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Definition of thrush

The condition referred to as yeast infection is triggered by the culprit known as Candida. Candida is a type of fungus. Normally, it is to be found in the human body, causing no kind of trouble, since it is a benign inhabitant of the mouth, vagina and intestinal tract.

Yeast infections occur because of the Candida fungus, and the condition is called candidiasis. However, there is another, obsolete, name for this genus of the fungus – Monilia, and that is why you sometimes hear about this yeast infection – thrush – being called moniliasis.

The trigger for the thrush

If our immune defence system is well balanced, the benign yeasts cause no kind of problem. However, when the immune system is thrown off the balance by, say, the use of antibiotics, the Candida can start multiplying tremendously and exceeding the desirable number. Other parts of the body that can be easily affected by thrush are those that are frequently damp, for example the groin and other folds on skin.

Children and thrush

During the process of childbirth an infant can get infected by Candida directly from its mother. This is nothing unusual since fungi normally inhabit the flora of the vagina. While travelling through the birth canal, the newborn gets in touch (literally) with the fungus.

The acquisition of yeast infection

Contrary to the supposition that children get thrush from contact with the ‘infected’ mother, the occurrence of yeast infection can be better linked with the intake of antibiotics. The intake of antibiotics or steroids can cause the loss of balance in the mouth flora. This is when the oral cavity can be affected with candidiasis. An organism with a well balanced flora can resist the thrush, but when it is weakened by some factor, thrush jumps in.

The treatment of thrush

Mouth thrush, yeast infections, and Candida diaper erythema are most typically medicated with antibiotics which work on destroying fungi. One of them is Nystatin (not a brand name but an antibiotic type), which comes in the form of pill or cream.

In case a child develops the diaper rash, the diapers are to be changed regularly, plus the skin needs to be carefully washed using soap, and then dried. Milder forms of diaper rash can benefit from the use of corn starch, but it should be avoided when the child develops a significantly more severe form of erythema. Make sure that the skin is dry, and preferably use highly absorbent diapers. Pants made of plastic need to be avoided altogether.

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