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Systemic fungal infection and their treatment

Mycosis of the skin

May occur anywhere on the skin: on the trunk, in the inguinal area, on arms and legs, on the foot, palm, between fingers and toes, on the face, under the hair, in the hair or on the hair.

Foot mycosis - Tinea pedis

One of the most common fungal infection of the skin is the so called “tinea pedis” (foot mycosis). It is very common, usually occurring between the toes and is extremely contagious. The athletes-feet infection can easily be caught, if one uses a public changing-room, or even a common towel. If untreated, the infection may spread on the foot, onto sides of the proximal part of the foot and the toenails. A common sign and symptom of tinea pedis is the inflammation of the skin, starting to itch, certain skin areas necrotize, while wetting, blisters, cracks or peeling of the skin is noticed. The damaged skin may be supra-infected by bacteria, causing an unpleasant odor.

Tips and tricks against foot mycosis:

  • don’t walk barefoot on the pavement of public places. In public showers, swimming pools, during hydrotherapies easy to clean, plastic flip-flops should be used
  • don’t wear other’s shoes
  • don’t wear acrylic socks, because the fungus prefer a humid environment. Choose cotton socks and high quality shoes.
  • wipe your skin completely try, paying special attention to the curves

! : Skin mycosis occurs not only on the foot, but in other areas as well, especially the curves of the body. This is even more prevalent in overweight, in areas of skin-on-skin contact. Try to reduce your weight, thus decreasing the risk of diabetes too.

Mycosis of the nails

In cases of nail mycosis the fungi settle in and below the nail plate, and, by breaking down the keratin layer, lead to the thickening, deformation, discoloration of the affected nail. The infection occurs easiest on already cracked and damaged nails, as well as humid, warm, dark places, this is why mycosis is much more prevalent on the toenails. The infection spreads from the affected nail onto adjacent skin areas (e.g. interim of finger- and toenails), as well as the other nail.

Complications of nail mycosis

Fungal infection of toenails may be painful; nail deformation may also lead to damage of the nail bed. It may affect walking, wearing shoes. A superimposed bacterial infection may cause erysipelas. Diabetes patients have to address foot-care with special attention, considering their increased risk due to the impaired wound healing ability.

Oral and esophageal fungal infections

The most common fungal infection of the mucosa is thrush, caused by a fungus known as Candida. After removing the white fur, the significant redness and inflammation of the mucosa underneath becomes visible. Thrush can spread to the throat and esophagus, leading to inflammation and pain.
Candida is present in the mouth of 20 % of the population, without causing any problems. At the same time, several disorders are nowadays accounted for Candida infection, which have nothing to do with the mycosis. If you suspect a fungal infection, don’t buy a product with dubious origin, visit your doctor instead. No GP referral is needed for an appointment at the dermatology specialty clinic.

Vaginal mycosis

Likewise, it may result from the proliferation of the candida fungus. It is important to note, that Candida is present in the vagina under normal conditions as well, creating a balance with other microorganisms, not causing any symptoms. The problems always results from the imbalance of the vaginal environment, due to proliferation of bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses, for example. Typically, this condition occurs following treatment with antibiotics, which eradicates the normal vaginal flora as well, or at least tips its balance over. Causing factors may also be intimate liners, sanitary pads or irritation resulting from wearing too tight undergarment made of synthetic material.

Vaginal discharge in mycosis is thick, cheesy, white and inodorous. Irritation of the labia is also common: urination and sexual intercourse may be painful. The vaginal discharge caused by bacteria is a thick, grayish-white fluid with an unpleasant odor.

Fungal infections of internal organs

Spores of the so called “intruding” fungus are to be found everywhere. They are inhaled and, through the trachea, they enter the system. In cases of an impaired immune system (AIDS, artificially induced immune deficiency following organ transplantation, etc.) it may be life-threatening. Fortunately this infection rarely occurs.

Mycosis treatment

Several active agents and forms of application are currently available, for nail mycosis polish, for the skin creams, ointments, solutions, etc. However, if recommended by the doctor, not only external, surface, but a so called systemic treatment may also be necessary, administered in form of pills/capsules.

Itrakonazole, an active agent developed for the systemic treatment of fungal infections, is considered a serious medication. Never accept it from anyone you know, even if experiencing similar symptoms! Always ask for your doctor’s opinion. Itrakonazole can’t be administered in combination with a number of medications, for instance with the widely used cholesterol lowering drugs.

Liver enzyme levels have to be checked during treatment.

!: Women are advised to apply an effective contraceptive method during therapy, due to the teratogenic effect of itrakonazole exerted on the fetus potentially conceived.