What Causes Thrush?
Candida fungus (yeast) is present in small amounts in the mouth, digestive tract, and skin of most healthy people. Other bacteria and microorganisms in the body help to balance out the yeast in one's body.
Certain illnesses, stress, or medications can throw this delicate balance out of whack which results in the yeast growing out of control and causing thrush.
People who smoke or wear dentures that don't fit properly also are at increased risk for thrush. Additionally, babies can pass the infection to their mothers during breast-feeding.What Are the Symptoms of Thrush?
You know you might
have thrush if you start to see the presence of creamy white, slightly
raised lesions in your mouth, on your tongue or on your inner cheeks and
on the roof of your mouth, gums, tonsils, or back of your throat.
lesions, which may have a cottage cheese like appearance, may be
painful and may bleed slightly when you scrape them or brush your teeth.
In severe cases, these lesions can spread into your esophagus, or
swallowing tube which would causing:
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- A feeling that food gets stuck in your throat
- Fever, if the infection spreads beyond the esophagus
can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs, liver, and
skin. This happens more often in people with cancer, HIV, or other
conditions that weaken the immune system.How Is Thrush Diagnosed?
dentist can diagnose thrush by examining your mouth. He or she looks
for the distinctive white lesions on your mouth, tongue, or cheeks.
Lightly brushing the lesions away reveals a reddened, tender area that
may bleed slightly. A microscopic examination of tissue from a lesion
can confirm the diagnosis.
Thrush that extends into your esophagus may require other tests to make the diagnosis. Such tests might include:
a throat culture by swabbing the back of your throat with sterile
cotton and studying the microorganisms under a microscope
an endoscopy of your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine --
examining the lining of these body areas with a lighted camera mounted
on the tip of a tube passed through these areas)
- Taking X-rays of your esophagus