You can find fungi anywhere and in any environment. While most of them do not cause diseases, some of them can be harmful to humans.
In these cases, antifungal medicines are used to treat infections caused by fungi. Though most infections only affect the nails and skin, some can cause life-threatening diseases, such as pneumonia or meningitis.
How Do Antifungal Drugs Work
Generally, antifungal medications, including oral antifungals, function by directly killing fungi or preventing them from developing and thriving. Oral antifungal drugs target structures of fungal cells without damaging the cells in your body.
In this case, the structures that the drug usually targets are the cell wall and cell membrane of fungi. These structures protect and surround the cell of fungi. Therefore, fungal cells die when they burst open. However, you should note that there may be oral antifungal side effects.
Fungal Infections That Require Taking Oral Antifungals
There are several types of infection caused by fungi. Generally, you can get an infection by getting in contact with fungal spores in your surroundings.
With that said, minor fungal infections include the following:
- Nail fungus. This commonly affects the toenails and fingernails.
- A skin infection that generally affects the feet (e.g., athlete’s foot), scalp, groin (e.g., jock itch), and other parts of the body.
- Yeast infection. Yeast infection caused by fungal cells can affect the vagina due to Candida yeast overgrowth. Another example is oral thrush, where Candida yeast grows in the mouth.
On the other hand, some of the life-threatening yet less common fungal infections include:
- Fungal meningitis
- Fungal pneumonia
- Systemic infections
When to Consult Your Doctor
In general, a doctor will advise you to take the most effective oral antifungal medication best for your specific case.
With that said, before you take oral antifungals, it’s best to inform your doctor about the following:
- Allergies or underlying conditions that you may have
- Oral antifungal side effects that you have discovered
- Medicines you are currently taking may affect your antifungal treatment.
- Whether oral antifungals are okay to take while breastfeeding or during pregnancy (Keep in mind that there may be adverse oral antifungal side effects)
For more information regarding the antifungal medicine you are considering taking, read the information leaflet included with your medicine.
Possible Side Effects of Taking Oral Antifungal Medication
In some cases, oral antifungal medication can result in side effects. With that said, below are some of the common side effects you might experience when taking antifungal medication:
- abdominal pain
- burning or itching
Although they’re rare, antifungal drugs may also cause severe reactions, such as:
- Allergic reaction causing your face, tongue, or neck to swell, making it difficult to breathe
- Blistering and peeling of the skin
- Liver damage, which may cause appetite loss, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, and weakness.
If you are experiencing some of the adverse effects mentioned above, you need to stop taking the medicine and consult your doctor. However, if you are having trouble breathing, call 991.
The Bottom Line
Overall, antifungal drugs can help fight fungal infections. As mentioned, they destroy fungal cells by attacking their structures and processes. Moreover, these drugs can prevent fungi from growing, worsening the fungal infection.
However, you should note that several antifungal medicines are available, either oral or topical. You can also try Antifungal Body Wash that can help you to get more relief.
Generally, the way these drugs are administered depends on how severe your infection is. Moreover, it is crucial to note the possible side effects of taking antifungal medications for your safety.