It is important to treat yeast infections to stop symptoms from recurring. Additionally, non-treatment of symptoms may allow sexual partners to infect and re-infect each other. Furthermore, new mothers may infect their babies orally, and then be reinfected by the baby. Yeast infections of the mouth and esophagus are especially important to treat, as they can cause severe pain and difficulty swallowing, and may eventually lead to infections of the gastrointestinal tract. Treatment of yeast infections should restore this fungus to a healthy, and non-troubling, level within your body.
Diagnosis for yeast infections usually involve a visit to a family physician, or, perhaps, in the case of female genital yeast infections, to the gynecologist. Sometimes a physical examination or knowledge of your medical history is sufficient for a diagnosis. Other times your doctor may want to conduct a test (blood, genital swabs, oral swabs, etc.) to determine if it is indeed a yeast infection, or due to another cause. Let's look at how the different diagnoses are made for each.
Barium x-ray test
One test that your doctor may order for oral yeast infections that have traveled to the esophagus is to drink one or two glasses of a thick, chalky, drink with barium. After drinking this, your doctor may take an X-ray, thus revealing your esophagus. Some disorders of the esophagus can be revealed (ulcers) using a barium test, although it is rarely used specifically for yeast infections these days.
Sometimes, oral swabs and visual examinations are not enough. Your doctor may recommend additional tests, such as a blood test. This is especially the case when there is no reasonable explanation as to why you became infected with the candida albicans fungus in the first place. Perhaps, for example, you have a weakened immune system due to a bacterial or viral infection (such as HIV/AIDS), thus increasing your susceptibility to acquiring a yeast infection.
Instead, your doctor may examine vaginal secretions under a microscope. Urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections have similar symptoms. By determining the cause of your infection, effective treatment can begin.
Infections of the mouth may result from bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Because of this, you doctor might also take an oral swabbing from the back of your throat. This will then be cultivated to determine what exactly is causing the oral infection.
A simple visual inspection is usually sufficient for most doctors to diagnose cutaneous yeast infections and thrush. Regarding vaginal yeast infections, the external genitalia, cervix, and vagina may be examines. Regarding cutaneous infections. a dermatologist may also choose to take a skin sample / scratch sample to examine underneath a microscope to confirm his visual inspection.
If a yeast infection has reached into your esophagus, this is serious. Hence, your doctor may order additional tests. Endoscopic examination will involve an endoscope (a tube with a lighted camera on the end) down your esophagus, stomach, and to examine the upper part of your small intestine (duodenum). You may be given a sedative to make you less anxious, and an anesthetic to curb your gag reflex.
Once you have a diagnosis made of having a yeast infection, you can begin treatment. Read here for more information on treatment options and how to get rid of a yeast infection.
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