What Is Thrush?
Thrush is the common term for Candidiasis, and it’s a fungal infection that can affect areas such as your:
- Skin – diaper rash
- Genitals – vulvovaginal yeast infection for women or simply a yeast infection
- Throat – oral candidiasis, or throat thrush
- Mouth – oral candidiasis, or mouth thrush
- Blood – invasive candidiasis or candidemia
What Causes Thrush?
Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of a type of yeast called Candida. This is usually found on the human body, but in much smaller quantities. When this yeast grows too much you get thrush. There are certain things that will cause an overgrowth of this bacteria.
- Diet – too much sugar can bring on thrush
- increased sexual activity
Some medicines can make you susceptible to thrush, sometimes an increase in sexual activity or some health conditions can make you more at risk to developing a raging case of itchy, uncomfortable thrush.
The yeast Candida is more likely to grow in warm, moist body areas. Thrush is almost always itchy and uncomfortable and can develop quite rapidly.
The symptoms will vary according to body part affected and the treatment will also vary.
Different Types Of Thrush
Mouth or Throat Thrush
A yeast infection of the mouth or throat area is called thrush. Normally a healthy adult will not get thrush in the mouth or throat. Most commonly this condition is seen in babies, the elderly, chemotherapy patients and those with immune disorders. Those people who must take steroid medication or asthma inhalers are also more likely to get mouth thrush.
Common mouth thrush symptoms include:
- White spots found inside the mouth and on the tongue
- Discomfort in the mouth
- Sore throat
- Cracking at corners of the mouth
You must see your doctor if you have thrush. If you do not see your doctor, there is a risk it will enter your bloodstream which is dangerous. Treatment will vary according to your age, health and the severity of the infection, but it may be as simple as a tablet or mouthwash. The treatment involves an antifungal medicine.
If you leave your thrush untreated, or the infection becomes severe – you may need to be admitted to hospital and be hooked up to an anti viral IV.
Genital Yeast Infection
Vaginal yeast infections are very common in women. Some women are more susceptible to them than others, and they can be brought on by pregnancy, hormone imbalances, increased sexual activity or transferred by a sexual partner.
Common Genital Yeast Symptoms Include:
Soreness vaginal area
White, clumpy discharge – similar to cottage cheese
Intercourse is painful
Men can also get genital yeast infections. Men who are not circumcised are more likely to get a yeast infection.
Common Male Genital Thrush Symptoms Include:
Red rash on penis
Burning sensation on the tip of the penis
If you are suffering a genital yeast infection you can get many over the counter treatments. The most common forms of treatment are a pill, a suppository you insert into the vagina or a topical cream. You should talk to your pharmacist.
Candidemia, or thrush in the blood, is the fourth most common bloodstream infection among hospitalized patients in the United States. Statistics from http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candidiasis/
This is not an infection normal healthy adults will be susceptible to, rather these are people who have a higher risk of developing the infection:
- Surgical patients
- ICU patients
- Those with immune disorders or weak immune systems
- Patients with a central venous catheter
Treatment of blood thrush is done in a hospital with anti fungal medication under professional supervision. Again, the treatment type and duration will depend on severity of infection, age and health of the patient.