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How do you treat a fungal infection in the esophagus?

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Doctors treat a fungal infection in the esophagus with injected antifungal medications, such as amphotericin or caspofungin, or oral antifungal medications, such as fluconazole, MedlinePlus says. These medications kill most of the organisms that cause this condition, usually a Candida species, but infections tend to recur, so long-term suppressive therapies may be necessary. In some cases, symptoms of a fungal infection in the esophagus are severe enough to require prescription pain medication as well.

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Fungal infections of the esophagus are rare except in people with weakened immune systems, MedlinePlus explains. A weakened immune system also makes the infection more difficult to treat. Several factors can weaken a person's immune system, including chemotherapy, lymphoma, leukemia, HIV infection and diabetes. People who take immunosuppressive drugs for organ transplants also have a higher risk for fungal infection of the esophagus. A person with a healthy immune system often recovers from a fungal infection of the esophagus without treatment in three to five days.

The symptoms of a fungal infection of the esophagus include fever, chills, and difficult or painful swallowing, says MedlinePlus. In the case of infection by Candida fungus, oral thrush may accompany the infection. People with this infection can develop holes in the esophagus and have the infection spread to other areas of the body.

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