Thrush is a type of yeast infection caused by Candida albicans, hence, its other name is candidiasis. It is a fungus that normally presents on the oral mucous membranes, the skin (particularly in places where it often gets damp), and other body parts.
What are Symptoms of Thrush
Thrush may have a hidden course, with no noticeable attributes of the disease. But usually, the signs of thrush are hard to miss. They usually include an occurrence of discharge or creamy-white lesions that look like cottage cheese and redness of the affected area. Depending on the affected body part, there can be some variations and additional signs: symptoms of thrush in the mouth and on the genitals differ.
Oral thrush can manifest with such symptoms:
- white or yellowish spots inside your mouth (e.g. tongue, inner cheeks, lips, gums, and tonsils;
- redness, soreness, and cracks in the mouth corners (it is called angular cheilitis);
- a cottony sensation in your mouth;
- a bad taste in the mouth or, on the contrary, loss of it.
If left unchecked, or in severe cases, the fungus may spread to the esophagus and beyond it. The typical esophageal thrush symptoms are:
- you may feel as if a foreign body got stuck in the throat;
- swallowing becomes painful and difficult;
- fever, if the infection goes further.
Thrush can affect both men and women. Although it is not classified as an STI, when someone with a weakened immune system has sexual intercourse with someone who has candidiasis, it can affect their microbiota balance and trigger Candida proliferation.
Vaginal thrush symptoms include:
- an unusual white non-smelly discharge from the vagina;
- the skin in the genital area is irritated and itches;
- discomfort during sexual penetration or urination.
The signs of the penile thrush are slightly different:
- an unusual white discharge with a foul smell;
- hyperemia and burning of the tip of the penis and near the foreskin;
- it is difficult to pull the foreskin back.
Thrush in Babies
Thrush symptoms in babies depend on the location:
- with oral thrush, the child is fussy during feeding, they have a white tongue that is red and sore if you clear up the white spot;
- in the case of diaper thrush, there is a persistent rash with red dots.
If your baby has an oral candidosis, it can be transmitted to you when you breastfeed your child. Check for nipple thrush symptoms:
- nipples are itchy, burning, stinging sharply, and have bright red or pink color;
- skin of the nipples and areolas is dry, cracked, and flaky;
- tiny blisters and rash.
Systemic thrush is also called invasive candidiasis. It is a severe case of fungal infection when it spreads so much that it reaches the blood and gets into your organs, including the eyes, heart, kidneys, brain, etc. Its symptoms are quite vague and difficult to point out because the person usually has other critical conditions. It can manifest with belly pain, constant fever and chills, muscle weakness and aching, skin rash, etc. Sometimes, the symptoms get specific to the location, like an altered mental status for the brain, or blurry vision when the eyes are affected.
Causes of Thrush
Candidiasis usually develops when the organism cannot suppress the overgrowth of Candida as a healthy body does. It can be related to:
- decreased immune response due to drug abuse, HIV, anemia, unhealthy lifestyle;
- antibiotic use as it can affect the number of lactobacilli that protect you from Candida;
- poorly managed diabetes; having a high level of blood sugar creates a favorable environment for the fungus;
- hormone imbalance during pregnancy, taking oral contraceptives, or at certain stages of the menstrual cycle creates an increased estrogen level which contributes to Candida overgrowth.
Your healthcare provider can determine if you have a yeast infection by combining a physical exam and checking for symptoms with laboratory testing. They will take a swab from a lesion or a discharge to look at it under a microscope and check if there is a fungal infection. In some cases, other methods may be required. For example, if Candida has gone to the esophagus, the doctor may look at it with an X-ray or an endoscope.
Depending on the location and severity of the infection, the patient will get a prescription for different antifungals (clotrimazole, nystatin, fluconazole, miconazole) in different forms (oral solutions, pills, tablets, suppositories, creams, or IV solutions for invasive candidiasis which will be administered at the hospital).
You can try some additional remedies if your doctor considers them pointful:
- eat greek yogurt or other probiotics to increase your number of lactobacilli;
- use probiotics in suppositories, vaginal tablets, and supplements;
- try tampons soaked with a solution of sodium tetraborate as an antiseptic;
- wash your mouth with hydrogen peroxide (in the case of oral thrush) to kill the yeast;
- take vitamins C and E to support your immunity and reduce inflammation.
Implement some changes to make your lifestyle more healthy and make your immune system stronger.
- avoid stresses;
- start exercising;
- do regular check-ups with your doctor and dentist;
- cut your sugar intake;
- ditch bad habits like smoking.
Prevention of Thrush
A healthy immune system and a responsible approach to personal hygiene are key to greatly reducing your risk of developing a yeast infection:
- Pay attention to your clothes. Keep it clean, avoid synthetic fabrics, and do not wear too tight or wet clothes for a long time (that goes for your swimsuits, too).
- Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet;
- Maintain good and regular hygiene;
- Avoid risk factors like unprotected sex when you expose yourself to a whole lot of foreign bacteria.
Thrush is not a problem if your immune system works as intended, and in most cases, it is easy to treat. Do not hesitate to alert your doctor when noticing suspicious symptoms, follow their recommendations to be happy and healthy.
How do u know if u have thrush?
Thrush has its own clinic picture, and your medical professional may check your suggestions.
What are the symptoms of thrush in adults?
The signs of candidiasis may differ depending on its location. The main symptom is white curd-like lesions.
Will thrush go away on its own?
Your immune system may successfully fight the fungus, so the infection will go away. But in some cases, it can spread further. Better to see your doctor in time.