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Candidiasis (Oropharyngeal)

Oropharyngeal Candidiasis

What is thrush? — Thrush is an infection that affects the mouth and throat. This type of infection is caused by a fungus called "candida." Candida is a type of fungus called "yeast," so some people call thrush a yeast infection of the mouth and throat. The same kind of yeast can cause diaper rash in babies or vaginal infections in women.
Anyone can get thrush. But it is more common in:
Older adults
People taking antibiotics
People who are taking inhaled steroid medicines
People who have a weak immune system (for example, people being treated for cancer and people with AIDS)
What are the symptoms of thrush? — Many people with thrush have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include:
White patches lining the cheeks, on the tongue, or on back of the throat (picture 1)
Redness inside the mouth without white patches. (This happens in people who wear dentures.)
Cotton-mouth, which is when you feel like your mouth is filled with cotton
Pain with eating and swallowing
Should I see my doctor or nurse? — Yes. If you have symptoms of thrush, call your doctor or nurse for an appointment.
Is there a test for thrush? — Yes, but most people do not need it. Your doctor or nurse should be able to diagnose thrush just by looking inside your mouth. To confirm, they might also run a Q-tip (called a "swab") along your tongue or cheek and collect some fluid. Then they can send the fluid to the lab and have it checked for yeast.
How is thrush treated? — People with thrush usually get a prescription mouth rinse or a lozenge that has medicine to kill the yeast. (A lozenge is like a candy that you suck on.) There is also a tablet that sticks to your gums. If these options do not work, people sometimes take a pill that has medicine to kill yeast. People who have severe infections or other health problems sometimes get the pill right away.
People who wear dentures must also clean their dentures really well every night.
Can I prevent thrush? — For most people, doctors and nurses do not give medicines to prevent thrush. The best way to prevent thrush is by keeping your mouth clean. If you wear dentures, it is really important to clean them every night and to give your mouth some time without the dentures.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 15787 Version 7.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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