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Candida esophagitis


Definition:

Candida esophagitis is a yeast infection of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

See also:

Alternative Names:

Candida infection - esophagus; Yeast infection - esophagus

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Candida esophagitis is caused by the yeast Candida. It occurs when the yeast spreads from the mouth down the esophagus.

The condition is often a sign of a weakened immune system. The following raise your risk for Candida infections:

If you have a weakened immune system, thrush in the mouth (oral thrush) makes you more likely to get Candida esophagitis.

Symptoms:

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever (only if the fungus spreads further)
  • Oral thrush (Candida in the mouth)
  • Painful swallowing
Signs and tests:

Tests that show Candida include:

Treatment:

In most people, antifungal medicines such as fluconazole (taken by mouth) or amphotericin (given by injection) can control the infection. Some people also need pain medicine. Many patients need other, long-term medicines to suppress the fungus and prevent another episode.

Expectations (prognosis):

Esophagitis can usually be treated effectively. The outcome depends on the immune system problem that makes the person develop the infection.

Complications:
  • Holes in your esophagus (perforation)
  • Recurrent infection
  • Spread of Candida to other sites in your body
Calling your health care provider:

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you develop symptoms of esophagitis, especially if you know that you are immunosuppressed.

Prevention:

Preventing HIV/AIDS lowers your risk for infections such as Candida. Good oral hygiene can reduce the risk of infection.

References:

Kauffman CA. Candidiasis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 359.


Review Date: 8/28/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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