This condition can be confirmed by examining a sample of mouth scrapings. However, physicians can also diagnose a yeast infection of the throat by simply having a look at the lesions. This infection can be treated with antifungal medications that can come in the form of oral suspension and pastilles or lozenges.
These medications need to be kept in the mouth for a while before swallowing, so that they can reduce or destroy the yeasts residing in the mouth. However, if the infection is systemic in nature, i.e., if it affects several parts of the body, then antifungal tablets and injections can be required.
Along with antifungal medications, some simple home remedies, like unsweetened yogurt, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and buttermilk can also help reduce the population of yeasts in the body. However, it is advisable to get this infection properly evaluated with the help of a physician, as it can be associated with some underlying diseases or disorders as well.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.