SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Children and adults
Initially, you may not even notice symptoms of oral thrush. Depending on the underlying cause, signs and symptoms may develop slowly or suddenly, and they may persist for days, weeks or months. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Creamy white lesions on your tongue, inner cheeks, and sometimes on the roof of your mouth, gums and tonsils
- Slightly raised lesions with a cottage cheese-like appearance
- Redness or soreness that may be severe enough to cause difficulty eating or swallowing
- Slight bleeding if the lesions are rubbed or scraped
- Cracking and redness at the corners of your mouth (especially in denture wearers)
- A cottony feeling in your mouth
- Loss of taste
In severe cases, the lesions may spread downward into your esophagus — the long, muscular tube stretching from the back of your mouth to your stomach (Candida esophagitis). If this occurs, you may experience difficulty swallowing or feel as if food is getting stuck in your throat.
Infants and breast-feeding mothers
In addition to the distinctive white mouth lesions, infants may have trouble feeding or be fussy and irritable. They can pass the infection to their mothers during breast-feeding. The infection may then pass back and forth between the mother's breasts and the baby's mouth.
Women whose breasts are infected with candida may experience these signs and symptoms:
- Unusually red, sensitive, cracked or itchy nipples
- Shiny or flaky skin on the darker, circular area around the nipple (areola)
- Unusual pain during nursing or painful nipples between feedings
- Stabbing pains deep within the breast
When to see a doctor
If you or your child develops painful white lesions inside the mouth, see your doctor or dentist. If thrush develops in older children or teenagers, seek medical care. An underlying medical condition or certain treatments may be the cause.
Aug. 12, 2014
- Candidiasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Clinical practice guidelines for the management of candidiasis: 2009 Update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2009;48:503.
- HIV/AIDS: Oral candidiasis (thrush). Womenshealth.gov. http://www.womenshealth.gov/hiv-aids/opportunistic-infections-and-other-conditions/oral-candidiasis-thrush-and-hiv-aids.html#pubs. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Oral candidiasis (yeast infection) patient information. American Academy of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology. http://www.aaomp.org/public/oral-candidiasis.php. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Vaginal yeast infections — Women's health guide. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. http://www.publichealth.va.gov/infectiondontpassiton/womens-health-guide/vaginal-yeast-infections.asp. Accessed July 16, 2014.
- Thrush. MouthHealthy. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/thrush. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Diabetes. MouthHealthy. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diabetes. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Is thrush causing my sore nipples? La Leche League International. http://www.llli.org/FAQ/thrush.html. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Kauffman CA. Treatment of oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Kauffman CA, et al. Candida infections in children: An overview. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Kauffman CA. Clinical manifestations of oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 9, 2014.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 16, 2014.
- Salinas TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 1, 2014.