Esophageal Candidiasis

What is Esophageal Candidiasis?

Esophageal candidiasis is a fungal infection of the esophagus, or swallowing tube, caused by Candida, a type of yeast. It is also known as thrush, or oropharyngeal candidiasis, and is a common infection in people with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of Esophageal Candidiasis

Common symptoms of esophageal candidiasis can include:

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Burning sensation in the chest
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss

In addition, the presence of white lesions in the mouth or on the tongue and throat can indicate esophageal candidiasis.

Causes of Esophageal Candidiasis

Esophageal candidiasis is often caused by:

  • Immune system disorders such as HIV/AIDS or diabetes
  • Cancer and chemotherapy treatments
  • Use of immunosuppressant drugs
  • Corticosteroid use
  • Alcohol use
  • Antibiotic use

Esophageal candidiasis can also be caused by eating food contaminated with the Candida fungus.

Treatments for Esophageal Candidiasis

Esophageal candidiasis treatments depend on the cause of the infection. Treatment options include:

  • Antifungal medications, such as fluconazole, itraconazole, and voriconazole
  • Immunomodulatory drugs, such as corticosteroids and cyclosporine, to stimulate and strengthen a person's immune system
  • Good oral hygiene, including brushing teeth and rinsing the mouth after meals and before bed
  • Dietary changes, such as avoiding foods high in sugar
  • Probiotic supplements, such as lactobacillus or other bacteria to help reduce the amount of yeast in the stomach
  • Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption

It is important to discuss any changes to the diet, lifestyle, or medications with your doctor before starting treatment for esophageal candidiasis.