What are the Symptoms of Thrush Infection?

Thrush, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis, is a fungal infection caused by Candida species, most commonly Candida albicans. It primarily affects the mouth and throat. Thrush can occur in both adults and infants, and its symptoms typically include:

  • White Patches: The most distinctive symptom of thrush is the presence of creamy white or yellowish raised patches on the inside of the mouth, including the tongue, palate, cheeks, and throat. These patches can resemble cottage cheese or milk curds.
  • Pain and Discomfort: Thrush can cause pain, discomfort, or a burning sensation in the mouth, making it painful to eat, drink, or swallow.
  • Difficulty Swallowing: The presence of thrush patches can make swallowing difficult or painful.
  • Loss of Taste: Some individuals may experience a reduced or altered sense of taste.
  • Redness and Inflammation: The affected areas may appear red and inflamed, in addition to the white patches.
  • Cracking and Bleeding: In severe cases, the patches can become thick and cracked, sometimes leading to minor bleeding.
  • Dry Mouth: Thrush can contribute to a dry or cottony feeling in the mouth.
  • Angular Cheilitis: In some cases, thrush can extend to the corners of the mouth, causing redness, cracking, and soreness, a condition known as angular cheilitis.

Thrush is more common in certain populations, such as infants, the elderly, individuals with weakened immune systems (e.g., due to HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy), those taking certain medications (like antibiotics or corticosteroids), and people with uncontrolled diabetes. It can also be triggered by factors like poor oral hygiene, smoking, or the use of ill-fitting dentures.

Treatment typically involves antifungal medications, which can be prescribed as oral gels, lozenges, or rinses. It’s important to complete the full course of treatment as prescribed by a healthcare provider. Proper oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and cleaning of dentures (if applicable), can help prevent thrush. If you suspect you have thrush or are experiencing any of the symptoms described, consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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