Any illness or condition caused by a fungus is referred to as a fungal infection. They usually affect the skin, hair, nails, or mucous membranes, but they can also infect other parts of your body, including your lungs. Fungal infections are more common in those with weakened immune systems. Generally, antifungal medications are used to treat fungal infections.

Mycosis, or fungal infections, can be brought on by mold or yeast. Although they can affect the mouth, throat, lungs, urinary tract, and many other parts of the body, fungal infections mostly affect the skin or nails.

What are Fungi?

Fungi are living things that are classified separately from animals or plants. They move around by spreading out or sending spores (reproductive parts) into the air or environment. Many fungi live naturally in our body (GI tract, mouth, skin ) but can overgrow under certain circumstances. Scientists estimate that millions of fungi exist worldwide, but only a few numbers are known to pose a threat to human health. This includes certain yeasts and molds.

What Does A Fungal Infection Look Like?

Skin infections caused by fungi can cause swelling, bumpiness, or redness. They may resemble a rash or be visible as a lump beneath your skin. Fungal infections can cause your nails to become thick, brittle, or discolored (yellow, brown, or white). Fungal infections in your throat or mouth can cause patches or a white coating. 

Who is Most at Risk for Fungal Infections?

Anyone can get a fungal infection, especially if it affects the nails or skin. The body parts that experience high levels of friction or moisture retention are more susceptible to fungal infections. You are more susceptible to infections, particularly serious ones, if you have poor circulation from diabetes or any of the following conditions that affect your immune system. 

  • Cancer or Cancer treatments.
  • Immunosuppressant Medications (for stem cell, autoimmune conditions or organ, or bone marrow transplants.

Types of Fungal Infections 

Fungal infections can be subcutaneous (under the skin), superficial (under the skin), or deep (within other organs such as the heart, brain, or lungs). They can also occur on the surface of the skin, nails, or mucous membranes. 

Superficial Fungal Infections: Superficial fungal infections affect your skin, nails, and mucous membranes like throat, mouth, or vagina). Examples of superficial fungal infections include:

  • Ringworm (Dermatophytosis): Ringworm is caused by a type of fungi called Dermatophytes, which feed on the cells of the skin, hair, and nails. They can infect your hands (tinea Manuum), your scalp (tinea capitis), your feet (tinea pedis/athlete’s foot), your groin and inner thighs (tinea cruris/jock itch), your facial hair and surrounding skin (tinea barbae), and other areas of your body (tinea corporis). 
  • Onychomycosis: Onychomycosis, or fungal nail infections, can be caused by a variety of fungal species. Nail discoloration and cracking may result from this.
  • Candidiasis: Candida (typically Candida albicans) causes infections known as candidiasis, which affect the skin and mucous membranes (mucocutaneous). These include esophageal candidiasis, candidal intertrigo, vaginal yeast infections (vulvovaginitis), oral thrush, and other diaper rash conditions.
  • Tinea Versicolor/Pityriasis Versicolor: Dermatological discolorations known as tinea versicolor or pityriasis versicolor are caused by the fungus Malassezia. 

2. Subcutaneous Fungal Infections: A fungal infection can occur subcutaneously or beneath the skin’s surface, when the fungus penetrates a cut or wound, frequently as a result of an accident sustained while handling plants (e.g., a thorny scratch). They cause ulcers, rashes, and other symptoms on your skin. 

  • Sporotrichosis (rose gardener’s disease): The fungus Sporothrix is the cause of sporotrichosis. Sporotrichosis can potentially affect the lungs or other organs in your body.
  • Chromoblastomycosis: Chromoblastomycosis can be brought on by a variety of fungi. It may result in persistent (chronic) skin infections. Very seldom does it spread to other body areas.
  • Eumycetoma: Many different fungi can cause Eumycetoma. It most commonly affects your feet. 

3. Deep Fungal Infections: Deep fungal infections are found in places in your body other than your skin like your blood, lungs, urinary tract, or brain. Certain infections are considered opportunistic, which means that they often only infect individuals with compromised immune systems. Invasive or deep fungal infections include:

  • Histoplasmosis: The fungus Histoplasma, which is the cause of histoplasmosis, can infect your brain, lungs, or other bodily components. The Ohio and Mississippi river valleys are typical spots for it. 
  • Blastomycosis: The fungus Blastomyces, which causes blastomycosis, frequently infects your skin, lungs, and bones. It can very rarely infect your spinal cord and brain as well.
  • Coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever): Coccidioidomycosis, which is caused by the fungus Coccidioides, is a lung infection that sometimes spreads to other areas of the body. Arizona and California are where it’s most prevalent.
  • Aspergillosis: Aspergillus, the mold responsible for aspergillosis, can lead to other lung diseases, such as chronic pulmonary aspergillosis and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). It can also infect other parts of your body or form a fungus bal (Aspergilloma). 
  • Candidal Urinary Tract Infection: Most urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria, but some are also brought on by yeasts like Candida.
  • Invasive Candidiasis: Invasive candidiasis is caused by several species of Candida. It can infect your blood, heart, eyes, brain, bones, or other parts of your body. 
  • Pneumocystis Pneumonia (PJP): Pneumocystis Jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) is a fungal infection that can affect your lungs. 
  • Mucormycosis: Mucormycosis is caused by a class of molds known as mucormycetes. Mucormycetes can cause infections in a variety of bodily areas at once, including the skin (cutaneous mucormycosis), lungs (pulmonary mucormycosis), intestines (gastrointestinal mucormycosis), sinuses, and brain (Rhinocerebral mucormycosis). 
  • Cryptococcosis: Cryptococcosis is brought on by Cryptococcus Neoformans and Cryptococcus Gattii. Usually affecting the lungs, they can also occasionally infect the brain and spinal cord (a condition known as cryptococcal meningitis).

Symptoms and Causes :

1. What are the symptoms of fungal infections? 

The symptoms of a fungal infection vary depending on the kind of infection you have and where it is on your body.Symptoms most commonly manifest on the skin, nails, or mucous membranes (mouth, throat, or vagina). Infections in the brain, lungs, intestines, eyes, or sinuses can occasionally cause symptoms. 

2. Symptoms of Superficial or Subcutaneous Infections 

Symptoms of infections under the skin or on the surface include:

  • Soreness, itching, redness, or rash in the affected area.
  • Thick, discolored, or cracked nails.
  • discomfort during eating, taste loss, or white patches in the throat or mouth.
  • A painless lump under your skin. 

3. Symptoms of fungal infections in your lungs

The following are signs of fungal infections in the lungs:

  • Cough, sometimes coughing up blood.
  • Fever.
  • Fatigue (tiredness).
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Joint pain.
  • Muscles aches.
  • Night sweats.

What Causes Fungal Infections?

Fungal infections are brought on by molds, yeast, and other fungus species. Most fungi don’t cause disease in people, but a few do. Opportunistic infections are those that, although they seldom cause illnesses themselves, can take advantage of particular conditions, such weakened immune systems. Some common fungi you can get infection from include:

  • Dermatophytes: A class of fungi known as dermatophytes feed on keratin, which is found in your nails, hair, and skin’s outer layer. Living tissue is not infected by them. 
  • Candida: Yeasts like Candida albicans exist naturally on your body and normally don’t cause any issues. Under certain conditions, it can grow too much and cause redness and itching. Rarely, it can cause serious infections. 
  • Environmental Fungi that live in water or soil. Examples include Coccidioides, Histaplasma, Blastomyces, and Aspergillus.

How is A Fungal Infection Diagnosed?

Where fungal illness appears on your body will determine how your healthcare practitioner diagnoses it. Consulting with Dr. Sheetu Singh for a fungal infection ensures a comprehensive and expert approach to addressing your health concerns. She is an experienced and skilled physician with a focus on infectious illnesses and dermatology. Dr. Singh uses the most recent technological breakthroughs in medicine and diagnostic techniques to perform a comprehensive examination during the consultation to determine the precise type of fungal infection. In samples of yours: they might search for indications of fungus or attempt to cultivate fungus from them. 

  • Skin or other affected tissue.
  • Blood.
  • Nails (nail clipping).
  • Pee (Urine).
  • Phlegm (Sputum).
  • Fluid around your brain and spinal cord (CNS fluid).
  • Fluid from your eye (Secreations).
  • Vaginal discharge.

Dr. Sheetu Singh, a nationally renowned pulmonologist, Director ILD & Pulmonary Rehab Clinic, is an expert in chest-related conditions. She got her training from SMS Medical College, Jaipur followed by a visit to Cleveland Clinic, USA.

Contact Info

Address: Mahavir Jaipuriya Rajasthan Hospital Milap Nagar, JLN Marg, Jaipur

Mobile: (+91)-8696666380


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