Handling Oral Yeast Infections In Adults

Commonly called as Oral Thrush, Oral Yeast Infection is a fungal infection caused by the Candida Fungus (also called as Candida Albicans, Candida Tropicalis, Candida Glabrata or yeast). Thrush can occur in other parts of the body as well, including the arm pits, groin areas and skin folds etc.

In the case of Oral Yeast Infection, the infection occurs in the mucous membranes present in the mouth. And while the infection is referred to as candiadisis in babies, it is referred to as moniliasis or candidosis in adults.

Common Causes of Thrush

The body is home to small amounts of Candida Fungi that usually remain in a dormant state until aggravated by certain factors (both internal and external). In these cases, the fungi would start to grow out of control and lead to yeast infections on all parts of the body, including the mouth.

Some of the more common causes for oral yeast infections include a weakened immune system, stress, existing illnesses like diabetes, cancer or HIV etc., dry mouth, pregnancy, birth control pills, hormonal changes and excess use of antibiotics or corticosteroids etc.

Risk Factors of Oral Yeast Infection

Although anyone can suffer from yeast infections, there are certain factors that increase an individual’s chances of contracting the condition.

These include newborn babies whose immune systems would not be fully developed, medical ailments like diabetes, lupus or any other condition that disturbs the body’s metabolic structure, body weakness owing to poor nutrition, a weakened immune system owing to poor nourishment or existing medical anomalies (for ex: AIDs and cancer etc.), frequent hormonal imbalances, conditions like dry mouth that develop due to certain medical conditions (ex; Sjogren’s Syndrome) or medications (ex; antipsychotic drugs), steroid, antibiotic or chemotherapy treatment (these include steroid metered dose inhalers and oral steroid medications), drug abuse, dentures and tongues pierced (lack of follow up care).

Common Symptoms and Treatment Options for Oral Yeast Infections

The onset of oral thrush would be sudden with the symptoms appearing in quick succession. The first signs of an oral yeast infection would be indicated by the appearance of raised lesions inside the mouth. Creamy white in color, these lesions would appear on the roof of the mouth, the gums, inner cheeks and the tongue. They would be painful to touch and would bleed if you accidently scrape them (for ex; while brushing your teeth).

Handling Oral Yeast Infections In Adults

If not treated immediately, these lesions would spread to the other areas of the mouth, including the throat and tonsils. In severe cases, they would also spread to the esophagus and stomach. In these cases, the person in question would find it extremely difficult and painful to swallow anything (even water). Other symptoms of a severe oral yeast infection include the feeling of something being stuck in the throat or chest, and fever.

The sooner oral thrush is treated, the better. If the infection worsens and spreads to the esophagus and stomach, it would be really hard to tackle the condition and remain healthy in the process. In most cases, an individual with a strong immune system would be able to fight off most of the infection on his/her own and would need little support from external medications.

On the other hand, individuals with weak immune systems would not be able to fight the infection and would need heavy doses of medications in order to reduce the infection and its symptoms. The treatment approach for oral yeast infection would vary from individual to individual. The doctor would formulate the best treatment plan for an individual based on his/her age, the specific cause of the infection and existing medical ailments.

The treatment would usually start as soon as the exact cause of the infection is determined (provided the fact that the individual is not suffering from any other medical ailment that might be contributing to the infection). In most cases, the doctor treating the infection would recommend a couple of tests to overrule any other medical anomaly that might be causing the infection. If a problem is detected, the doctor would proceed to treat it before starting treatment for the yeast infection.

Antifungal Medications for Oral Yeast Infections

The most common form of treatment for oral yeast infections would be antifungal medications that need to be taken over a course of 1-2 weeks. The medications are usually available in the form of liquids, tablets, lozenges and injections.

Handling Oral Yeast Infections In Adults

In the case of topical therapy, the individual would be given an anti-fungal liquid drug. He/she should swish it around his/her mouth before swallowing it. In certain cases, the individual would need to suck on a lozenge filled with the anti fungal medication. Common examples include nystatin, gentian violet, miconazole and amphotericin B.

Individuals suffering from conditions like AIDs would have weak immune systems. Individuals battling cancer or receiving chemotherapy treatment for the same would also be immunocompromised. If so, then topical anti fungal drugs would have little effect on the yeast infection and the fungi causing it. In these cases, the individual in question would need to opt for anti fungal medications that need to be administered orally or intravenously.

Also Read

Types Of Fungal Yeast Infections In The Body
Effective Remedies For Yeast Infection
Causes And Symptoms Of Candida Yeast Infection
6 Predominant Natural Treatments For Candida

Controlling Risk Factors

Finding out the exact cause of the infection would usually offer a clear understanding of where the treatment would start. In cases where the infection is caused by factors like an uncontrolled diabetic condition, dentures or tongue piercings, it would be best considered to control these factors in order to control the infection. For example, altering a diabetic treatment for more fruitful results, replacing dentures or removing tongue piercings etc. can bring down the infection to a great extent.

Ways to Prevent Oral Yeast Infections

Treatments apart, it is considered essential for individuals to be aware of the way in which they can stay safe from oral yeast infections and their side effects. Here are some general precautions that need to be taken in order to prevent oral thrush.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Handling Oral Yeast Infections In Adults

Brushing teeth twice a day is considered very essential for keeping infections like oral thrush at bay. It is also considered wise to floss at least once a day to keep the teeth and tongue free of impurities that could contribute to the infection.

Opt for Regular Dentist Appointments

Regular visits to the dentist would enable an individual to ensure that his/her mouth remains healthy. These visits would also enable the dentist to spot and treat infections as and when they are about to occur.

Limit the intake of Yeast containing foods

Foods rich in sugars and yeast can provide favorable conditions in the mouth for the growth of the Candida Albicans fungi. This in turn can cause oral thrush in no time. Staying away from these foods or limiting their intake could keep oral yeast infections at bay.

Quit Smoking

Kicking the habit or limiting it is one of the ways an individual can stay safe from oral yeast infections. Smoking can lead to a dry mouth which would in turn be more prone to yeast infections. So stop smoking altogether or limit it to a minimum in order to stay safe from oral thrush.

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