Path to Dysphagia Diagnosis
  • Carinda Stout, MS CCC/SLP

Candida Can Cause Dysphagia: A Closer Look.

Candida normally lives in the mouth, throat, and the rest of the digestive tract without causing any problems. Sometimes, Candida can multiply and cause an infection if the environment inside the mouth, throat, or esophagus changes in a way that encourages its growth. For example, this change can occur if a person’s immune system becomes weakened or antibiotics affect the natural balance of microbes in the body. Candidiasis in the mouth and throat is also called thrush.


Candidiasis in the mouth and throat can have many different symptoms, including:

· Loss of taste

· Redness or soreness

· Cotton-like feeling in the mouth

· Pain while eating or swallowing

· Cracking and redness at the corners of the mouth

· White patches on the inner cheeks, tongue, roof of the mouth, and throat


Candidiasis in the mouth, throat, or esophagus is uncommon in healthy adults. People who are at higher risk for getting candidiasis include babies, especially those younger than 1 month of age, and people with at least one of these factors:

· Smoke

· Wear dentures

· Take medications that cause dry mouth or have medical conditions that cause dry mouth

· Take antibiotics or corticosteroids, including inhaled corticosteroids for conditions like asthma

· Have a medical condition that has weakened the immune system such as diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS


Ways to help prevent candidiasis include:

· Maintain good oral health

· Rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after using inhaled corticosteroids


Healthcare providers can usually diagnose candidiasis in the mouth or throat simply by looking inside. Sometimes a healthcare provider will take a small sample from the mouth or throat. The sample is sent to a laboratory for testing, usually to be examined under a microscope. Healthcare providers usually diagnose candidiasis in the esophagus by doing an endoscopy. An endoscopy is a procedure to examine the digestive tract using a tube with a light and a camera. A healthcare provider might prescribe antifungal medicine without doing an endoscopy to see if the patient’s symptoms get better.

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