THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS #54: ORAL THRUSH


Thrush is an infection of the mouth with an organism called candida albicans. It is most common in the newborn and with young children, but can occur in adults if they have an immune deficiency,  use corticosteroid inhalers, are diabetic, or take broad-spectrum antibiotics.

A combined mother–child problem can occur with breast-feeding mothers in the newborn period. The mother’s  nipples may become infected, giving it to the baby, and they can pass back and forth. A baby who has thrush is also susceptible to diaper rash caused by candida.

There is a sense of irritation and some pain associated with thrush in the mouth, the diaper area, and the nipples. Thrush appears as cottage cheese-like areas on the throat and tongue.

The normal immunity usually keeps thrush at bay. In a newborn, however, the immune system is not fully developed. Sometimes the hormones of pregnancy facilitate thrush in the mother. Diabetes and smoking can also allow thrush.

Sometimes the thrush infection will go down into the swallowing tube, the esophagus, and produce inflammation. This can cause pain on swallowing, and is most common in AIDS and other immunodeficiency states.

Treatment of surface candida infections like throat is usually with Mycostatin– containing mouthwashes or creams. If it spreads beyond the surface, however, you will need more potent medications. Candida albicans is everywhere, and your immunity is your main defense against it.

Keep your immunity as solid as possible naturally, with good sleep, diet and exercise.

—Dr. C.

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