Thrush is a fungal disease that can affect any mucous membrane in the body. Here’s some information about the various treatment options available for dealing with this condition.
Thrush is another name for candidiasis. It is a fungal infection that occurs on the mucomembranous parts of the body. Thus, it mostly occurs as two types―oral and vaginal. In severe cases of immunocompromised individuals, the candidal infection may be systemic, leading to candidal meningitis and candidal septicemia, among others. However, when it comes to oral or vaginal thrush, the basic treatment protocol is the use of antifungal drugs.
In most cases, topical creams are sufficient to treat the condition, but if the symptoms do not recede with the use of these creams, then the person will have to resort to the use of systemic antifungal drugs. This is seen mostly in cases of immunocompromised patients where there is no choice but to use high doses of strong systemic antifungal drugs. Let us go through the different treatments for oral and vaginal thrush one by one.
Oral Thrush Treatment
Firstly, it may occur due to constant irritation from either a denture or relining which may even cause angular cheilitis and denture sore mouth. In such cases, the denture must be cleaned thoroughly. Sometimes, it may also occur due to withdrawal or change of antibiotics, in which case the prescription needs to be double-checked by the doctor. However, in most cases, oral treatment for thrush will be done with the help of topical and systemic drugs.
Oral candidiasis, when being treated topically, must consist of topical application for seven days. Although a course of seven days helps in getting rid of the symptoms, relapses are common as most cases of this condition occur in people that are immunocompromised. Antifungal creams are very helpful for treating this condition as well. These include clotrimazole, nystatin, ketoconazole, etc. These are available as ointments and mouth rinses as well. Along with using these topical medicines, it is important to maintain good dental hygiene, by regularly brushing and using mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine.
In some cases that are severe, and which do not respond to topical creams and ointments, there is a need to use systemic medicines to cure oral thrush. Various systemic antifungal drugs include nystatin, ketoconazole, and fluconazole tablets which are to be taken regularly. When taking ketoconazole, it is important to monitor liver functioning because one of the side effects of this drug is hepatotoxicity.
Normally, cases that fail to respond to topical treatment, respond very well to systemic treatment. In certain cases where the patient is so immunocompromised that the response is very slow to both topical and systemic treatment, then steroids are used as a last resort. However, it should be remembered that steroids will only suppress the disease and its symptoms, not cure it, so they should be used with caution and strictly under the supervision of a practitioner.
Vaginal Thrush Treatment
This treatment is also divided into local and systemic treatment. Vaginal thrush often occurs after sexual contact with a person who is already suffering from it. This condition can also be treated using topical or systemic routes.
Local treatment for candida infection consists of the use of pessaries that are inserted into the vagina or antifungal creams that are to be applied on the vulva and the vagina. In most cases, the use of these local applications alone help to significantly bring about a decrease in the severity of the symptoms. However, this treatment can often be a bit messy and discomforting, so it is best to apply these creams or insert the pessaries at night, just before going to bed.
Furthermore, the length of the treatment will vary depending on the severity of the symptoms, and the response of the body to the drugs. Some women even suggest using certain natural treatment options, like the use of calendula from marigold flowers which is inherently antifungal in nature. Also, garlic and tea tree oil are natural germicides that work wonders. Even lactic acid wash and the use of vinegar (which is acidic, thus aiding in restoring the pH of the vagina) are also said to aid in the treatment.
For patients suffering from vaginal thrush who have not responded to the local topical applications of the drug, often a single or double strong dose of the antifungal drug, that is available in capsule form, suffices. However, consult a doctor before taking any oral drugs. These drugs may cause allergic reactions, or there may be drug interactions with other prescription drugs that you may be taking which may cause further complications. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then it is strongly advised that you try and treat your symptoms with the help of topical creams alone.
Thus, thrush is a relatively common problem that affects a lot of people worldwide, and not being a very serious disease, its treatment is easily available. To prevent being afflicted by this disease, it is best to eat yogurt, as it contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, which are bacteria that help keep the levels of yeast in the body under control.
Also, remember to stay well hydrated, and follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. However, if your bouts of thrush are recurring in nature, or if you are continuously suffering from other opportunistic infections, then it is best to visit a doctor, and run a few tests to diagnose and find out whether there is an underlying serious disease or not.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for the advice of medical professional.