Candida Esophagitis

The esophagus is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Esophagitis is an inflammation of the lining of the esophagus. This occurs most often from acid reflux or an infection. The most common cause of infection is a fungus called candida. This infection is also known as thrush.

Esophagitis may cause pain or trouble with swallowing. It may also cause fever and bleeding. If left untreated, it can scar the esophagus. Scarring may narrow the esophagus and lead to permanent trouble swallowing.

In adults, esophagitis with candida infection is most common in people who have HIV/AIDS. A weak immune system from other causes may also result in the infection. It may also sometimes affect people who have had chemotherapy or radiation, or use inhaled steroid medicines. Smoking, antibiotics, and dentures may also increase the risk for esophagitis. People with diabetes may also be a risk.

In some cases, your healthcare provider may do an endoscopy. This means looking inside the esophagus with a small tube and light. Candida esophagitis usually responds well to treatment. To prevent it from coming back, your healthcare provider must also treat factors that contribute to the infection.

Front view of man showing upper digestive anatomy.

Home care

  • If your provider has prescribed medicines, take all of them as directed. Call your provider if you have questions about the medicines or have side effects.

  • To help prevent irritation of the throat, don't eat spicy foods such as pepper, chili powder, curry, or nutmeg. Don't eat hard foods such as nuts, crackers, or raw vegetables. Also don't eat acidic foods or drinks such as tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits, or citrus juices.

  • Until you can swallow without pain, follow a liquid and soft diet. Include such foods as applesauce, cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, and soups.

  • Take small bites and chew your food well.

  • Don't drink alcohol and don't smoke.

  • Practice good oral hygiene.

  • Take good care of your teeth and gums.

  • Have regular dental checkups. Tell your dentist about your infection and the medicines you are taking

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider for any of the following:

  • Increasing pain with swallowing

  • Inability to eat or drink

  • Dizziness or weakness

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms

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