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Oral thrush - infection of yeast fungus, Candida albicans
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Oral thrush - infection of yeast fungus, Candida albicans

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Fungal

From MayoClinic.com

Treatment

The goal of any treatment is to stop the rapid spread of the fungus, but the best approach for you may depend on your age and the cause of the infection.

Treating oral thrush in children

Toddlers with mild oral thrush who are otherwise healthy may need no treatment at all. If the infection develops after a course of antibiotics, your doctor may suggest adding unsweetened yogurt to your child's diet to help restore the natural balance of bacteria. Infants or older children with persistent thrush may need an antifungal medication.

Treating oral thrush in infants and nursing mothers

If you're breast-feeding an infant who has oral thrush, you and your baby will do best if you're both treated. Otherwise, you're likely to pass the infection back and forth. Your doctor may prescribe a mild antifungal medication for your baby and an antifungal cream for your breasts. If your baby uses a pacifier or feeds from a bottle, wash and rinse nipples and pacifiers every day until the thrush clears up.

Treating oral thrush in healthy adults

If you're a healthy adult with oral thrush, you may be able to control the infection by eating unsweetened yogurt or taking acidophilus capsules or liquid. Acidophilus is available in natural food stores and many drug stores. Some brands need to be refrigerated to maintain their potency. Yogurt and acidophilus don't destroy the fungus, but they can help restore the normal bacterial flora in your body. If this isn't effective, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal medication.

Treating oral thrush in adults with weakened immune systems

Most often, your doctor will recommend an antifungal medication, which may come in one of several forms, including lozenges, tablets or a liquid that you swish in your mouth and then swallow.

The normal course of treatment is usually 10 to 14 days. Unfortunately, Candida albicans can become resistant to antifungal medications, especially in people in the later stages of HIV infection. A drug known as Amphotericin B may be an option when other medications aren't effective.

Some antifungal medications may cause liver damage. For this reason, your doctor will likely perform blood tests to monitor your liver function, especially if you require prolonged treatment or have a history of liver disease.

Prevention

The following measures may help reduce your risk of developing Candida infections:

  • Try using yogurt or acidophilus capsules when you take antibiotics.

  • Treat any vaginal yeast infections that develop during pregnancy as soon as possible.

  • If you smoke, ask your doctor about the best ways to quit.

  • See your dentist regularly — at least every six to 12 months — especially if you have diabetes or wear dentures. Brush and floss your teeth as often as your dentist recommends.

  • Try limiting the amount of sugar and yeast-containing foods you eat, including bread, beer and wine. These may encourage the growth of Candida.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 01:39 AM