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Fungal infections: A comprehensive guide to causes, diagnosis and treatment

Dear readers,

In today’s article, we would like to provide you with important information on the subject of fungal infections.

Definition of fungal infections

Fungal infections, also known as mycoses, are diseases caused by fungi and can affect various parts of the body such as the skin, mucous membranes or nails. These infections can be both superficial and deep-seated and are a common challenge in medical practice. Fungi, including yeasts and dermatophytes, are naturally present on the skin. Under certain conditions, however, they can grow excessively and cause infections.

In my daily practice, I always keep a watchful eye on fungi in cases of chronic illnesses, environmental toxin exposure, chronic fatigue syndrome, skin diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and much more, and also treat them regularly in order to relieve the immune system and improve health.

This newsletter is about fungi that can make us ill. Medicinal mushrooms (e.g. Reishi, Astragalus, etc.), which I like to use therapeutically due to their health benefits, are to be distinguished from these. I will be happy to address these in another newsletter if you are interested.

Symptoms of fungal infections

The diagnosis of fungal infections requires a careful examination by an experienced doctor. Symptoms vary depending on the type and location of the infection, but may include itching, redness, scaling, pain or discharge.

Various diagnostic procedures are used to enable precise identification of the causative fungus. More on this in a moment – first we would like to take a closer look at the symptoms.

Possible symptoms of a fungal infection:

Skin infections:
– Reddening of the skin
– Itching or burning
– Scaling or blistering
– Inflammation and swelling

Nail infections:
– Thickening of the nail
– Discoloration (yellowish or brownish)
– Fissuring or crumbling edges
– Pain or tenderness

Mouth and throat infections:
– White spots or deposits on the tongue or mucous membranes
– Red, painful spots in the mouth
– Difficulty swallowing
– Bad breath

Genital infections:
– Itching in the genital area
– Burning sensation when urinating
– Discharge in women
– Pain during sexual intercourse

Systemic infections:
– Fever
– Tiredness or fatigue
– Weight loss
– Breathing difficulties (with lung infections)

Recurrent local infections are always a warning sign and also indicate a systemic problem. They are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Fungi depress the immune system and are also regularly associated with toxin exposure (e.g. heavy metal or environmental toxin exposure). Fatigue and tiredness are the main symptoms of fungal infections, along with other causes of course.

Diagnostics for fungal infections

The correct diagnosis of fungal infections requires a thorough examination by an experienced doctor. The doctor will assess the symptoms and apply various diagnostic procedures depending on the suspicion.

Clinical examinations include an inspection of the skin, nails or mucous membranes by the doctor. Microscopic analysis of skin flakes or nail samples can provide information about the pathogen. Cultures are also commonly used by placing samples on special culture media to allow growth and identification of the fungus.

For internal organs, imaging procedures such as X-ray, CT or MRI are used to monitor the spread of the infection. Blood and tissue samples can also be taken for further analysis.

Testing: Testing for fungal infections is crucial for an accurate diagnosis. Different methods are used depending on the suspected localization of the infection.

  1. Skin tests: Skin swabs, dandruff samples or biopsies are taken to investigate skin infections.
  2. Blood tests: Certain blood markers such as antibodies, antigens or specific proteins can indicate a fungal infection. We mainly determine antibodies, e.g. against Candida species and Aspergillus species (IgG, IgM and IgA). An increase in IgA indicates mucosal involvement, an increase in IgM indicates an infestation of internal organs, for example. In functional medicine, there are also tests in the Th1 area, e.g. LTTs (lymphocyte transformation tests) or Ellispot tests.
  3. Molecular tests: The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) enables the detection of fungal DNA in samples and provides fast and precise results.
  4. You can also test for fungal toxins, which represent a major burden for the body (e.g. the Toxiplex Basic from Arminlabs).

Treatment of fungal infections

The treatment of fungal infections depends on the type of fungus, the region affected and the patient’s state of health. Self-medication should be avoided, as incorrect therapeutic approaches can make the infection worse.

  1. Plant substances: Substances such as caprylic acid, oregano oil, tea tree oil, grapefruit extract and other substances are effective here, especially in local therapy and in cases of gastrointestinal tract infestation.
  2. Antifungals: These drugs are designed to combat fungi. They can be taken orally, applied topically or administered as an injection.
  3. Antibiotics: In some cases, fungal infections can be treated with antibiotics, especially if bacterial infections are present.
  4. Immunomodulators: People with weakened immune systems may be given immunomodulators to strengthen their defenses against fungal infections. This can also be done with natural substances. These and their effect on the immune system can also be tested individually (e.g. Colostrum, Biobran, Colibiogen, Astragalus, etc.).

Therapeutic approaches and antimycotics in detail

I like to use combinations of natural substances from conventional medicine and so-called isopathics (homeopathy). This is flanked by dietary recommendations and recommendations for avoiding reinfection and, of course, possible exposure to fungi in the environment, e.g. in the home, is also clarified.

Itraconazole is a broad-spectrum antifungal agent that is used to treat various fungal infections. It inhibits the growth of fungi by interfering with their cell membranes. It is often used in the form of capsules that are taken orally. The dosage and duration of treatment are determined by the attending physician and may vary depending on the type and severity of the infection. Side effects may include gastrointestinal complaints, liver dysfunction or interactions with other medications. It is important to follow all instructions prescribed by your doctor exactly and to discuss any concerns or side effects with them immediately.

Fluconazole is another effective antifungal agent that is often used for yeast infections, such as Candida infections. It works by impairing the formation of fungal cell walls. Fluconazole can be taken orally or administered intravenously, depending on the type of infection and the patient’s state of health. As with any medication, side effects can occur, including gastrointestinal complaints, skin rashes or headaches. The exact dosage and duration of treatment should be agreed with the doctor.

Nystatin is an antifungal agent that is used in particular for fungal infections of the skin, mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. It works by destroying the cell membranes of the fungi. Nystatin is often available in the form of creams, ointments or suspensions and is applied topically or taken orally. External use may cause skin irritation, while oral use may cause gastrointestinal complaints. The duration of use and dosage should be agreed individually with the doctor treating you.

Caprylic acid:
Caprylic acid, a fatty acid from coconut oil, has antifungal properties and is used as a dietary supplement against fungal infections. It is assumed that caprylic acid destabilizes the cell membranes of the fungi and thus inhibits their growth. It is usually used in the form of capsules. It is important not to exceed the recommended dosage and to coordinate the intake with a doctor.

Nutrition and lifestyle:
A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle play a decisive role in the prevention and treatment of fungal infections. A diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals strengthens the immune system and helps to curb the growth of fungi. Avoiding excessive consumption of sugar and yeast and maintaining good hygiene are also important factors.

Probiotics are living microorganisms that have a positive effect on intestinal health. A balanced intestinal flora is crucial for a strong immune system and can help to maintain balance in the body. Foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir are natural sources of probiotics.

Garlic is known for its antimicrobial properties. It contains allicin, a compound that can be effective against various types of fungi. Consuming raw garlic or integrating it into the diet can be a supportive measure in the natural fight against fungal infections.

Coconut oil:
Coconut oil contains caprylic acid, which has antifungal properties. It can be applied topically to the affected areas of skin or integrated into the diet. External application can also have a supportive effect in the case of nail infections or skin mycoses.

Oregano oil:
Oregano oil contains the active ingredient carvacrol, which has antifungal properties. Taking oregano oil in the form of capsules or applying it externally to affected areas of skin can help to combat fungal infections.

We hope to have provided you with important information and thank you for your time and for reading this newsletter.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Feel free to contact us anytime and arrange an appointment if you have any questions.

Stay healthy and informed!

Dr. Stefan Rohrer

Also read:

Intestinal parasitoses

Helicobacter pylori (H.p.)

Chronic infectious diseases