Esophageal thrush is fungal infection of esophagus or the food pipe as many people know. In majority of cases fungi Candida albicans is responsible for the condition. Esophageal thrush is also referred as esophageal candidiasis. People with compromised immune system are at risk of developing esophageal thrush. Thus individuals suffering from AIDS, cancer, and diabetes are at greater risk of developing yeast infection anywhere in the body including the esophagus.
Patients suffering from fungal infection in throat experience difficulty while swallowing, burning pain below the breast bone, pain in throat, nausea and vomiting.You can see white cottage cheese lesions on the lining of the esophagus. This is characteristic feature of thrush. In majority of cases thrush spreads into mouth from esophagus and vice versa. Treatment consists of anti-fungal medicines. Yogurt, tea tree oil are also effective natural home remedies.
Causes And Risk Factors For Esophageal Thrush
Normally Candida yeast inhabit in the gastrointestinal tract, genitals and on the skin. However, if your immune system is strong they do not cause any harm to the body. They live harmoniously as the good bacteria can control them.But if there is imbalance, yeast can overgrow and multiply in colonies leading to clinical symptoms of fungal infection.
- Esophageal yeast infection most commonly occurs in people with low immunity. It is uncommon in healthy individual. Patients suffering from HIV, AIDS, cancer, taking steroids for long term, are at greater risk of suffering from yeast infection in throat and mouth.
- People suffering from diabetes are also susceptible to esophageal and oral thrush. Especially those individuals whose blood sugar level remains uncontrolled for a long duration are at greater risk.
- Many pregnant women suffer from vaginal thrush. The infection can spread to babies born through normal delivery. Infection can also spread to babies through breast feeding if the nipples are infected with fungal infection.
- Esophageal thrush is also observed in smokers, people wearing dentures, or those who eat lot of sugary food. Long term use of steroids and antibiotics can increase risk of oral as well as fungal infection in throat.
Esophageal Thrush Symptoms
The symptoms develop when immune system of the body is low. Esophageal thrush causes irritation and inflammation in lining of esophagus. Below are characteristic symptoms of this condition.
- The inside of throat is covered with white lesions which appear similar to cottage cheese.
- Pain in throat while swallowing.
- Mouth is dry.
- Pain below the breastbone.
- Sensation as if food is stuck in the throat and chest.
- Loss of weight as patient eats less due to pain.
- Vomiting and nausea.
Often esophageal thrush spreads in the oral cavity. You can see white patches in the roof of mouth and on the inner side of the cheeks. It also spreads on the corner of lips.
Treatment Options For Esophageal Thrush
If your physician suspects the condition to be esophageal thrush, he will perform a throat culture and advise you for an endoscopic examination. Once the condition is diagnosed as yeast infection of throat, your doctor will prescribe anti fungal medicines. The aim of treatment is to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading.
- People suffering from HIV and other immune-compromised conditions may need stronger anti fungal treatment.
- Home remedies such as yogurt is also beneficial if you are in healthy state. Yogurt contains good bacteria which help to kill the yeast infection.
- Tea tree oil is also time tested natural remedy to treat fungus infection. Put two to three drops of tea tree oil in a glass of water. Use it as a mouth was and spit it out after rinsing your mouth.
- Take vitamins and mineral supplement as it helps to boost the immune system.