Is thrush contagious?
Yeast infections are not always contracted through direct contact; it is possible to pass Candida overgrowth by kissing or oral sex. A vaginal or penile yeast infection may be contagious, can pass during anal, oral, or vaginal sex, and can present as oral thrush, even if it started elsewhere.
What is thrush?
Thrush is a mouth and throat infection caused by a yeast called Candida. The most common subtype of this germ is Candida albicans also known as Candida or C. albicans. Mouth and throat are some of the most common sites of Candida infections (oral candidiasis or oropharyngeal candidiasis). The immune system and body’s normal bacteria usually keep Candida in balance. When this balance is interrupted, it can result in an overgrowth of the yeast, causing thrush. It may also be seen in babies and grownups with a weak immune system.
Thrush is characterized by a white coating or white patches on the tongue, mouth, inner cheeks, and back of the throat. The tissue under the white patches is often red, raw, and sore. The lesions can be painful and even bleed when scraped. Oral thrush often looks like cottage cheese or milk curds. Some general symptoms and signs of thrush are as follows:
- Bad breath
- White tongue
- Cheilosis (Cracking at the outer edges of the lips)
- Feeling of food stuck in the throat or sore throat
- Strange or unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Burning mouth syndrome: Symptoms of a painful burning sensation, mouth dryness, soreness, tingling, or numbness throughout the mouth and tongue. Symptoms can be associated with an abnormal bitter or metallic taste in the mouth.
- In severe cases of thrush, the esophagus, which leads down to the stomach, may also be involved. This leads to painful swallowing (odynophagia) and swallowing difficulties (dysphagia), fever, shaking or chills, etc.
What are the treatment options for thrush?
Thrush is a treatable condition:
- Mild oral thrush: The usual treatment is Nyamyc (nystatin), which is a topical application that is in a liquid drop form. Miconazole mouth gel or lozenges are also effective but may sometimes lead to vomiting or diarrhea.
- Severe oral thrush: Tablets containing the common antifungal medications Diflucan (fluconazole) or Sporanox (itraconazole) can also clear fungal infections from the body. In rare cases, treatments are offered through antifungal injections.
What are home remedies for thrush?
Home remedies for thrush that can reduce the risk include:
- Brush the teeth with a soft toothbrush
- Rinse the mouth with a diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide solution
- Rinse the mouth with warm saltwater
- Avoid mouthwash because it can alter the normal flora of the mouth
- Keep dentures clean and see a dentist if they do not fit correctly
- Avoid sweets or sugar products
- Drink cold liquids or eating frozen or ice treats
- Eat soft, easy-to-swallow foods
- Use a straw for drinking if the patches are painful
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) oral: Rinsing the mouth ACV (water dilution) may help to regulate the presence of Candida while restoring the natural pH level in the mouth.
- Probiotics: Adding probiotic foods, cultured dairy, and/or oral probiotics into routine may help to kill the Candida overgrowth in the body and balance the pH level in the mouth.
- Gentian violet (1%): It is an over-the-counter natural treatment that sometimes works as a home remedy for thrush. It is a dye that kills bacteria and fungi, and it is available without a prescription.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is helps the immune system by encouraging white blood cell production that helps protect body against infection.