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What is Thrush?

Thrush, also known as candidiasis or a candida infection, is a yeast infection that affects various parts of the body. The fungus Candida albicans is the causative agent, and usually resides in the digestive tract and the skin, and does not produce any symptoms as it lives in symbiosis. Sometimes due to low immunity states, it starts multiplying and causes infections in the mouth, food pipe, throat, vagina, or penis. Depending upon the part affected, it can be

  • Oral candidiasis
  • Vaginal candidiasis
  • Candida oesophagitis
  • Oropharyngeal candidiasis
  • Penile yeast infection

It can affect individuals of different age groups including babies and toddlers.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Some common signs and symptoms irrespective of which body part is attacked by the fungus are as follows:

  • White patch
  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Unpleasant odour
  • Pain
  • Slightly raised reddish lesions
  • Fever

What are the main causes?

Candida is normally present in the body but not in numbers that can cause infections. The following factors cause multiplication of this fungus, leading to infections:

  • Medications, such as corticosteroids, contraceptive pills, and antibiotics that weaken the immunity
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Dryness of mouth
  • Improperly fitting dentures
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Weakened immunity conditions, such as cancer and HIV

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The diagnosis of oral candidiasis involves a physical examination and microscopical testing of the samples from the affected areas. Candida oesophagitis usually involves endoscopy for its diagnosis. In case of genital candidiasis, a physical examination along with some questions about the symptoms helps in the diagnosis of the condition.

Nystatin, miconazole, and clotrimazole are the commonly prescribed antifungal drugs for the treatment of candidiasis. Oral or intravenous fluconazole is prescribed in case of oesophageal and severe candidiasis. Other types of antifungal drugs are used in cases where fluconazole is not effective in treating the condition.

  1. Medicines for Thrush

References

  1. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Thrush in men and women.
  2. Cleveland Clinic. [Internet]. Cleveland, Ohio. Thrush.
  3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Candida infections of the mouth, throat, and esophagus.
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Yeast Infections.
  5. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Vaginal thrush.
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