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Definition of Thrush

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Thrush: Yeast infection of the mouth and throat, characterized by patches of white, caused by the fungus Candida albicans .

Yeast are part of the normal flora in the mouth. They ordinarily do not cause symptoms. Certain conditions, such as antibiotic use, can disturb the natural balance of microorganisms in the mouth and allow the overgrowth of Candida to cause thrush.

Overgrowth of Candida albicans can also occur in the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and other areas of the body. Vaginal yeast infections, some forms of diaper rash and other skin rashes that emerge in moist, warm areas of skin are all forms of yeast infection.

Thrush is usually a minor and easily addressed problem, but it can be more serious for those with immune system disorders, such as AIDS. Treatment is with antifungal medications.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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