Oral thrush that won’t go away in adults

Oral thrush that won’t go away in adults

Oral thrush that won’t go away in adults-why is it so?

A fungal infection of the mouth is known as oral thrush. It is not communicable, and antifungal medication is usually effective in treating it. Oral thrush, on the other hand, can be persistent in some cases. What could be the source of this? What should I do if this happens?

Learn more in this blog post.

Oral thrush

Also known as oral candidiasis, oral thrush is a yeast or fungal infection caused by the Candida genus that affects the mouth’s mucous membranes. Candida, a fungus prevalent in your mouth and digestive tract, multiplies, causing it.

In the mouth, on the tongue and cheeks, and on the neck, white patches like a rash emerge.

Thrush can affect anyone. In women, Candida, or yeast, is the cause of diaper rash and vaginal yeast infections. Oral thrush is most common in infants, toddlers, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.

Oral thrush is not a serious concern for the vast majority of people. If a person’s immune system is impaired, however, the signs and symptoms may be considerably more severe.

Causes of oral thrush

If you take some medications that lower the quantity of friendly bacteria in your body (disrupt your normal flora), such as antibiotics, you may develop an overgrowth of C. albicans, which causes oral thrush.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are two cancer treatments that might harm or destroy healthy cells. You’ll be more prone to oral thrush and other illnesses as a result of this.

An overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans causes oral thrush and other yeast diseases (C. albicans). A tiny amount of Candida albicans can dwell in your mouth without harming you.

Beneficial microorganisms in your body help keep C. albicans under control when your immune system is functioning normally. The fungus can grow out of control if your immune system is impaired or the balance of microorganisms in your body is upset.

Oral thrush is more likely to develop in people who have weak immune systems, such as those who have leukemia or HIV. In HIV patients, oral thrush is a prevalent opportunistic illness.

Oral thrush can also be caused by diabetes. Diabetes that is uncontrolled affects the immune system and leads to excessive blood sugar levels. This promotes the growth of Candida albicans.

Symptoms of oral thrush

Adults with oral thrush develop thick, whitish, or cream-colored deposits on the mouth’s mucous membrane. Swollen, somewhat red, and elevated areas on the inside of the mouth are possible.

Plaques are formed when white specks join together to produce larger ones. After that, the plaques may turn a grayish or yellowish tint. Occasionally, the affected area turns red and swollen with no visible white patches.

In babies, oral thrush appears as a white coating on the tongue that looks like cottage cheese. The coating will be difficult to remove for a health professional. They will, however, be able to scrape off the coating, leaving a red spot. If the cream or white-colored deposits are scraped, bleeding may occur.

Denture wearers may experience spots under their dentures that are always red and inflamed. Oral thrush can be exacerbated by poor oral hygiene or failing to remove dentures before going to bed.

Oral thrush can sometimes impact your esophagus; however, this is uncommon. Oral thrush is caused by a fungus that can also cause yeast infections in other parts of the body.

Here are some other symptoms of oral thrush

  • cracks in the corners of the mouth
  • a bad taste
  • pain in the tongue or gums
  • difficulty eating or drinking

Treatment for oral thrush

Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following drugs to treat oral thrush:

  • Itraconazole (Sporanox), an oral antifungal medicine used to treat people with oral thrush who haven’t responded to prior therapies and those who have HIV
  • Amphotericin B (AmBisome, Fungizone), an oral antifungal medication used to treat severe instances of oral thrush
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan), an oral antifungal drug
  • Clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche), an antifungal lozenge
  • Nystatin (Nystop, Nyata), is an antifungal mouthwash that you can swirl in your mouth or dab in the mouth of your child.

When oral thrush won’t go away

Oral thrush normally clears up after a few weeks of starting treatment. However, it is possible that it will reappear in some circumstances.

If after taking all the recommended treatment options, your oral thrush persists, then it may be possible that you are rather dealing with another disease condition that is being mistaken for oral thrush. One common example of such a condition that is easily misdiagnosed as oral thrush is Leukoplakia.

Other conditions that could be misdiagnosed as oral thrush in adults and thus won’t go ahead after treatment of oral thrush are:

  • Canker sores
  • Coated tongue
  • Geographic tongue
  • Leukoplakia
  • Milk Tongue
  • Oral lichen planus

Adults with recurrent occurrences of oral thrush with no known cause should be evaluated by their healthcare professional for underlying medical issues that may be contributing to the thrush.

Hence, if you have an oral thrush that won’t go away then you have to see your doctor for further investigation.

Is oral thrush contagious?

In adults, oral thrush is not communicable (contagious). Oral thrush can, however, be passed from a newborn to a parent while breastfeeding or breastfeeding.

Is oral thrush painful?

Oral thrush can be painful for some people. It’s possible that the spots will become elevated, causing irritation and a burning sensation. In some cases, a person may not acquire spots but still have a general pain in the mouth. A person’s spots may bleed and cause mild pain if they scrape them.

Risk factors of oral thrush

Oral thrush is more likely to occur in children under the age of one month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Adults in the following groups are more prone to develop oral thrush:

  • Long-term usage of steroid treatment raises the risk of oral thrush.
  • Immune system weakness. People with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to oral thrush.
  • People who wear dentures are more likely to get oral thrush. Particularly if they do not keep them clean, have dentures that do not fit well, or do not remove them before going to bed.
  • Antibiotic users are at a higher risk of acquiring oral thrush. Antibiotics may kill the microorganisms that keep Candida from spreading uncontrollably.
  • Oral thrush is more common in diabetics, especially if their condition is poorly controlled.
  • Oral thrush is more common in those who have less saliva than normal, a condition known as xerostomia.
  • Oral thrush is more likely to develop among heavy smokers. The causes behind this are unknown.
  • Mucositis occurs when the mouth becomes uncomfortable and inflamed as a result of chemoradiation therapy for head and neck cancer. Candida infection is both an outcome of chemo-radiation mucositis and a risk factor, according to a 2020 study.


Oral thrush is a fungal infection that affects the mouth’s mucous membranes. Thick, white, or cream-colored patches on the mucosal membrane are common symptoms of oral thrush. These areas may be elevated, causing pain and suffering.

Oral thrush is not a serious concern for the majority of people. After a few weeks of medication, oral thrush usually goes away. It is possible, though, that it will reemerge in certain conditions.

Adults with oral thrush that won’t go away after treatment may have been misdiagnosed and would need to be assessed by a healthcare practitioner for underlying medical concerns that could be contributing to the thrush.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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