Candida is a single-cell organism that is present in our body in small quantities. When this organism becomes too abundant, it can cause infections. A common condition due to the overgrowth of yeast is called thrush. Thrush can occur in the mouth and on the tongue, or in the diaper area.
It is common in both babies and small children, although it is no cause for alarm. It is also present in people who have been taking antibiotics.
Many fungal infections can be present in people with immune diseases, such as HIV, AIDS, or cancer. The body cannot fight many conditions, and thrush, like other infections, is no exception. Pregnant mothers are also at risk due to fluctuations in the hormones naturally occurring during this time frame.
THRUSH IN ADULTS
All kinds of fungal infections, including thrush from candida, can occur easier in adults who have taken antibiotics frequently or taken them recently. This is because the antibiotics kill important bacteria that are key in fighting candida.
THRUSH IN BABIES
Thrush, especially in babies, can look like small milk spots in the mouth. It looks like small white groovy bumps. But the skin underneath can look raw and bright red when rubbed or pushed away, and bleeding may occur. One problem with thrush in babies is that it can infect the mother’s nipples if they are breastfed. She can then pass this back to the baby in an endless back and forth infection. Mothers who have thrush have reported extreme pain when breastfeeding. Until the infection resolves in both the baby and the mother simultaneously, this cycle will continue, and the mother will continue to feel the pain during feeding time.
Babies usually get thrush from their mothers during vaginal delivery. If the mother gets a yeast infection or even the beginning of one, it can transmit to the baby via the birthing canal. This may not be seen right away. But as soon as the baby begins to breastfeed, the baby can transfer it back to the mother via the nipples.
Babies may turn away from a bottle or the breast because of the pain it causes when they suck. In addition, the baby may be grumpy and fussy from being hungry and not feeling well or from the pain as the infection hurts their bottom and causes diaper rash.
THRUSH BY SEXUAL CONTACT
It is also possible to transfer thrush via oral sex. Anyone who has thrush should avoid this type of sexual behavior until the infection resolves. If it happens continuously, the disease from the mouth may transfer to the vagina or penis, resulting in a yeast infection.
DIAGNOSIS OF YEAST INFECTION
It is possible for some people to have thrush and not know it. Others will have symptoms such as pain in the mouth or when brushing and flossing, white patches of the groovy bumps, or even a strange taste in their mouth.
Although there are medical tests for thrush, they aren’t often needed. Most doctors can diagnose it just by looking at it. On rare occasions, doctors may perform a test, but that’s rare. Instead, the doctor will generally swab over the spot and send it to the lab for testing.
For adults or babies and children who are otherwise healthy, there is no need to treat thrush as it will naturally go away on its own. However, it is important for breastfeeding mothers to get treatment to ease discomfort during feeding times, which can be very frequent when the baby is tiny.
Thrush can go away by itself, especially in otherwise healthy people. However, for infections that won’t go away, an antifungal mouthwash can help. This medication will clear the infection within about two weeks. Although occasionally, a person may need to use it longer. For babies, there is a type of medication for oral sores.
For adults or children who are otherwise ill or have severe immune problems, it is necessary to treat thrush before it worsens or manifests until it enters the bloodstream. When it does this, the candida can spread to other body areas and cause multiple infections.
Typically an anti-fungal medication can prevent this and help to stop any potentially spreading disease. This is especially important for those with weak immunity.
PREVENTION OF THRUSH IN ADULTS
As with any infection, the best thing is to practice good hygiene to prevent it from spreading. Adults should wash their hands, brush their teeth regularly, and consider using a new toothbrush as the infection leaves. In addition, treatment for yeast infection should be given as soon as possible for pregnant women, especially during the last trimester.
PREVENTION OF THRUSH IN BABIES
For babies, bottles should be properly cleaned and boiled for at least five minutes when applicable as soon as the baby is finished with a bottle, clean and disinfect it right away. Change any wet diapers immediately to avoid moisture increasing into the skin.
Although breastfeeding may be painful during this time, it is preferable to use a bottle. There is less likelihood of repeat infection when the mother is taking medication, unlike with a bottle. Any baby or small child who is not feeling well because of thrush should be comforted and treated as if they had any other type of illness.
While thrush can be an annoyance and discomfort, there are no overly destructive issues it can cause in a healthy person. With proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, thrush resolves soon. However, if it doesn’t go away, consult a healthcare professional.