If you notice a strange white rash inside your mouth, you may have a condition called thrush. It’s an infection caused by the candida fungus, which is yeast. You can get it in your mouth and other parts of the body. It can cause diaper rash in infants or vaginal yeast infections in women.

Anyone can get thrush, but it happens most often to babies and toddlers, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

What Causes Thrush?

Small amounts of the candida fungus are in your mouth, digestive tract, and skin. It’s supposed to be there, and it’s usually kept under control by the other bacteria in your body. But sometimes, certain illnesses or medications, like corticosteroids or antibiotics, can disturb the balance. This can cause the fungus to grow out of control. That’s when you get thrush.

Stress can cause it. So can a number of medical conditions, like:

If you smoke or wear dentures that don’t fit right might, you’re also more likely to get thrush. And babies can pass the infection to their mothers while breastfeeding.

What Are the Symptoms?

Children and adults

Initially, you may not even notice symptoms of oral thrush. Signs and symptoms may include:

In severe cases, usually related to cancer or a weakened immune system from HIV/AIDS, the lesions may spread downward into your esophagus — the long, muscular tube stretching from the back of your mouth to your stomach (Candida esophagitis). If this occurs, you may experience difficulty swallowing and pain or feel as if food is getting stuck in your throat.

Infants and breast-feeding mothers

In addition to the distinctive white mouth lesions, infants may have trouble feeding or be fussy and irritable. They can pass the infection to their mothers during breast-feeding. The infection may then pass back and forth between the mother’s breasts and the baby’s mouth.

Women whose breasts are infected with candida may experience these signs and symptoms:

Treatment

The goal of any oral thrush treatment is to stop the rapid spread of the fungus, but the best approach may depend on your age, your overall health and the cause of the infection. Eliminating underlying causes, when possible, can prevent recurrence.

Thrush may return even after it’s been treated if the underlying cause, such as poorly disinfected dentures or inhaled steroid use, isn’t addressed.

Resources:

www.webmd.com

www.mayoclinic.org

https://www.mayoclinic.org

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