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Fungal infections

Fungal infections: Introduction

Fungal infections are infections caused by a fungus, a type of microorganism. Some very common types of fungal infections are caused by the fungus tinea. Tinea infections cause athlete's foot, jock itch and ringworm.

Another common type of fungal infection is a yeast infection, caused by the fungus Candida albicans. This type of fungal infection can infect such areas of the body as the vagina (vaginal thrush), mouth (oral thrush) and the digestive tract (fungal gastroenteritis).

A fungal infection can also cause fungal infections of the lungs. This is the result of breathing in fungal spores. Fungal infections can also be a symptom of a serious disease, such as HIV/AIDS or diabetes.

People at risk for fungal infections include those taking strong antibiotics, especially for a long period of time. Antibiotics kill bacteria, including healthy bacteria, which can alter the balance of microorganisms in the mouth, vagina, intestines and other places in the body. This can result in an overgrowth of fungus.

People with weakened immune systems are also more likely to develop fungal infections and have recurrent bouts of fungal infections. This includes people with HIV/AIDS or those taking steroid medications or on chemotherapy, which all suppress the immune system. People with diabetes are more likely to develop fungal infections because the elevated level of sugar in the body provide food for some fungi and encourage its overgrowth. Other people at risk include the very young and very old.

Fungal infections can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the type of infection, the area of the body affected, and other factors. Some complications of fungal infections can be serious, even life-threatening. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of fungal infections.

Making a diagnosis of fungal infections includes performing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination that focuses on the area of the body with symptoms. Diagnostic testing may include taking a small sample or swab of the infected area, such the vagina, skin or mouth, and examining it under a microscope to confirm an overgrowth of yeast. For a suspected fungal infection of the lungs, phlegm is examined. For a suspected fungal gastroenteritis, stool is examined.

It is possible that a diagnosis of fungal infections can be missed or delayed because symptoms may be mild and for other reasons. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of fungal infections.

Fungal infections can be successfully treated with an individualized treatment plan that best fits the specific type of fungal infection, area of the body affected and the patient's age, medical history. The treatment plan should also address underlying risk factors, such as diabetes or HIV. Treatment may include eating certain foods and medication. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of fungal infections. ...more »

Fungal infections: Fungi and yeasts are multi-celled plants that are parasites. An everyday example of a fungus is mushrooms. However, the fungi that cause human disease are usually very small fungi. There are a few common human fungal conditions that are rarely harmful except for those with severely weakened immune systems. ...more »

Fungal infections: Symptoms

Symptoms of fungal infections differ depending on the type of infection, severity of the infection and the area of the body affected.

Symptoms of athlete's foot include scaling and flaking of the skin and itching of the feet. Athlete's foot can spread to the toenails causing thick, yellowish toenails.

Symptoms of jock itch include itching ...more symptoms »

Fungal infections: Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for fungal infections uses a multifaceted approach. The first step in treatment is prevention. Prevention measures include maintaining good oral, groin and skin hygiene. It is also important not to share towels, underwear and other personal items with other people.

Prevention also includes using antibiotics only when truly ...more treatments »

Fungal infections: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of fungal infections begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam that focuses on the area of the body that is having symptoms. A diagnosis of fungal infections may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms may be mild in some people or may be attributed to other causes, such as canker sores, ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Fungal infections

Treatments for Fungal infections

  • Topical therapy - Used to treat tinea and localised mucocutaneous candidiasis. Not usually successful for infections involving the nail and hair.
  • Topical agents include
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Fungal infections:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Fungal infections?

Fungal infections: Related Patient Stories

Fungal infections: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Fungal infections.

Types of Fungal infections

Causes of Fungal infections

Read more about causes of Fungal infections.

More information about causes of Fungal infections:

Disease Topics Related To Fungal infections

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Misdiagnosis and Fungal infections

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Latest Treatments for Fungal infections

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Fungal infections

Medical research articles related to Fungal infections include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Research about Fungal infections

Visit our research pages for current research about Fungal infections treatments.

Clinical Trials for Fungal infections

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Fungal infections include:

Statistics for Fungal infections

Fungal infections: Broader Related Topics

Fungal infections Message Boards

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Article Excerpts about Fungal infections

A fungus is actually a primitive vegetable. Fungi can be found in air, in soil, on plants, and in water. Thousands, perhaps millions, of different types of fungi exist on Earth. The most familiar ones to us are mushrooms, yeast, mold, and mildew. Some live in the human body, usually without causing illness. In fact, only about half of all types of fungi cause disease in humans. Those conditions are called mycoses. (Source: excerpt from Microbes in Sickness and in Health -- Publications, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: NIAID)

Definitions of Fungal infections:

A kingdom of eukaryotic, heterotrophic organisms that live as saprobes or parasites, including mushrooms, yeasts, smuts, molds, etc. They reproduce either sexually or asexually, and have life cycles that range from simple to complex. Filamentous fungi refer to those that grow as multicellular colonies (mushrooms and molds). - (Source - Diseases Database)

 

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