What is a Fungal Culture Test? A fungal culture test helps diagnose fungal infections. Fungal infections may happen if you are exposed to fungi. Fungi live everywhere:
Outdoors in air and soil and on plants
Indoors on surfaces and in the air
On your skin and inside your body
Normally, if you are healthy, fungi will not make you sick. But there are a few hundred types of fungi that can affect your health. There are two main types of fungal infections:
Superficial fungal infections affect the outside of your body, including your skin, genital area, and nails. They are very common. Usually, these fungal infections can cause itchy, scaly dermatitis, and other uncomfortable conditions. Examples of superficial fungal infections include:
Vaginal yeast infections
Systemic fungal infections affect tissue inside your body. The fungus may grow in your lungs, blood, and other organs, including your brain. Anyone can get a systemic fungal infection, but they are less common in healthy people. In healthy people, the infection begins slowly and usually doesn't spread to other organs. Examples of systemic fungal infections include:
Sporothrix schenckii, or "rose gardener's disease"
Both superficial and systemic fungal infections can be diagnosed with a fungal culture test.
What is it used for? A fungal culture test is used to find out whether you have a fungal infection. The test may help identify the type of fungus that you have. The test is also used to help guide treatment and to see if treatment is working.
Why do I need a fungal culture test?
The Dermatologist may order a fungal culture test if you have symptoms of a fungal infection. The symptoms vary depending on the type of infection. Symptoms of a superficial fungal infection include:
Itchy, scaly, or cracked skin
Itching and/or discharge from the vagina or penis
White patches inside the mouth
Nails that are discolored (yellow, brown, or white), thick, or brittle nails
Symptoms of a more serious, systemic fungal infection include:
Cough, chest pain, or shortness of breath
Fever and chills
Joint and muscle aches
Nausea and vomiting
What happens during a fungal culture test? To do a fungal culture test you will need to provide a sample of cells or fluid from the part of your body where the fungi may be growing. The most common types of fungal tests are:
Skin or nail scraping are used to diagnose superficial skin or nail infections.
How it's done: the doctor will use a special tool to take a small sample of your skin or nails. In certain cases, a skin biopsy may be needed.
Swab test: used to diagnose yeast infections in your mouth, penis or vagina. It may also be used to diagnose certain skin infections. How it's done: the doctor will use a special swab to gather tissue or fluid from your mouth, vagina, penis or from an open skin sore.
Blood Test. Used to find fungi in the blood. Blood tests are often used to diagnose more serious fungal infections.
After your sample is collected, it will be sent to a lab for analysis. You may not get your results right away. That's because the sample usually needs time to grow so that there's enough to test. Many types of fungi grow within a day or two, and other types can take a few weeks.
Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test? You don't need any special preparations to test for a fungal infection.
Are there any risks to the test? There is very little risk to having any of the fungal culture tests. If a sample of your skin is taken, you may have a little bleeding or soreness at the site.
What do the results mean? If fungi are found in your sample, it likely means you have a fungal infection. Sometimes a fungal culture can identify the specific type of fungus causing the infection. Sometimes a sensitivity test is needed to help find the right medicine to treat your infection. It check to see if which medicine will kill the fungus or stop it from growing.
Is there anything else I need to know about a fungal culture test? If you are being treated for a fungal infection, be sure to take all your medicine as prescribed, even if you feel better. Many fungal infections clear up within a few days to weeks, but some infections require months or even years of treatment.
Dott. Giovanni Biondo
Specialista in Dermatologia e Venereologia
Master di II livello in Chirurgia Plastica
Milano, Via Meravigli 16
Telefono: +39 02 3668 5103
WhatsApp: +39 329 7347765