Thrush is a fungal infection that commonly affects the mouth and throat. It is caused by the yeast Candida albicans and can be treated with antifungal medications. People need to understand the causes and symptoms of thrush to protect themselves against it.
Thrush can be contagious and is passed through kissing, sexual contact, or sharing contaminated utensils or objects. It can also be spread through contact with an infected person’s body fluids, including saliva and mucus.
It is common in babies and often affects children under two years old. Babies can get thrush in their mouths and bottoms, making them irritable and difficult to feed.
Thrush infections can also affect adults, particularly those with compromised immune systems, diabetes, or increased estrogen levels. Symptoms usually include white lesions in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and itching or burning in the throat.
Thrush is not serious and is easily treated with antifungal medications, either taken orally or applied directly to the affected area. Oral antifungal drugs are usually more effective than topical medications.
People with thrush may also experience discomfort or irritation in the mouth and a sour taste. Antifungal medications can help reduce the symptoms of thrush.
People with weakened immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or with HIV, are more likely to develop thrush. This can make it difficult to treat and puts them at risk of complications such as sepsis or endocarditis.
For breastfeeding mothers, thrush can make it difficult to feed the baby as the infection passes through the mother’s milk. Mothers should continue feeding the baby and seek medical attention if the baby has any signs of thrush.
Through can also be spread to other parts of the body. It can spread to the esophagus, causing the yeast to spread further or infect the lungs and cause pneumonia.
Increasing the amount of yogurt and other probiotic foods in the diet can help to prevent thrush. Eating these foods, which contain beneficial bacteria, can help to reduce the amount of yeast in the body.
Smoking can increase the risk of developing thrush, as it harms the immune system. People who smoke are advised to stop smoking, as this will help to reduce the risk of developing thrush.