Thrush (Candidiasis)

By | June 10, 2022

A condition that can affect young children and babies as well as adults and the elderly is candidiasis, also known colloquially as thrush.

What is thrush?

Typical abnormal changes in the skin can be observed in thrush (candidiasis). In this regard, thrush mainly causes disturbing and extremely unpleasant symptoms and abnormalities on the mucous membranes of the patient.

Depending on the specific symptoms, thrush can be described as an infectious disease that can affect the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, vagina, penis and esophagus and other organs. For laryngitis explanations, please visit

A distinction is made between candidiasis as follows:

  • Skin thrush in the area of ​​the skin, anus, armpits and skin folds
  • Oral thrush in the area of ​​the throat and mouth
  • esophageal candidiasis in the esophagus
  • intestinal candidiasis in the intestines

Thrush is just a skin disease, which can cause very peculiar symptoms in addition to other clinical pictures from this group.

The term candidiasis is based on yeast fungi of the Candida family. In connection with thrush, the yeast Candida albicans must be highlighted. The most widespread under the name thrush (candidiasis) is the so-called oral thrush, which is represented by an increased occurrence of the yeast fungus Candida albicans. This disease is particularly common in babies.


The only possible causes for the development of thrush are the molds of the species Candida albicans. These are contained in a healthy body and multiply due to various influencing factors, which can lead to candidiasis.

The yeast fungi can spread there as a result of excessive colonization of the mucous membranes, which have a warm and humid environment, which is very fungus-friendly, and a restricted immune system. In addition, not all causes for the formation of thrush are known, which can affect many internal organs and in some cases even assume life-threatening proportions.

An altered metabolism, which occurs primarily in patients with diabetes mellitus, can also be a causal trigger for thrush. People who have cancer, people who are infected with HIV, or people who are treated with special medications can also develop candidiasis. In many cases, thrush is also triggered and transmitted by a lack of hygiene.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

The yeast fungi can attack different parts of the body. The complaints that arise are correspondingly varied. Areas on the skin that have overlapping skin folds are preferably affected. The warm, humid environment creates ideal growth conditions for the yeasts. Reddened skin often occurs in the armpits or under the breasts.

The skin areas swell and become sensitive to touch. Dandruff often occurs as well. The skin itches and weeps. A red border around the affected area is typical of candidiasis of the skin. This is referred to as so-called ruff scales. Pustules may also form on the inflamed skin.

If thrush occurs in the mouth, the affected areas appear red and have a whitish coating. If the pharynx is affected, swallowing problems occur . Thrush can spread to the esophagus and also affect the digestive tract. If thrush occurs in the vaginal area, there will be redness and itching.

A coarse-grained white discharge can also indicate the clinical picture. If the glans is affected in men, blisters can form. In most people, the fungus can be detected in the mouth and intestines without causing any symptoms. If the immune system is disturbed, this promotes the development of thrush. These symptoms are particularly common in young children and the elderly.


Serious complications can occur throughout the body as a result of systemic candidiasis. Depending on where the pathogen settles, inflammation of the brain, lungs, kidneys, heart valves and retina can occur, for example. If the pathogens get into the blood, this causes Candida blood poisoning.

If thrush occurs in the genital area, this can lead to the formation of pustules and papules and to excruciating itching. Skin thrush is usually associated with skin irritations which, if untreated or not treated, can lead to the development of abscesses and serious infections. Oral thrush can cause discomfort in the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat.

Typical are swallowing difficulties, pain in the esophagus and a strong burning sensation behind the breastbone. In the worst case, intestinal thrush can lead to chronic intestinal diseases or even constipation and intestinal obstruction. The therapy of a thrush infestation also involves risks.

The prescribed antimycotics can cause side effects and interactions such as reddening of the skin, itching and burning. Rarely do allergic reactions, swelling or hives occur. For allergy sufferers, medications such as econazole can cause allergic reactions. A general intolerance to the respective active ingredients is also conceivable and associated with undesirable symptoms.

When should you go to the doctor?

Changes and abnormalities in the complexion should be presented to a doctor as soon as they increase or last suddenly for several days. Candidiasis causes problems in the mucous membranes. Particular care is required, especially in the area of ​​the mouth, throat or intestines. A doctor is needed if symptoms appear that lead to an impairment of well-being.

If the person concerned suffers from irregularities when swallowing, a feeling of tightness in the throat or pain, a doctor’s visit is necessary. A refusal to eat or provide fluids should be presented to a doctor. In severe cases, it can lead to dehydration and thus a potential danger to life.

Complaints about the dentures or changes in the position of the teeth must be examined by a dentist. In the case of internal weakness, malaise or a decrease in physical resilience, a doctor is needed. Redness, the formation of pustules or swelling are signs of a health problem. A doctor is needed as soon as a discharge develops, problems with the digestive tract or irregularities in going to the toilet become apparent.

If there are any peculiarities in the sexual organs, if there is a reduced libido or sexual dysfunctions, a doctor’s assessment is indicated. Itching, restlessness, and pain are other indicators that should be followed up.

Treatment & Therapy

Different concepts are implemented as part of an effective treatment against thrush. These depend on the form of candidiasis and its localization as well as the current stage of the disease. Normally, dermatologists use antimycotic drugs against thrush, i.e. drugs that act against fungi. These are selected based on the type of skin fungus.

Various brushes and liquids for rinsing as well as antifungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-itching ointments and creams are suitable for external applications against thrush, which are only used locally.

Vaginal candidiasis is treated with special vaginal suppositories. Some remedies against the Candida albicans fungus are prescribed in tablet form.

Infusions or tablets such as miconazole, clotrimazole, ketonazole and amphotericin B help with so-called systemic thrush.


In order to prevent thrush, it is important to pay attention to a healthy immune system and to support it with a healthy lifestyle. Drugs such as suitable antibiotics and drugs containing cortisone are suitable as prophylactic measures against candidiasis in the case of pre-existing conditions such as AIDS and diabetes mellitus as well as cancer with chemotherapy. Appropriate oral and intimate hygiene also help to prevent excessive formation of the Candida albicans fungus and thrush (candidiasis).


The aftercare treatments for thrush reveal many possibilities. In any case, according to the doctor and pharmacy, drug treatment with antifungal drugs for thrush must be carried out continuously until the end of treatment. This means that the drug should be taken even after the symptoms have subsided.

Thus, the pathogens that led to thrush are completely eliminated. Follow-up care pays attention to the patient’s healthy and hygienic lifestyle. In general, a healthy diet is encouraged. Adults should largely or completely avoid nicotine consumption. When using braces, partial and full dentures, special attention should be paid to thorough cleaning and hygienic denture and oral care.

In the aftercare of young children with thrush, all objects and toys that have come into contact with the child’s mouth should be sanitized. Equally, parents should take care to avoid contact with the mouth and saliva of the infected child. With these aftercare measures, the recurrence of thrush in the patient and the infection of other people with thrush are largely ruled out and prevented.

You can do that yourself

To contain and alleviate the symptoms, the affected person can ensure that no warm, damp areas form on the skin due to the loss of body fluids. These provide the ideal conditions for the growth and spread of the fungus on the skin. Applying body powder to existing risk areas will help the skin dry better.

In addition, good personal hygiene is important to make it more difficult for pathogens to multiply. The clothing must be checked for its ingredients. Some fibers promote the formation of warm, humid regions on the skin because they do not absorb sweat. It is therefore important to ensure that the garments contain only a small proportion of polyester and a large proportion of cotton. Regular showering, changing sleeping utensils and changing the clothes worn every day help to improve the health of those affected.

If you have problems with your throat or mouth, you should not eat any irritating foods. The consumption of concentrates or acidic nutrients should therefore be avoided. Although there is a loss of appetite or discomfort in the mouth and esophagus, it is important that a balanced and healthy diet takes place. Forgoing meals is not conducive to the recovery process.

Thrush (Candidiasis)