Oral thrust, causes, symptoms & treatment

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Oral thrush is a yeast/fungi infection of the genus candida that develops on the mucous membranes of the mouth. It is also referred to as oral candidiasis and causes thick white or cream-colored deposits, most commonly on the tongue or inner cheeks. The lesions can be painful and may bleed slightly when they are scraped.

The infected mucosa of the mouth may appear inflamed and red. It can sometimes spread to the roof of the mouth and the back of the throat.

Causes of oral thrush Tiny quantities of Candida fungus exist in various parts of our body, including the digestive system, skin and mouth, causing virtually no problems to healthy individuals. In fact, C. albicans is carried in the mouths of 35 – 50% of the world’s population. However, people on certain medications, reduced immune systems and certain conditions/illnesses are susceptible to oral thrush when C. albicans can get out of control.

Symptoms of oral thrush Oral thrush in adults generally appears as thick, white or creamy-colored deposits (spots) on the mucous membrane of the mouth. Swollen and slightly red mucosa Discomfort or a burning sensation Bleeding may occur if the creamy deposit is scrapped Plaques may arise.

Diagnosis of oral thrush Oral thrush is diagnosed by looking into the patient’s mouth and asking some questions about the symptoms. The doctor may scrape some tissue from the inside of the mouth for analysis. If the doctor believes the oral thrush is being caused by a medication, or some other underlying cause, that cause must be dealt with. Treatments in such cases depend on the underlying cause.

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Treatments for oral thrush Use of anti-thrush drugs such as nystatin, amphotericin or miconazole in the form of drops, gel or lozenges. The patient may alternatively be prescribed a topical oral suspension which is washed around the mouth and then swallowed. Oral or intravenously administered anti-fungals may be the choice for patients with weakened immune systems. If treatment is not working, amphotericin B may be used;however, this will only be used as a last resort due to the negative side effects which include fever, nausea and vomiting.

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