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Learn More About The 7 Most Common Sore Throat Ailments

Yeast Thrush

Yeast Thrush

White patches may appear on the lips, inside the cheeks (buccal mucosa), on the tongue, soft palate, and posterior wall of the throat. The patches cannot be wiped off as milk residue can. Babies with Thrush often also have a yeast diaper rash. Sometimes nursing babies either give the infection to or catch it from the nipples of their nursing mothers, causing the nipples to be red and painful.

Symptoms

Figures 1-3. Thrush's characteristic white cottage cheese or curd-like patches on the lips, tongue, gums, and inside of cheeks.

Figure 2.

Figure 3.

Find links to the other common sore throat ailments in our Sore Throat Guide at the bottom of the page.

Normal Throat 

Yeast Thrush

A Normal Throat is pink rather than fire-engine red, and has no sores or ulcers. Size of tonsils will vary, but the tonsils will not be a very different color from the surrounding throat tissue.

Yeast Thrush will often have white cottage cheese or curd-like patches on the lips (a.), tongue (b.), gums (c.), soft palate (d.), and on the inside of the cheeks (e.).

Thrush is the name given to an infection of the mouth and throat by the yeast Candida. This yeast is a member of the Fungus family. Thrush is most commonly seen in infants and newborns.The same yeast causes diaper rash and vaginal infections in women. Children may experience Thrush after having been on antibiotics.

The yeast that causes Thrush is very common and lives on the skin of many of us, and in the vaginas of many women. The competent immune system keeps the yeast in check, preventing it from multiplying and causing symptomatic infection. Infants and newborns have an immune system that is not very effective against the yeast Candida. Children who have taken antibiotics may have had the normal bacteria living in their mouths and on their skin eradicated, leaving the yeast without competition for living space and nutrients.

Causes

Thrush is usually diagnosed by visual examination alone, the white patches being easy to recognize on lips, buccal mucosa, tongue, and/or soft palate. The concomitant presence of the oral lesions and the diaper rash helps make the diagnosis, as does an inflammation on the nursing mother's nipples. A history of recent antibiotic usage raises suspicion. A swab of the lesions may be examined under a microscope to see the typical yeast organisms, but this is usually not necessary.

Diagnosis

As mentioned earlier, Thrush may be the source for yeast infection of the diaper area and the nipples of nursing mothers. It is common for this yeast to cause vaginal infections and, rarely, other more serious systemic infections. However, these infections are not caused by spread from Thrush.

Complications

Most cases of Thrush will eventually resolve as the infant's immune system matures. However, it is most common to treat Thrush with oral Nystatin suspension. Older remedies have included baking powder and the dye Gentian Violet, but these are no longer used. Infections that are resistant to the Nystatin are rarely treated with systemic medication.

Treatment