Thrush, also known as Candidiasis, is a fungal infection caused by a type of yeast called Candida. This is why Vaginal Thrush is often called a Yeast Infection. Thrush can affect many different areas of the body like the mouth and throat, vagina, penis, finger and toenails, and skin. Sometimes, although very rarely, thrush can become invasive and spread to other parts of the body. Read our article below to learn about the different types of thrush.
Mouth and Throat
Infections of the mouth are most common in babies less than a month old, the elderly and those with a weak immune system. It is normally characterised by red skin covered in white spots. When these spots are wiped off, they leave red spots that can bleed. There may also be a cottage cheese like coating on the tongue that canít be rubbed off easily. Other symptoms in adults are cracks in the corners of the mouth, not tasting things properly, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, pain in the mouth, and difficulty eating and drinking. Other symptoms of thrush in babies are not wanting to feed and nappy rash.
Vagina and Penis
Thrush of the vagina may cause itching, burning, soreness, irritation and a whitish or whitish-grey cottage cheese-like discharge. However, in some cases where the thrush infection is closer to the cervix than the entrance of the vagina, there may be no symptoms and the woman may not know she has thrush.
Yeast infections of the penis are less common but will typically present with an itchy rash. There may also be red skin around the head of the penis, swelling, irritation, thick discharge under the foreskin, unpleasant odour, difficulty retracting the foreskin and pain when passing urine or during sex.
Finger and Toenails
Most fungal nail infections are caused by dermatophyte fungi but occasionally they can be caused by the Candida yeast that causes thrush. It is more common to get a fungal nail infection in your toenails, but they can occur in your fingernails too. The most common symptom of a fungal nail infection is the nail becoming thickened and discoloured. The nail may turn white, black, yellow or green. It will usually start at the edges of the nail and progress to meet in the middle and cover the nail. As the infection continues to progress, the nail can become brittle and pieces may break off or come away from the toe or finger completely. If left untreated, the skin underneath the nail may become inflamed and painful. There may also be white or yellow patches on the nailbed, scaly skin next to the nail, and a foul smell.
Thrush can affect areas of the skin like the armpits, groin, under the breasts and between the fingers. This will usually present itself as a red, itchy, painful rash that scales over. There may also be a white or yellow discharge.
An invasive thrush infection, also known as invasive candidiasis, is an infection that is caused by the same Candida yeast as thrush. Unlike mouth or genital thrush, invasive thrush is a serious, progressive and potentially fatal infection that can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, and other parts of the body.
If you suspect you have a thrush infection you should go to your GP or Pharmacist for help. They will be able to advise you of the best medications. These will normally be Fluconazole or Clotrimazole which are anti-fungal medications. If you do not treat a thrush infection it can spread to other areas of your body.