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Candidiasis (thrush)

for Veterans and the Public

Candidiasis (thrush)

Candidiasis (or thrush) is a fungal infection of the mouth, esophagus and/or vagina. Most people already have the Candida fungus in their body, but the body keeps it in check. Someone whose immune system is weakened is more likely to develop problems.

Some people show no symptoms, but for those who have them, symptoms can include:

  • white patches on the tongue
  • smooth red areas on the back of the tongue
  • painful areas in the mouth
  • changes in taste
  • sensitivity to spicy foods
  • decreased appetite
  • pain or difficulty swallowing
  • yeast infection of the vagina (vaginal itching and white discharge)

Treatments for thrush include oral drugs (suspensions) that you swish around in your mouth and swallow as well as oral antifungal medications. If you are taking drugs for thrush or a yeast infection, be sure to:

  • brush your teeth after each meal;
  • rinse your mouth of all food before using either lozenges or suspension;
  • avoid hurting your mouth: use a soft toothbrush, avoid foods and drinks that are too hot or too spicy.