Thrush is caused by the same organism that causes yeast infections. It typically attacks the mouth and tongue, but if you're a breastfeeding mom it can affect the nipples. This is painful for both you and the baby. Left untreated it can spread down the throat and cause swelling.
While anyone can develop thrush, babies, people wearing dentures and those with a compromised immune system are most likely to develop the problem. The symptoms are painful white lesions in the mouth and on the tongue. The lesions may bleed. Loss of taste and a cottony feeling in the mouth can also occur.
Women with thrush on the nipples may notice changes such as increased redness, itching and pain while nursing. The pain can feel like something stabing in the breast.
Thrush may clear up on its own, but usually the body needs some help. When you see the doctor, make sure to tell him / her about any medications or supplements you take, as well as any major stresses and health conditions. If the thrush has migrated to your throat, you may need a throat culture or endoscopic exam, as that is a more serious condition than oral thrush.
Sometimes, it's best to use medications from your doctor. When dealing with thrush in breastfed infants and mothers, that is probably the best bet. Many herbs can cause problems when passed through breast milk. One thing you should note is that sugar feeds yeast. Watch the amount of sugar and other carbs until the infection is cleared up.
For healthy adults and children who have thrush, unsweetened live culture yogurt and acidophilus are helpful. Garlic supplements are a good idea, and an infusion of garlic as a mouth wash is not a bad idea. Watch sugar and carbs so that the yeast does not have anything to feed on.
People with weakened immune systems require special care when confronted with a yeast infection. This is especially true of those with HIV. Antifungal medications may be needed. Unfortunately, resistance to antifungals is a characteristic of HIV. The good news is that there is at least one medication that can help.