Thrush: Treatment

Treatment

For thrush in infants, treatment is often NOT necessary. It generally gets better on its own within 2 weeks.

If you develop a mild case of thrush after taking antibiotics, eating yogurt or taking over-the-counter acidophilus capsules can help.

Use a soft toothbrush and rinse your mouth with a diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide solution several times a day.

Good control of blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes may be all that is needed to clear a thrush infection.

Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal mouthwash (nystatin) or lozenges (clotrimazole) to suck on if you have a severe case of thrush or a weakened immune system. These products are usually used for 5 – 10 days. If they don’t work, other medication may be prescribed.

If the infection has spread throughout your body or you have HIV/AIDS, stronger medications may be used, such as fluconazole (Diflucan) or ketoconazole (Nizoral).

Prognosis (Expectations)

Thrush in infants may be painful, but is rarely serious. Because of discomfort, it can interfere with eating. If it does not resolve on its own within 2 weeks, call your pediatrician.

In adults, thrush that occurs in the mouth can be cured. However, the long-term outlook is dependent on your immune status and the cause of the immune deficit.

Complications

If you have a weakened immune system (for example, if you are HIV-positive or receiving chemotherapy), Candida can spread throughout your body, causing infection in your esophagus (esophagitis), brain (meningitis), heart (endocarditis), joints (arthritis), or eyes (endophthalmitis).

Calling Your Health Care Provider

Call your doctor if:

  • Your infant has had lesions in the mouth consistent with thrush for at least 2 weeks.
  • Your infant is eating poorly due to the lesions.
  • You are a teen or adult with lesions that are consistent with thrush.
  • You have pain or difficulty swallowing.
  • You have symptoms of thrush and you are HIV positive, receiving chemotherapy, or take medications to suppress your immune system.

Pictures & Images

Mouth anatomy


    Review Date : 8/28/2009
    Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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