Thrush is a condition in which the lining of one’s mouth becomes covered with a fungus called candida albicans. Also known as oral candidiasis, the condition is essentially the presence of a yeast infection in one’s mouth. Although the source of this fungal infection is almost always due to the presence of candida albicans, it may also be caused by other types of candida such as candida tropicalis or candida glabrata. Thrush in adults is typically referred to as moniliasis or candidosis. The disorder is sometimes caused by excessive use of antibiotics. It may also occur for no known reason, which is referred to as idiopathic thrush .
The creamy white lesions associated with thrush typically cover the inner cheeks and tongue. The lesions may bleed a bit if irritated, and are usually sore and painful. It is possible for oral thrush to spread to a person’s gums, tonsils, throat, or the roof of his or her mouth.
The most common thrush symptoms are the presence of the aforementioned white lesions that appear on the tongue and the inside of the mouth. The onset of thrush is usually quite sudden, but it is possible for the condition to become chronic and persist over a long period.
In advanced cases, the presence of thrush is often found in one’s swallowing tube or esophagus. The symptoms for this type of thrush condition are difficulty swallowing, fever, persistent pain, and the sensation that food is becoming lodged in one’s throat.
If the symptoms of thrush are ignored and the condition is not adequately treated, the infection can become septic and spread to other body parts such as the liver, lungs and skin. This typically occurs more frequently in people who have weakened immune systems and can actually become life threatening in some severe cases.
Thrush is almost always diagnosed through an examination of the inside of the person’s mouth by a qualified doctor or dentist. He or she may also lightly brush away the white lesions, and if a sensitive red area is revealed, especially if it bleeds upon contact, he or she will likely make a diagnosis of thrush.
Further tests can be ordered if a primary care physician has any uncertainties about whether or not one has the condition. During such tests, a small amount of the fungus is scraped from the inside of one’s mouth, which is then viewed under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.
Thrush that extends to the patient’s esophagus may require other tests before a definitive diagnosis can be made. These include X-rays of the esophagus, or an endoscopy of the patient’s stomach and esophagus.
The objective of any treatment for thrush is to halt the spreading of the candida fungus. A person’s doctor will take many aspects into consideration when determining the best treatment, including the individual’s overall health, age, and the cause of the infection if this is known.
Physicians often prescribe antifungal medications or oral rinses to treat the condition in adults or children. He or she may also recommend acidophilus capsules. Although the latter cannot cure the condition, it can help to keep the fungus from growing and spreading.
Treatments for adults who suffer from weakened immune systems are a bit different from traditional treatments. Antifungal medication that comes in lozenge form is often prescribed for those with compromised immune systems, as medicine taken in this form is better absorbed than are pills or capsules. Since candida albicans can become drug-resistant, there are certain cases where traditional medicines are ineffective, and one must simply fight off the infection without the help of drugs.
Unfortunately, certain antifungal drugs have the potential to cause liver damage. Therefore, it is recommended that those taking such medications be monitored for liver failure. This is especially true for those who suffer from liver disease or who suffer from chronic thrush, and subsequently must take antiviral drugs frequently.
Thrush Home Remedy
In otherwise healthy babies and toddlers, a mild case of thrush may even resolve on its own, while thrush in adults usually requires treatment. However, certain individuals have an aversion to taking synthetic drugs and prefer to treat the disorder with natural remedies. While none of these natural cures have been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration, there is strong evidence to suggest that they are effective in treating thrush symptoms.
Eating plain yogurt is one of the most effective ways to clear up this type of fungal infection and prevent its return. Yogurt is a great restorer of the natural bacteria balance in one’s mouth, and this remedy is particularly helpful for those whose thrush was the result of excessive antibiotic use.
Rinsing one’s mouth with saltwater on a daily basis is an excellent way to alleviate symptoms. This remedy also helps to lessen the pain, soreness and overall discomfort associated with oral thrush. The saltwater is easy to make at home, as one must simply dissolve one-half teaspoon of traditional table salt into 8 ounces of warm water and rinse his or her mouth with the solution.
As previously mentioned, acidophilus supplements are also very helpful in halting a thrush outbreak in otherwise healthy adults. Those who have trouble swallowing pills will be pleased to know that acidophilus can be found in the aforementioned lozenge form or in a liquid that can be mixed with food or beverages for easy consumption.
Although oral thrush can occur in almost any individual, regardless of his or her age or gender, it is most often seen in babies, young children, and adults who have immune system disorders, diabetes, or who use inhaled corticosteroids. The following are some tips for preventing thrush outbreaks:
Good oral hygiene, such as the daily brushing of one’s teeth is essential to the prevention of thrush. Flossing can also help to prevent outbreaks, in this way bacteria are removed from hiding places such as the small spaces between one’s teeth. Additionally, excessive use of breath sprays should be avoided, as such products can disturb the normal PH balance of human saliva. Limiting yeast-containing foods, alcohol, and foods that are high in sugar is also wise, as such items encourage the overgrowth of candida. It is also important to have regular dental check-ups, and see a doctor as soon as possible if one suspects that he or she has developed a case of thrush.