Almost every woman knows what genital candidiasis is. However, few people know that this fungus can also affect the gastrointestinal tract, which significantly affects its work. The disease is famous for its completely different clinical forms, which can easily be disguised as other ailments. Treatment of candidiasis is a long and extremely responsible process: the patient will not only have to take the necessary medications, but also revise his lifestyle and start strengthening the immune system.
Intestinal candidiasis: why does the disease develop?
Intestinal candidiasis is an infectious fungal disease that affects the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract. This pathology is one of the most important problems of modern gastroenterology: it is quite difficult to determine the nature of the disease in time. This is due to the widespread prevalence of the pathogen – the fungus of the genus Candida , which is also a component of the microflora of the body of a completely healthy person (about 80% of the population are asymptomatic carriers).
Physicians distinguish two main forms of fungal infection: invasive and non-invasive. Most often, the first form of the disease occurs: it develops against the background of dysbiosis and an infectious disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Candida fungi begin to multiply actively in the intestinal lumen, but do not penetrate into the mucous membrane. At the same time, a large amount of toxic metabolic products are released, which irritate the intestines. They provoke further progression of dysbiosis, and also contribute to the formation of allergic reactions.
Invasive candidiasis develops according to a completely different mechanism. Against the background of a weakened immune system, fungi are tightly attached to the intestinal epithelium, after which they penetrate deep into its thickness. Often, Candida spreads through the systemic circulation, as a result of which other organs and tissues (liver, pancreas) are affected. The following factors increase the likelihood of developing the disease:
- old or young age;
- oncological diseases;
- a course of antibacterial, corticosteroid or radiation therapy;
- endocrine pathologies;
- congenital and acquired immunodeficiency states.
How does a fungal infection manifest?
Today, it is customary to distinguish between three main types of candidiasis: non-invasive, invasive diffuse and focal. The non-invasive form of the disease is the most common. It is characterized by a rather mild course: a moderate increase in body temperature, unstable stool, excessive gas formation, and also minor abdominal discomfort. Against the background of the disease, an exacerbation of allergic diseases often occurs.
Invasive diffuse fungal infection is characterized by an extremely serious condition of the patient. Intoxication grows very quickly: the body temperature rises, there is a sharp weakness, blood pressure drops. Patients report the appearance of severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, constant nausea and vomiting. This type of fungal infection is most common in people with immunosuppressive conditions.
The invasive focal form of the disease often complicates the course of peptic ulcer disease or ulcerative colitis. In this case, a local lesion of the mucous membrane occurs in the area of the ulcer defect: the fungus begins to actively grow and multiply there. In this case, the symptoms do not differ from the usual manifestations of the disease.
One of the important elements in the treatment of a disease is diet. Candidiasis requires the patient to seriously reconsider nutrition: without this, recovery will take a long time. First of all, the patient should refuse those products that give the fungi food for further growth and reproduction. This group includes all sweets and sugary drinks (juices, soda), any alcohol, fatty and fried foods, as well as mushrooms. The patient is advised to turn his attention to poultry, red fish, cereals, non-starchy vegetables. Fruits and berries should be consumed in a limited way: they are also a source of sugars.
It is worth noting that the food should be fractional. Small portions, taken 5-6 times a day, are much better absorbed. All dishes should be stewed, boiled or baked. It is better to refuse salt, spices and hot sauces. Also, patients should not forget about compliance with the drinking regime.
Intestinal candidiasis treatment
In most cases, the treatment of candidiasis is carried out on an outpatient basis, but if the patient’s condition is serious, hospitalization is indicated. The basis of therapy is antimycotic drugs that disrupt the life cycle of the fungus and prevent its development. Most often, ketoconazole , itraconazole and fluconazole, as well as amphotericin B , are used for this purpose . These drugs are actively absorbed from the intestine and have a systemic effect.
Non-invasive candidiasis is treated with non- resorptive polymycotics that are poorly absorbed by the mucous membrane. These include natamycin and nystatin . Also, the treatment of candidiasis is aimed at restoring the composition of the normal intestinal microflora: for this purpose, probiotics and prebiotics are prescribed . After the course of therapy, the patient is shown to strengthen the immune system using physiotherapy and immunostimulants.
Prevention: is it possible to prevent the development of the disease?
A fungal infection that affects the intestines can cause serious damage to the health of the body. That is why it is so important to prevent its development. This can be helped by following some simple rules:
- organization of the diet and the use of predominantly healthy food;
- strengthening immunity;
- minimizing the number of stressful situations;
- taking medications only on the recommendation of a doctor.