Thrush is a common fungus infection of the mouth. It most commonly affects newborns and infants, but is also seen in older children and adults.
Causes of Thrush
Thrush is caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus is usually present in small numbers in the mouth. Certain conditions or factors can lead to the fungus multiplying and producing clinical symptoms. One of the most common precipitating causes that produces thrush is the recent use of antibiotics. This upsets the balance between bacteria and fungi, and allows the fungi to grow. Newborns may acquire the infection during passage through the birth canal, especially if the mother has a vaginal yeast infection. Infection transmitted in this way usually appears within hours or up to 7 days after birth. Aging is often associated with a decreased resistance, or failure of the immune system. This can lead to the development of fungal infections such as thrush.
Signs and Symptoms of Thrush
Thrush produces plaques, or patches, in the mouth. They are usually white to creamy yellow and slightly raised. They look something like mild curds, but they donít wipe off. If the plaque is rubbed off, it usually leaves a red, sometimes bleeding surface. When the plaques are rubbed off they are often painful. There is often dry mouth. Painful swallowing can occur if the esophagus is involved.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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