Thrush Causes, Risk Factors, Prevention And Treatment


Children and toddlers are most frequently affected by thrush which is a fungal illness of the mouth that can affect anybody. On your tongue or inner cheeks, it may cause sores that are creamy white. Some drugs and medical disorders, such as diabetes or dry mouth, might be the causes. Antifungal medicines are used in treatment.

Thrush is a fungus infection that can affect your mouth, throat, and other parts of your body. You could have white, raised, cottage cheese-like lesions (spots) on your tongue and cheeks if you have oral thrush (oral candidiasis). Thrush can easily aggravate, leading to oral discomfort and redness.

Thrush results from an overabundance of the fungus Candida. Oropharyngeal candidiasis is another term for thrush in the mouth or throat.

Medical experts treat thrush using antifungal medications. Thrush is a minor issue that goes away a few weeks after you start therapy if your immune system is in good health.

Thrush may affect anyone.

Although anybody can get thrush, some people are more susceptible, such as:

  • Infants younger than one month.
  • Toddlers.
  • Adults 65 years or older.
  • Those with compromised immune systems, whose symptoms are more difficult to manage.


Most people normally have small amounts of Candida fungus in their skin, digestive system, and mouth. The fungus spreads out of control and results in thrush when diseases, stress, or drugs upset this equilibrium.

Drugs that can encourage yeast growth and lead to infection include:

  • Corticosteroids.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Contraceptive tablets.

Those at risk (such as those who take certain drugs or have compromised immune systems) are susceptible to contracting thrush. It is uncommon for thrush to be transmitted by kissing or other close contact in persons with strong immune systems. Thrush is often not extremely infectious, but it is transmittable (you may get it in other ways), meaning it can spread from person to person.

If you are concerned about catching thrush from someone else, do not touch it if you do not want to have their spit on you. If you are around someone who has thrush, you should wash your hands as frequently as you can.

How to check if you have Thrush?

Female thrush symptoms

  • Itching and discomfort around the vagina
  • Pain and stinging during sex or when you urinate
  • White vaginal discharge that frequently smells like cottage cheese

Men's thrush symptoms 

  • Inflammation
  • Burning, and redness beneath the foreskin and around the penis, 
  • A white discharge that smells like cottage cheese and is difficult to pull back.

Other regions with thrush

Other skin-related locations, such as the groin, between the fingers, and the armpits, are susceptible to thrush.

This results in a rash that is red, itchy, or painful and scales over with a white or yellow discharge. On darker skin, the rash may not be as noticeable.

Thrush occasionally has no visible symptoms at all.

Risk Factors

Babies and those with the following conditions are more susceptible to developing a candida infection:

  • Diabetes.
  • Anaemia.
  • HIV/AIDS (this population is prone to oesophagal or swallowing tube thrush).
  • Cancer.
  • (Xerostomia) Dry mouth.
  • Pregnancy (because of the resulting hormonal changes).
  • Smoking.
  • Defective dentures.


Thrush typically appears out of nowhere. A common symptom is the presence of cream-coloured, slightly elevated lesions in your mouth, usually on your tongue or inner cheeks. Additionally, you may have lesions on the roof of your mouth, throat, gums, or tonsils.

Other signs can include:

  • Redness and discomfort in the inside and corners of the mouth.
  • Ageusia, the loss of taste.
  • Your mouth feels like cotton.

When you scrape the lesions or clean your teeth, they could hurt and start to bleed a bit. In extreme circumstances, the lesions might invade your oesophagus and result in:

  • Swallowing pain or trouble.
  • Redness and discomfort in the inside and corners of the mouth.
  • If the virus gets beyond your oesophagus, you may develop a fever.

The skin, liver, and lungs are just a few bodily organs where thrush can spread. People with cancer, HIV, or other immune-compromising diseases experience this more frequently.


To lower your risk of thrush, you can take the following actions:

Maintain proper dental hygiene. At least twice daily tooth brushing and daily flossing are recommended.

A few mouthwashes or sprays should be avoided. Some of these items have the potential to upset your mouth's natural microbiome. How to utilise the safest ones should be discussed with your dentist or doctor.

Visit the dentist frequently. If you wear dentures or have diabetes, this is very crucial.

You should consume fewer items that include yeast and sugar. Bread, beer, and wine are examples of foods that promote Candida development.

Avoid using tobacco products and smoking. Find out how to stop smoking from your healthcare practitioner.


Antifungal drugs are the usual course of therapy for thrush:

The use of antifungal drugs

To treat thrush, doctors provide antifungals (such as nystatin). These medications come in the form of pills, lozenges, or liquids that need to be "swished" in your mouth before ingestion. These prescription drugs must be used for 10 to 14 days. Based on your age and the infection's source, your healthcare practitioner will advise a specific course of action.

Adults and children with strong immune systems often react favourably to antifungal therapy. However, people with compromised immune systems may experience more severe thrush symptoms that are more difficult to treat.

Thrush can be cured with antifungals in one to two weeks. For a few days, you might have to keep taking the prescription for additional days to eradicate any remaining fungi.

To get rid of thrush, you will require antifungal medicine. To lessen your symptoms, though, you can try any of these natural cures:

  • Use warm seawater to swish.
  • Consider probiotics.
  • Consume yoghurt that has beneficial bacteria in it.

Complications of Thrush

In individuals with strong immune systems, problems from thrush are uncommon. However, if your immune system is compromised, Candida can get into your circulation and spread to your heart, brain, or other organs. Septic shock, a potentially fatal illness, may result from this sort of infection.

Parents worry about newborns contracting or transmitting thrush while breastfeeding (chestfeeding) since infants are more vulnerable. It is a frequent problem with breastfeeding, and in certain circumstances, the solution might be challenging.

If your infant has thrush, it can infect you while you are nursing. The same is true if you get thrush near your nipples or breasts; you can infect your child.

It is crucial to start treatment right away if both you and your infant have thrush in order to stop the infection from spreading.

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Page last reviewed: May 15, 2023

Next review due: May 15, 2025

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