Check-up oral candidiasis (thrush)

 

I think I might be suffering from oral thrush. It looks like the same thing my son had when he was a baby but I have never experienced it before.

Oral thrush or candidiasis is a yeast infection of the mucus lining of the mouth and tongue caused by a form of a fungus called Candida. A small amount of this fungus lives in your mouth most of the time, kept in check by your immune system. However, when your immune system is weakened, the fungus can overgrow, leading to lesions in your mouth and tongue. Thrush typically presents as white or yellow spots that often resembles cottage cheese or milk curds. Scraping off these membranes may be difficult and result in shallow bleeding sores. Some sufferers may also experience a burning sensation in the mouth or throat.

While thrush is very common in infants, adults can also develop the condition. Adults most at risk of thrush are those with diabetes or other endocrine disorders, denture wearers, those on antibiotics and people undergoing chemotherapy. Those with poor nutrition, drug users and people who have an immune deficiency can be prone to developing thrush. Inhaled steroids prescribed for certain respiratory conditions may also cause thrush. It may also develop in women who are pregnant and those taking the pill.

Although generally in good health I have just finished a course of antibiotics for a chest tract infection, so that may have caused thrush to develop. What can I do about it now?

Thrush may make eating and drinking uncomfortable, and people with thrush may become dehydrated. If you develop a mild case of thrush after taking antibiotics, eating yogurt or taking over-the-counter acidophilus capsules can help, as can using a soft toothbrush and rinsing your mouth with a diluted 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide solution several times a day. Good control of blood sugar levels in people with diabetes may be all that is needed to clear a thrush infection. For more severe cases of oral thrush, medication may be needed to clear the problem. These medications are available in liquid, drop, gel, and lozenge formats. Sufferers with an immune system deficiency require prompt and more aggressive treatment to make certain that the yeast does not enter the bloodstream or infect other organs. If the white or yellow membranes of thrush are accompanied by fever, chills, vomiting, or generalised illness, immediate medical advice should be sought.