Fungal pharyngitis is also called pharyngomycosis . This disease is characterized by the development of an inflammatory process in the mucous membrane lining the pharynx. It has a fungal etiology and is most often chronic. In general, this pathology rarely leads to any complications. However, sometimes against its background, paratonsillar or retropharyngeal abscesses can form , and with the most unfavorable course, even fungal sepsis.
Fungal pharyngitis is common. According to various sources, among all infectious pathologies from the pharynx, it accounts for thirty to forty percent. At the same time, it was noticed that in recent years more and more people are faced with this disease. There is no gender or age dependence. It is worth noting that quite often such an infection has a combined character. In other words, not only the pharynx is involved in the pathological process, but also other anatomical structures, for example, the gum or tongue.
In more than ninety percent of cases, the development of fungal pharyngitis is caused by fungi belonging to the genus Candida . Such fungi are classified as conditionally pathogenic flora. This suggests that they are found in the body even in healthy people. However, in the normal state, these mushrooms do not lead to the development of an inflammatory process. For this to happen, provoking factors must be present. Much less often, the occurrence of pharyngomycosis is associated with other representatives of the fungal flora.
The main predisposing factor for the formation of fungal pharyngitis is any immunodeficiency condition. They can be associated with frequent infectious diseases, endocrine and metabolic disorders, malignant neoplasms, and so on. In the event that a person has been taking antibacterial drugs, glucocorticosteroids for a long time, or undergoing chemotherapy, the likelihood of such a pathology in him increases several times. Removable dentures are another predisposing factor.
Separately, it should be said about patients suffering from HIV infection. In them, these fungi reproduce most actively and lead to damage not only to the pharynx, but also to many other internal organs. According to statistics, approximately ten percent of people with AIDS subsequently die from various fungal infections.
Fungal pharyngitis is divided into several types: pseudomembranous, catarrhal, hyperplastic and erosive-ulcerative. These varieties are distinguished on the basis of concomitant morphological changes in the pharyngeal mucosa. The pseudomembranous variety is characterized by the formation of single or multiple plaques with a whitish color. Such deposits are easily removed with a spatula, and hyperemic surfaces remain in their place. The catarrhal variety is most favorable. It manifests itself as hyperemic, shiny areas. The hyperplastic variety is accompanied by the appearance of white plaques tightly adhered to the underlying tissues on the pharyngeal wall. With the erosive-ulcerative variety, the mucous membrane is covered with erosive and ulcerative defects.
Symptoms characteristic of pharyngomycosis
We have already said that pharyngomycosis can have an acute or chronic course. The acute form is accompanied by much more striking symptoms. In the chronic form, the clinical picture is moderate, but this process is accompanied by frequent exacerbations. Sometimes there are up to ten or more exacerbations during the year.
With this disease, a sick person complains of burning and sore throat, as well as increased dryness. As a rule, pain syndrome is present with varying degrees of severity. The unpleasant sensations are most intense when eating. Sometimes the patient may indicate that the pain is radiating to the area of the lower jaw or ear. The clinical picture is complemented by symptoms indicating a general intoxication of the body. These include low-grade fever, headaches, general weakness and malaise, and swollen regional lymph nodes.
During the examination, redness and swelling of the mucous membrane, as well as the presence of various plaques on it, are found. In the event that the inflammatory process was caused by fungi of the genus Candida , the plaques that appear have a whitish color and are easily removed from the mucous membrane. Another specific point is the cheesy appearance of the raids.
In the chronic form, the same symptoms are present, but they become noticeable only during the exacerbation. Outside of it, a sick person may not present any complaints at all.
Diagnosis and treatment of fungal pharyngitis
Such an infection can already be suspected on the basis of the concomitant clinical picture. The diagnosis is confirmed by pharyngoscopy, which reveals characteristic changes in the pharyngeal mucosa. To determine the nature of the pathogen, microscopic and cultural analyzes are prescribed . In order to identify the main cause that led to the reproduction of opportunistic flora, other additional examinations may be prescribed.
Treatment of fungal pharyngitis consists of the use of antifungal drugs that can be used both locally and systemically. They are prescribed for one to two weeks. In addition, topical therapy includes the use of antiseptic solutions. In parallel, it is necessary to deal with the treatment of the underlying pathology, which provoked the reproduction of opportunistic fungi.
Prevention of infection
To prevent this pathological process, it is recommended to focus on increasing the level of immune defense, as well as to use antibacterial drugs and glucocorticosteroids only under the supervision of a physician.