Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Why Is My Body Growing Fungus?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010 04:07 PM

Question: I am a lady of 67 and my doctor says I have fungus in my ears. I do not want to take any medications, so what can I do to get rid of this problem? I also have the fungus on my toes.

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Fungal growth on our skin is not at all uncommon. Normal skin surface is covered with numerous potential pathogens (germ invaders) that are normally kept in check by the integrity of our skin surface. Fungal growth is usually confined to superficial layers of skin unless the surface is compromised by trauma, bacterial infection, or irritation.

Fungal infections of your toes are unrelated to fungal infections commonly seen in the external ear canals, and usually different fungi affect these different areas. Ear infections of the inner and middle ear are not usually fungal. Fungal infections of the external ear canal are more common in those with compromised immune systems such as diabetics, oncology patients on chemotherapy, and in patients where the external ear canal has been blocked with moist debris or wax for an extended period. Usual treatment of superficial external ear canal fungal infection involves clearing the cellular debris, and/or topical antifungal agents. Oral antifungal medications can be toxic and are usually reserved for infections that are invasive or involve deeper tissue.

Your doctor should be treating you, and should refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist for further consultation if the condition is resistant to initial treatment.

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