Thrush is caused by the fungus Candida albicans, which inhabits the mouth or genitals. If present in excessive amounts, this fungus can cause white lesions, redness, and soreness, among other symptoms. Candida albicans occurs naturally in the body in small quantities. Expecting mothers often want to know how to treat thrush naturally during pregnancy.
However, when the immune system is not functioning at full capacity, the body is unable to keep the levels of fungus in check, and thrush can result. Thrush can occur in the mouth, in the genitals, and on the breasts of mothers who are nursing infants with thrush.
Symptoms of Oral Thrush During Pregnancy 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
Thrush can occur at any age, from babies, to healthy adults, and even to the elderly.
The Following Include Possible Risk Factors for Contracting Thrush:
- Being an infant or elderly
- Having a weakened immune system
- Wearing dentures
- Having other health conditions, such as diabetes
- Taking certain medications, such as antibiotics or oral/inhaled corticosteroids
- Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
- Having conditions that cause dry mouth
Natural Thrust Treatments During Pregnancy
Treat thrush naturally while expecting is possible. Here are a couple of natural options you can take to treat thrush naturally during pregnancy.
Proper oral hygiene
One way you can combat the excessive amounts of oral fungus is practicing good brushing and flossing habits daily. However, it is best to avoid mouthwash during this time since it can affect the original amounts of flora inside your mouth.
Rinsing with salt water might help to alleviate some of the pain caused by the sores in your mouth. The Mayo Clinic recommends the following practice: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) of salt in 1 cup (237 milliliters) of warm water. Swish this around in your mouth and then spit it out. Do not swallow it.
Treating Thrush during Pregnancy When the Natural Ways Don’t Work
There are options you can explore with your health care provider or over the counter when experiencing thrush.
An antifungal cream can be used to treat breastfeeding moms who contract thrush from their infants, as well as women who develop thrush in their vagina. Babies with thrush can pass the condition on to the breastfeeding mother.
In this case, the doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream to treat the thrush that is on the breasts. If your infant has thrush, it is likely the fungus is also on the baby’s pacifier and bottles, so they should be washed thoroughly and sanitized. Your doctor can identify further ways to clean these items.
Sometimes, cases of thrush are severe enough that they cannot be cured by natural means alone. In this situation, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal medication to help regulate the levels of Candida albicans in your system. It is important to note that pregnant women should not take the anti-fungal tablets known as fluconazole, as some studies indicate that it could cause birth defects. Consult with your doctor before taking any medications.
If you think you have thrush, it is important to consult your doctor immediately, as thrush can spread into the throat, esophagus, and intestines, leading to eating and digestion issues.
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Compiled using information from the following sources:
Mayo Clinic: Disease Conditions/oral thrush