You’re probably aware that mold can cause many health issues but what about digestive issues? At first glance, it might seem unlikely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the most common mold health issues are allergy-related and respiratory in nature, like a runny nose, coughing and sneezing. And that makes sense, since mold-related illnesses are mostly caused by the inhalation of mold spores.
Further investigation, however, tells us that exposure to mold can sometimes lead to a wide range of health problems, including a rash or hives, depression, fatigue and neurological problems. Though less common than respiratory problems, mold may also cause problems with the digestive system in some people.
Sometimes it does. You’re most likely to ingest mold if you eat food contaminated by mold, but of course no one eats moldy food on purpose. However, food can be contaminated by mold even when the mold is not visible to the naked eye.
Mold can also be ingested through hand-to-mouth activity, like biting your fingernails, eating without washing your hands first, or simply touching your mouth. If you have mold in your home, you could come in contact with mold spores and then introduce them into your mouth without even realizing it.
Ingestion of mold can cause gastrointestinal problems like nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and even bleeding in the stomach or intestine (which could cause you to vomit blood or to have bloody stool). Long-term exposure to mold can cause the development of fungal infections in the intestines, such as candidiasis.
If you experience ongoing gastrointestinal issues, see your doctor. You should see a doctor right away or go to the emergency room if you experience severe vomiting or diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. If you have blood in your vomit or stool, you need to seek medical attention right away.
Digestive problems can be caused by many things, so it may take some time for your doctor to figure out what’s causing your symptoms. In addition to taking a thorough history and conducting a physical examination, your doctor may order some tests. Tests may include blood tests, a urinalysis, a pregnancy test, an abdominal ultrasound, an x-ray with barium or a CT scan with contrast, an endoscopy and/or a colonoscopy. That may sound like a long list of tests, but it’s unlikely you will need all or even most of them. It will depend on your symptoms and the results of your physical exam.
Treatment may include medication to prevent nausea and vomiting, which can be administered by suppository, injection or IV, if you’re unable to keep oral medications down. Medication to prevent diarrhea may also be prescribed. You may need intravenous fluids to prevent or treat dehydration. Additional medications or other treatments may be prescribed, depending on your symptoms and the results of any diagnostic tests.
In addition to whatever treatment is recommended, if mold is making you sick, your doctor will tell you to avoid further contact with, and ingestion of, mold.
To avoid further mold health issues, you’ll need to avoid further ingestion of mold. How do you do that? There are several steps you can take.
If mold is making you ill, we recommend arranging for someone else to handle the mold removal process for you because the process would further expose you to mold spores that could make your condition worse. You can schedule a free in-home consultation with an experienced mold removal professional to discuss the work that needs to be done in your home. Even if you decide to handle the work yourself, you can benefit from some expert advice and there’s no cost to you. Find a list of qualified mold removal professionals in your area by following the link provided.