Diagnosis

Diagnosis of thrush depends on the location and identifying whether there is an underlying cause.

If thrush is limited to your mouth

To diagnose oral thrush, your doctor or dentist may:

  • Examine your mouth to look at the lesions
  • Take a small scraping of the lesions to examine under a microscope
  • If needed, do a physical exam and certain blood tests to identify any possible underlying medical condition that may be the cause of oral thrush

If thrush is in your esophagus

To help diagnose thrush in your esophagus, your doctor may recommend any or all of these:

  • Biopsy. The tissue sample is cultured on a special medium to help determine which bacteria or fungi, if any, are causing your symptoms.
  • Endoscopic exam. In this procedure, your doctor examines your esophagus, stomach and upper part of your small intestine (duodenum) using a lighted, flexible tube with a camera on the tip (endoscope).
  • Physical exam. If needed, a physical exam and certain blood tests may be done to try to identify any possible underlying medical condition that could cause thrush in the esophagus.
July 22, 2017
References
  1. Oropharyngeal/esophageal candidiasis ("thrush"). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/thrush/. Accessed May 23, 2017.
  2. Kauffman CA. Overview of candida infections. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 24, 2017.
  3. Kauffman CA. Clinical manifestations of oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 23, 2017.
  4. Kauffman CA. Treatment of oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 23, 2017.
  5. Oral candidiasis (yeast infection). American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. http://www.aaomp.bizland.com/public/oral-candidiasis.php. Accessed May 23, 2017.
  6. Onishi A, et al. Interventions for the management of esophageal candidiasis in immunocompromised patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD011938/abstract. Accessed May 23, 2017.
  7. Millsop JW, et al. Oral candidiasis. Clinics in Dermatology. 2016;34:487.
  8. Candidiasis (mucocutaneous). Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/en-pr/professional/dermatologic-disorders/fungal-skin-infections/candidiasis-mucocutaneous. Accessed May 23, 2017.
  9. Telles DR, et al. Oral fungal infections: Diagnosis and management. Dental Clinics of North America. 2017;61:319.
  10. Thrush and breastfeeding. La Leche League GB. https://www.laleche.org.uk/thrush/. Accessed May 23, 2017.
  11. Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 5, 2017.