What is thrush?
Oral thrush is caused by the yeast fungus candida albicans, which is normally present in small amounts on the mucus membranes of the mouth and tongue. However, under certain conditions this fungus can become overgrown and form white patches in the mouth and throat. These patches are colonies of candida and can produce a cottony feel in the mouth, which can affect taste and also cause the underlying tissues to become inflamed and to bleed, causing discomfort and sometimes, difficulty swallowing.
Thrush is common in in conditions like diabetes and in those who are immunocompromised such as with cancer or HIV/AIDS; also prolonged use of antibiotics or drugs like corticosteroids can allow the yeast to thrive and grow resulting in a thrush infection.
Use of antifungals
Oral thrush can be treated by use of topical and oral antifungals. These include:
- Topical gel containing miconazole that can be applied directly to the site of infection
- Oral drops containing nystatin
- Oral tablets/capsules to treat the fungal infection systemically, including the antifungals fluconazole, Itracomazole and nystatin