Thrush is a yeast infection that
causes white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. Thrush is most common in
babies and older adults, but it can occur at any age. Thrush in babies is usually not
thrush when a yeast called Candida, normally found on the body, grows out of control.
In babies, Candida causes thrush because
immune systems are not yet strong enough to control
the growth of the yeast. Older people get thrush because their immune systems
can weaken with age.
Some people get thrush when they take certain
medicines, such as
inhaled corticosteroids. People who have certain health
problems, such as
HIV, are also more likely to get thrush.
The most common symptoms of
thrush are white patches that stick to the inside of the mouth and tongue.
In babies, it is easy to mistake
thrush for milk or formula. It looks like cottage cheese or milk curds. Don't
try to wipe away these patches, because you can make them red and sore. Some
babies with thrush can be cranky and do not want to eat.
Talk to your doctor if you think you or your child has thrush.
In most cases, doctors
can diagnose thrush just by looking at the white patches. Your doctor will also
ask you questions about your health. If your doctor thinks that another health
problem, such as
diabetes, may be related to your thrush, you may also be
tested for that condition.
Thrush is usually treated with prescribed antifungal medicine such as nystatin liquid.
In most cases, you will put the medicine directly on the white patches. When a
baby has thrush, the yeast can cause a diaper rash at the same time as thrush.
Your doctor may prescribe nystatin cream or ointment for his or her diaper
To treat thrush in adults, at first you will probably use
medicine that goes directly on the white patches, such as a liquid or a
lozenge. If these medicines don't work, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal
If your baby has
thrush, it may help to:
- Clean bottle nipples and pacifiers regularly
using hot water.
- Dry your nipples and apply
lanolin lotion after breast-feeding. Your doctor may also prescribe a medicine that you can put on your nipples. Breast-feeding mothers and babies can
pass a yeast infection back and forth.
If you wear dentures and have thrush, be sure to clean
your mouth and dentures every night. You can soak them overnight in a denture
cleaner that you buy at the store. Rinse your dentures well after soaking