Oropharyngeal candidiasis is a fungal infection which is caused by the overgrowth of the fungus, candida albicans, in the mouth and throat. Candida is normally found on the skin and mucus membranes. When an imbalance occurs, the fungus can multiply. Esophageal candidiasis results when the fungus overgrowth travels beyond the oral cavity into the esophagus.
Candidiasis occurs more frequently and with increased severity in individuals with a compromised immune system. People with AIDS and a weakened immune system secondary to treatments to fight cancer are most susceptible to developing esophageal candidiasis. According to the experts at journal.diabetes.org, diabetic individuals with poorly controlled blood sugar levels are more likely to develop candidiasis of the gastrointestinal tract (1).
Painless white patches in the mouth are the usual symptoms of oropharyngeal candidiasis. Sometimes, redness and soreness of the lining of the mouth can occur. Another symptom is cracking at the corners of the mouth. As the fungal overgrowth extends further along the GI tract, an individual can experience difficulty swallowing, heartburn, and intestinal bleeding (1).
Diagnosis is made by examination of the oral cavity and microscopic examination of a sample of a scraping from the oral cavity. Prescription medications such as clotrimazole lozenges,nystatin suspension, and oral fluconazole are the treatments of choice. Oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis can become resistant to antifungal treatment over time. Seeking medical treatment is important (2).
Natural alternative remedies for getting rid of candidiasis are offered on a wide variety of Web sites. The Candida Diet recommends a high fat, protein, and complex carbohydrate intake. One is encouraged to consume very little fruits but plenty of meat(3). Another Web site suggests that garlic, oregano oil, green algae, bentonite clay, psyllium husks, and colloidal silver are natural remedies to treat candidiasis. "And of course, you are recommended to consult a qualified and competent health professional", states Richard Seah (4).