Newborn Medical Series: Thrush
What is thrush?
Thrush is an infection that affects the mouth and throat. This type of infection is caused by a fungus called “candida”, which is a type of yeast. So, some people call this infection a “yeast infection” of the mouth and throat. This same kind of yeast can also cause diaper rash in babies or vaginal infections in women.
Anyone can get thrush. But it is more common in:
People taking antibiotics
People who are taking steroid medications
People who have a weak immune system or are immunocompromised
Symptoms of Thrush
Many people with thrush have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include:
White patches lining the cheeks, tongue, or back of throat
Redness inside the mouth without white patches
Cotton-mouth, which is when you feel like your mouth is filled with cotton
Pain with eating and swallowing
In babies, poor feeding can be a sign
Is there a test for thrush?
If you or your baby has symptoms of thrush, you should call your doctor or nurse for an appointment. Your doctor may order a test called a culture, which is a swab on the inside of the cheek. However, most of the time this is not needed. Thrush can be diagnosed by looking inside the mouth.
What is the treatment?
People with thrush usually get a prescription mouth rinse or a lozenge that has medicine to kill the yeast. There is also a tablet that sticks to your gums. If these options do not work, people can sometimes take a pill that has an antibiotic to kill the yeast. People who have severe infections sometimes get the pill right away. In very severe cases, it may require antibiotics given in the hospital.
Can it be prevented?
If your baby is immunocompromised, your doctor may put your baby on the medication to prevent thrush from forming. Otherwise, there is no way to prevent thrush.
YouTube has a wonderful video with a quick recap of thrush below.
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- The Baby Whisperers
Up To Date, Inc
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles