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What is Thrush?

By HERWriter
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Thrush related image Photo: Getty Images

There are two types of thrush. Oral thrush occurs in the mouth and vaginal thrush occurs in the vagina. Another common term for thrush is a yeast infection. The elderly, babies and women are general candidates for thrush.

Oral thrush is not contagious. In infants, oral thrush often lasts approximately two weeks. A case lasting longer than two weeks should be seen by a doctor.

Candida is the fungus which causes these yeast infections. Believe it or not, everyone has a trace amount of the fungus living in their mouths. Your immune system keeps the fungus under control and from spreading.

Oral thrush forms on the tongue and in the mouth. Oral thrush is white in color. Another symptom of oral thrush includes lesions. Oral thrush lesions may increase in size over a period of time and your mouth or tongue may bleed easily.

According to the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), those who are at risk for oral thrush include the following:

• Being very young
• Being very old
• Being in poor health
• Receiving cancer treatment
• Receiving treatment for an organ transplant
• Weakened immune system (HIV, AIDS, etc.)
• Taking steroid medication
• Taking antibiotic medication
• Diabetics
• People who wear loose-fitting dentures

Symptoms of vaginal thrush in women include:

• Pain or discomfort during urination
• Pain or discomfort during intercourse
• Itching
• Irritation and soreness
• Vaginal discharge

According to Medical News Today, those who are at risk for vaginal thrush include the following:

• Women taking antibiotics
• Women taking oral contraceptives
• Pregnant women
• Women with a weakened immune system
• Women with diabetes
• Women who have oral sex

Doctors can easily diagnose oral thrush. However, your health care professional may order a culture of your mouth.

Treatment for oral thrush will depend on your age. For infants, doctors generally do not treat oral thrush. However, if your infant has oral thrush for more than two weeks, alert your doctor immediately. If you are breastfeeding, a doctor may recommend an antifungal medication. Once your infant's oral thrush starts to disappear, throw away bottle nipples and pacifiers.

General treatment for oral thrush may include 5-10 days of lozenges or an antifungal mouthwash. However, your doctor may prescribe a medication if your thrush has spread to other parts of your body.

Treatment for vaginal thrush may include 1-3 days of an antifungal medication. However, if you are breastfeeding or pregnant, your doctor will recommend an intravaginal medication for approximately seven days. Your doctor may also prescribe a topical cream if you have sores.

Other treatments or home remedies for oral thrush by the NIH include:

• Using a soft toothbrush
• Several times a day, rinsing your mouth with a diluted 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution
• Eating yogurt
• Taking an over-the-counter acidophilus capsule


Thrush - PubMed Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved September 7, 2011, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001650/

Thrush: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. Retrieved September 7, 2011, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000626.htm

What Is Yeast Infection Or Candidiasis? What Is Vaginal Thrush? Medical News Today: Health News. Retrieved September 7, 2011, from

Reviewed September 7, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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