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Systemic Fungal Infection: Can it cause thyroiditis and how best to treat?

Posted by @krinzgal in Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat, Jul 17, 2011

Has anyone had experience with systemic fungal infection in a child with a normally functioning immune system? My daughter has a host of problems, including chronic sphenoid sinus disease with recurring polyp.

She just had her second sinus surgery. In the month prior to the surgery she had a urinary tract infection with positive urine cultures for Klebsiella pnuemoniae. Her only symptoms were feeling achy and having right flank pain. They put her on Macrobid. That didn't resolve her symptoms of right flank pain and she still felt achy, so they put her on a round of Septra.

She saw an ENT at that point because she has chronic sinusitis and thick nasal mucus with cough. A CT showed showed significant ethmoid sinus infection and a sphenoid nasal polyp--the same symptoms she had prior to her first surgery a few years ago.

Because of a similar history with her brother and because he presented with the unusal symptom of oral thrush a year before, a doctor told me to be sure that if she be checked for fungal infection. I asked the ENT to culture for fungus when he submitted her tissue for culture following this recent surgery.

Her cultures were negative for bacteria, but positive for Candida albicans, a fungus/yeast.

From what I have read and from what a general practitioner advises, she could have a systemic fungal infection. He put her on Diflucan four days ago. Now she is having the symptoms of "die off." Fever, sweating, feeling flu-like.

I'm cautiously optimistic that we may have figured out what has eluded us for years as an explanation of her various symptoms.

Has anyone here experienced a systemic fungal infection that was effectively treated? She is not immunocompromised. She does have multiple antibodies of type 1 diabetes and has autoantibodies for thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin. But from what two rheumatologists have told us, her immune system is working perfectly fine.

She has thyroiditis shown on PET scan. Is it possible her body is attacking various tissues because of fungal infection? If this is a systemic problem, can anyone recommend a doctor to see? The ENT is referring us to an infectious disease specialist locally, but if anyone knows of someone particularly qualified to handle this condition, I would love to have those recommendations.

Thanks for any input.

Tags: Infectious Disease

Lillian likes this

Posted by @kimlee, Aug 8, 2011

How did you get your doctor to culture her tissues, none of the doctors I went to will do it. They are guessing for my cure!


Posted by @krinzgal, Aug 8, 2011

The ENT did not want to culture the tissues initially, but I asked again and he said he would do it. He said because of her unusual history, it warranted checking.


Posted by @kimlee, Aug 8, 2011

I was told that they don't do cultures anymore. It seems to me that is the only way to find out what the culprit is without trying a slew of unnecessary antibiotics. When you say your daughter is not immunocomprimised, what do you mean by that? Did they initially suspect allergies? Does she have or did she have nasal sinuitis (runny nose not related to allergies which I guess would be immuno-deficient). Did you have a hard time with Doctors diagnosing symptoms rather than origination of the problem? How did you get insurance coverage at Mayo Clinic, because of GP referral? I hope your daughter is better. Sinus and ear problems are horrible and debilitating.


Posted by @kimlee, Aug 8, 2011

Also, I wanted a fungicide and was told we need some yeast in our bodies, so no fungicide. I have itchy pain stabs in my ears and bloated stomach, feel full quickly. It sounds like your daughter is worse than I am but when I actually had sinus infection and bronchitis it was just horrible. How long did her flu last after the fungicide?


Posted by @krinzgal, Aug 8, 2011

She was better two days after taking the last Diflucan tab, as far as the flu-like symptoms. We finally have an appointment with a thyroid specialist who handles difficult endocrine cases. The reason he agreed to see her is because of her elevated antithyroglobulin and peroxidase autoantibodies. We see him September 21. I will be asking him about the possible role of fungal infections.

As far as our bodies needing yeast, that's true just like our bodies need beneficial bacteria, like those in the gut that help us digest food properly. What apparently has happened for some people is that overuse of antibiotics allowed fungi like Candida albicans to get a foothold and resulted in an overgrowth. You don't want to eradicate it, but you do want a balance, just like you need a balance of "good" bacteria.


Posted by @patience, Nov 16, 2011

I know this is late, I just signed up. I was diagnosed with fungal infection in my throat in 2009 at Mayo Clinic. I am still having extremely bad pain in my jaw, neck, and pharyngeal areas, have been treated numerous times with Diflucan but am questioning if they ever gave me enough. Do you remember the dosage they gave your daughter? I have seen so many doctors and had so many tests I'm at my wits end. Had my tonsils out in May 2012 and forgot to specifically ask the doctor to send them to pathology so never got a culture from those. Thank you!


Posted by @krinzgal, Dec 24, 2011

It comes in sigle dose packs. They prescribed two, taken 3days apart. She recently had yeast in her urine. I believe she has a chronic infection. So, we have not successfully eradicated it. Have you had an evaluation by a thyroid specialist? My daughter has Hashimoto's. Since being on Synthroid, her TSH actually went up. Her endo says that is expected from a thyroid that has been forced into dormancy due to the autoimmune attack. She has had the same pain you describe. I encourage you to seek an evaluation from a thyroidologist. Hope this helps and good luck!


Posted by @birdntroutlady, Mar 27, 2012

I was exposed to some bad fungi while I taught school and since then I have had numerous urinary tract infections and now I'm dealing with fibromyalgia. I don't know which doctor to see to find cause of my UTIs. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Posted by @krinzgal, Mar 27, 2012

I know that the urologist cultured my daughter's urine. She also had blood cultures done. I also understand that often cultures are negative but if a fungal infection is suspected, some physicians will treat with antifungals and monitor the response. I would think seeing a urologist and bringing your lab results would be a good place to start.


Posted by @shellwil, May 30, 2012

I am a 33 year old mother of four. I have been struggleing with digestive pain and issues for many years. In 2008 I suffered a miscarriage at around 9 weeks. Then in Jan. of 2009 I suffered another miscarriage, only this time I lost our son at 17 weeks after over two months of constant bleeding! I then struggled through the pregnancy of my 4th child. I was in constant pain in the pelvic / lower abdominal area. I started contracting at 28 weeks and was hospitalized. I had a pos. fetile fibernecton(or however you spell it) at 30 weeks, but managed to hold onto our son for 5 more weeks! It was a lon painful process but well worth it! After the birth of this child 10/07/2010 my health really began to worsen. Within a year I was down to 90 lbs with joint pain and stiffness, muscle pain, mood and behavioral changes, and then the infections started. First it was a simple res. infection, then Pnemonia. I took the first course of antibiotics and when they were gone I felt better for about 2 days before the pnemonia set back in. This time it was almost 2 months of antibiotics before I got some relief. This is when things really went down hill. The fatigue and weakness started along w/shoulder pain and tingleing in my left arm and hand accompanied w/ a burning sensation in my mid back. When the routine bloodwork came back pretty much normal, being that I am 33 years old 90 lb woman, it was assumed I was trying to get pain meds and I was labeled an addict and taken of my meds. Roughly 3 weeks later I went to an ER were I was told I had wasting syndrome but the dr. I saw actually seemed to care that I was wasting away and ran some not so routine bloodwork. He wanted to admit me and do further testing but due to my insurance was unable to and I felt like I was sent home to die! That was on a Tuesday, that following Thursday evening a police officer showed up at our door to inform me I was to return back to the hos. they had found something on my bloodwork. In a panic we rushed back to the hospital to find out I had a gram-negative bacterial blood infection. I was hospitalized for a week but while I was there I told them about this nasty phlem I had been coughing up. They cultured a sputum sample and found mixed bacteria and candida dublinisis. I was put on flucanazole for 7 days. After the IV antibiotics and the anyifungal treatment I had about a two week period of feeling somewhat normal. It wasn't to last tho. I started having joint and muscle pain along w/ fatigue an weakness and now on top of it my ear, mouth, and jaw hurt. I did another round of flucanazole this time a 14 day treatment. I haven't responed to antifungals at all. I am still coughing up dark green or black mucus. I still have all of the other symptoms but now I feel like my brain is effected and my blood pressure, the diastolic esp, is high! I feel all around unwell and don't get out of my bed much because any type of activity causes me to sweat horribly and I also am having balance and vision troubles along w/ tremors. I have an appt. at Mayo in MN July 25th 2012. I hope I make it that long! My quality of life is non-existant and I don't feel like I have had the oppertunity to enjoy the child that I struggled so hard to get here! This has been a nightmare, and for the person who said this mother is trying to "up one" on the doctors, if you have never expierienced something like this you should really keep your comments to yourself! This mother has watched her child SUFFER, would you sit back and do nothing?


Posted by @hamsterdance, May 30, 2012

If your problems are fungal try Pau d'Arco tea it is an amazing antifungal/antibacterial treatment. Doesn't taste all that good so I brew it with a bag of mint tea. Capsules aren't very effective. Thay have it at health food stores.


Posted by @kinde, Dec 28, 2012

How much Pau d'Arco do you take?

Posted by Anonymous-8214b7d2, Dec 30, 2012

I usually have good results with a cup of it brewed ( just like tea) in 1
day or two. I can measure my results by signs of improvement. My daughter and I have both had a bladder infection go away after just one cup. I soaked my husbands atheletes feet once only with brew and it all went away. I would say a cup or two for a few days should work. But how will you be able to tell if you are having results-- that I can't answer. I'm assuming you will be able to tell somehow.


Posted by @hamsterdance, Dec 30, 2012

above post from me


Posted by @kinde, Dec 30, 2012

I took probiotics of Therelac and Tru fFlora this summer, switched every other week and after about 6 weeks I got a burning tongue... finally figured out that it must have stirred up the yeast that resided in my body and was growing out of control. I too went to drs. to ask why my tongue was white and I craved sugar and my tongue had slits on it that sometimes were so painful and no one could help me... until I discovered I had hyper thyroidism... after changing my diet to the Paleo diet, and going dairy and gluten free plus homeopathy and taking supplements I am totally off all thyroid medicines. They wanted to kill my thyroid but I did not want radioactive iodine in my system, It took 8 years and would have healed sooner if I had cut out all foods that weren't on that diet but I still had sugar and things with sugar in them. Now I have a good thyroid but the yeast is in die off and it has been awful... flu like symptoms and burning mouth which has calmed down with swishing cayenne pepper in it... I am retracing symptoms right now that I had the past 8 years. Some in my family are telling me that I am diagnosing myself and want me to go to Mayo. Well, I am not sure they will find anything as my last physical did not show anything.
I am using acupuncture to help keep the lymphs open and flowing plus I am using caproyl oil to kill the yeast, bentonite clay to cleanse the toxins and psyllium fiber to pull it out with a good probiotic. I think I have gone thru the worst and am on the curve to recovery. I am unable to eat much..I am on the candida diet of no sugar, fruit, yeast, vinegar, processed foods... and I have lost LOTS of weight.

I feel good for a couple days and then it hits. Right now I am not taking anything to kill the yeast except the diet and supplements to build my body up as I was detoxing so fast and hard that my tongue was raw and mouth burnt up and full of white yeast especially in the AM>





Posted by @kinde, Dec 31, 2012

I have the book. Conquering Yeast Infections Chronic Illness and the Candida S. Colet Lahoz, RN, MS, LAc It explains non drug ways to get healthy again. Acupppuncture plays a role as does diet and supplements to curb the yeast.

Posted by Anonymous-6395becf, Sep 13, 2013

I am curious what your results were as l have suffered with a similar type of situation.


Posted by @kimlee, Aug 9, 2011

How can you determine when you have balance? Is there a test?


Posted by @jaanderson1, Dec 24, 2011

Good grief. I don't know if your daughter is really sick or if this is a hobby for you to read up on symptoms, and diagnose her, like med students sometimes do. I would just take her to Mayo Clinic and let the Docs diagnose her. UPYou are a mom, not her full time Dr . Not being rude, but I am concerned that you are trying to one up the Docs.

Jaanderson likes this

Posted by @krinzgal, Jan 7, 2012

We have been to Mayo Clinic in Rochester twice and had very thorough evaluations from multiple specialists there. We followed up with our local physicians as they recommended. Hers has been an extraordinarily challenging case, and obviously the chances of elucidating the cause of all her health issues could not possibly be accomplished with just two visits. Cost, inconvenience and her inability to comfortably travel prevented us from returning to Mayo Clinic. Her doctors there were always willing to help. Getting local doctors to work with them proved to be a major challenge.

We live over a thousand miles away. We had to continue with evaluations at home. Mayo Clinic provided very detailed recommendations on how to pursue management of her symptoms when we returned home. That was three years ago.

She is experiencing a dramatic resolution of her issues with muscle fatigue after taking Synthroid properly and at an appropriate dose. Her TSH continues to be high, but we now are receiving very effective treatment from a board certified endocrinologist here. We are like a lot of families who visit Mayo Clinic to hopefully get pointed in the right direction and continue care at home.

Your post echoes one of the greatest difficulties patients like my daughter face. It is assumed that if doctors can't figure something out with a few visits, the best course of action is to accept that and do the best you can with what you have. That has never been acceptable to my daughter. She has always felt that if she persevered, someone would put at least some of the pieces together so that she could enjoy a better quality of life.

We have see some of the very best physicians in this country. Some of those are at Mayo. A majority of them agree this has been a confounding case. As her mom, if I had simply done what her first doctor advised, I know that we would simply be watching my daughter slowly deteriorate. LIke so many parents of children with undiagnosed conditions, I had to take on the role as her primary advocate because doctors do not have the time to document symptoms, medications, test results and research the possible causes of a plethora of health issues. I have always appreciated the ones who will openly acknowledge their limitations.

No, I am not interested in "one upping" any doctors. All I have ever wanted is for someone to figure out at least some of the answers that could provide her a better quality of life. She enrolled in college today, something that just a few months ago would have seemed an impossibility. Her endocrinologist used the information we have collected over the last ten years to determine what has turned out to be a very effective and promising treatment.

loyalcountrydoll likes this

Posted by @alinap, Dec 15, 2012

you have obviously never been faced with a situation where you or a loved one has been to countless doctors and been given no answers and at times looked at like you were should not be so short to judge. thankfully for this child, her mother was her advocate and kept searching.

loyalcountrydoll likes this

Posted by @learninglifelong, Jan 7, 2012

It's important to keep adding probiotics to her system. I ferment cabbage in water for a few days -- about 1/8 of a head of cabbage in the blender with filtered water enough to fill two canning jars. This gets put on top of my water heater where it will stay nice and warm. When it's fermented then I strain the cabbage and drink the juice. It smells terrible, but it tastes good. And it really helps! It's chock full of probiotics and it's less expensive than the alternatives. Plus -- it's such a strange thing to do that it's a great conversation starter. 🙂


Posted by @cbs61752, Sep 15, 2012

I have been doing a lot of my own research about candida and have read about the dying off reaction to attacking the overgrowth of fungus. I have read that the flu like symptoms occur before the condition gets better. I suspect that this overgrowth of fungus is the culprit for many conditions that doctors don't seem to have a clue as to the cause and treatment, I have read about a treatment called ThreeLac which is used to treat Candida. From what I have read, it is used to treat the fungus, but there are also products which can be taken to help add the good bacteria to our systems. Please let me know how our child is doing and if you have been able to effectively treat the fungal problem. I greatly appreciate this because I am on a never ending quest to do treat this myself.

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Posted by @alinap, Dec 15, 2012

hi! i was wondering if you had any luck in connecting the thyroiditis with the systemic yeast infection. Just this week someone told me about syi and the symptoms fit my daughter. she is exhausted all the time, overweight even though she eats very healthy and exercises daily, sometimes twice a day, and does not have a good palor. inaddition, i have taken her to endocronologists and she has thyroiditis and they do not know why and will not treat her for it. they say that she just needs to get checked every three months. when i just read your story, i got the chills. i appreciate any info you can give me and if you felt that your endocronologist would be worth me seeing.

not sure if you heard this but that the yeast infection can be caused from having been on large doses of antibiotics which my daughter was when she was three.

thanks for your help and for sharing your help.


Posted by @russtoo, Jan 21, 2013

I believe one of the potential side effects of the systemic antifungal meds is flank, or flank and back pain. It could be additive your daughter's case.
Seems something as simple as stress can cause a weakening of ones immune system.
Oddly, I believe a dept. of Dermatology can evaluate candida.

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