If you notice white lesions on your tongue, inner cheeks or roof of your mouth, you might have oral thrush, which is a yeast infection that develops inside your mouth. Your doctor may recommend antifungal medications such as lozenges or liquid. Another option is eating yogurt for yeast infections.
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Yes, you can eat yogurt when you have oral thrush. However, it's a good idea to stick to unsweetened yogurt for oral thrush
Unsweetened Yogurt for Oral Thrush
When a yeast infection develops in your mouth, doctors call it oral candidiasis or oral thrush. If the fungus Candida albicans, which is a normal organism in your mouth, accumulates on the lining of your mouth, you may get thrush, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Oral thrush is most often associated with babies, but older people are also at risk due to reduced immunity. Certain medications may contribute to oral thrush as well as having a suppressed immune system. When a mother is breastfeeding, the infection can go back and forth between mom and baby, settling in the baby's mouth and on the mother's breasts.
The first line of defense when battling oral thrush is to see your doctor. They may recommend antifungal medications to treat you and your child if they are also infected. Beyond the office visit, there are several home remedies for yeast infections that may help reduce the painful symptoms of thrush and assist with the treatment from your doctor. Warm salt water rinses, nursing pads to prevent the infection from spreading to your clothes and practicing good oral hygiene are all helpful interventions when treating oral thrush.
Read more: Yogurt Brands Containing Probiotics
Additionally, some people use unsweetened yogurt for oral thrush since yogurt has live and active cultures or "good bacteria" that may help stop the growth of Candida, according to a July 2016 study published in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Another very small October 2013 study published in Mycopathologia evaluated the impact of probiotic consumption on Candida colonization of the oral and vaginal mucosa and found that less fungus colonization was observed when women consumed probiotic yogurts. It's important to note that using unsweetened yogurt for oral thrush is recommended.
Yeast Infection Basics
Other than oral thrush, women can develop a vaginal yeast infection, which is a very common occurrence. While not as common, men can get a yeast infection on the head of the penis, which can happen from having sex with a female partner who has a vaginal yeast infection.
Read more: What You Should Know About Sex and Yeast Infections
Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include vaginal itching or soreness, pain during sexual intercourse, abnormal discharge and pain or discomfort while urinating, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the causes may differ for each person, some of the more common reasons that fungi overgrow and lead to a yeast infection, according to the Cleveland Clinic, include:
- Weakened immune system
- Hormonal contraceptives
- Antibiotic treatments
Like oral thrush, yeast infections in the vaginal area are often treated with a topical antifungal medication that is available without a prescription. Your doctor may also prescribe a single dose anti-fungal medicine such as fluconazole taken orally.
Home remedies for yeast infections that are not recommended by your doctor should be used with caution, especially if the vaginal infection is severe. It's always a good idea to see your doctor for treatment and recommendations on ways you can prevent yeast infections.
- The Mayo Clinic: "Oral Thrush -- Symptoms and Causes"
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology: "Probiotic Lactobacilli Inhibit Early Stages of Candida Albicans Biofilm Development by Reducing Their Growth, cell adhesion, and filamentation."
- Mycopathologia: "Impact of Eating Probiotic Yogurt on Colonization by Candida Species of the Oral and Vaginal Mucosa in HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Women"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Yeast Infection in Men: How Can I tell if I Have One?"
- The Cleveland Clinic: "Yeast Infections Management and Treatment"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Vaginal Yeast Infections"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Vaginal Candidiasis"
- The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Health Benefits of Taking Probiotics