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Diseases & Conditions

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is characterized by the presence of white lesions inside the mouth, primarily on the inner cheeks and tongue. This is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans which is found in small amounts in all human mouths. It is a mild annoyance to most health people, but can be more serious for those with compromised immune systems.

Common Symptoms

In some cases, symptoms of oral thrush are so mild that they may go unnoticed. The most common symptom is the presence of raised lesions that resemble cottage-cheese. These are usually found inside the cheeks and on the tongue and may spread to the gums, tonsils, and the roof of the mouth. The affected area is likely to be red and painful. If the lesions are irritated, slight bleeding may occur. It is also common for the edges of the mouth to be red and cracked and for affected individuals to experience an impaired sense of taste.

When severe, the sores can extend to the esophagus. This condition, known as Candida esophagitis, creates difficulty swallowing and a feeling that the food is caught in the throat.

Infants and Nursing Mothers

Infants with oral thrush will display white lesions in their mouths and may also have difficulty nursing. They are likely to cry more than usual and be noticeably irritable.
There are several ways that babies and mothers can pass the condition on to one another. During delivery, babies can contract oral thrush from a mother with a vaginal yeast infection. Nursing babies with oral thrush can spread it to the mother’s breast.

When the breasts have been infected with candida, the nipples are likely to be sensitive and may be itchy, red or cracked. The skin around the areola may be shiny or flaky. Mothers with this condition often complain of general discomfort while nursing and nipple pain between feedings. A deep, stabbing pain in the breast area may also occur.

Common Causes

Oral thrush is most commonly found in infants, elderly adults, and those with compromised immune systems. The use of drugs like prednisone and antibiotics can disrupt the body’s natural balance of microorganisms, leaving it open to overgrowths of bacteria and fungi. Medical conditions that suppress the immune system are often accompanied by oral thrush. The most common are HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes mellitus.

Treatment Options

Prescription and over-the-counter medications found at our pharmacy can be helpful in treating the symptoms of oral thrush. A consultation with a physician is recommended to diagnose and treat any underlying causes.

Medications to Treat Oral Thrush

Over-the-Counter Medications:

  • Fungizone
  • Diflucan
  • Nystop

Compounded Medications:
We can make oral suspensions, solutions, rinses or capsules of the following:

  • Amphotericin B
  • Fluconazole
  • Nystatin
  • Gentian Violet
  • "It is rare to find health professionals who are so willing to educate the patient on what they need to know."

    Clair C. | West Hollywood, CA