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Actinomycosis: what it is, causes, symptoms, and treatment

Actinomycosis is a disease that can be acute or chronic and is rarely invasive, caused by bacteria of the genus Actinomyces spp, which is usually part of the commensal flora of regions such as the mouth, gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts.

However, in some rare cases, when these bacteria invade the mucous membranes, they can spread to other regions of the body and cause a chronic granulomatous infection characterized by the formation of small clusters, called sulfur granules, due to their yellowish color, which can generate symptoms such as fever, weight loss, runny nose, chest pain and cough.

The treatment of actinomycosis consists of administering antibiotics and, in some cases, performing surgery to remove infected tissue.

What causes

Actinomycosis is a disease caused by bacteria of the species Actinomyces israelii, Actinomyces naeslundii, Actinomyces viscosus and Actinomyces odontolyticus, which are usually present in the flora of the mouth, nose or throat, without causing infection.

However, in rare cases, such as in situations where the immune system is weakened, in cases where the person does incorrect oral hygiene or develops an infection after dental surgery or in which the person is malnourished, for example, bacteria they can cross the protection of these mucous membranes through an injured area, such as an inflamed gum, a devitalized tooth or tonsils, for example, invading these regions, where they multiply and generate the disease.

Possible signs and symptoms

Actinomycosis is an infectious disease characterized by the formation of small clumps on the skin, called sulfur granules, due to its yellowish color, but which do not contain sulfur.

In addition, other symptoms that may appear in people with actinomycosis are fever, weight loss, pain in the affected region, lumps on the knees or face, skin sores, runny nose, chest pain and cough.

How the treatment is done

The treatment of actinomycosis consists of the administration of antibiotics, such as penicillin, amoxicillin, ceftriaxone, tetracycline, clindamycin or erythromycin.

In addition, in some cases, such as when an abscess appears, it may be necessary to drain the pus or remove the affected tissue in order to prevent the infection from spreading to other regions of the body.

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