#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: What Does Oral Thrush Mean?

Q: I slept with this girl around October last year and started experiencing weird symptoms and got tested end of December, the results was negative, and on February results was negative and around march results came back negative

So, I’m worried because I’ve been experiencing oral thrush

A: I guess my first question is, ‘what did you test for?’ HIV? Well, that could be the reason but it could also be due to other issues. Believe it or not, our bodies are filled with different micro-organisms, all of which are searching for relevance and dominance 😀 These good and bad micro-organisms usually maintain a delicate balance until something happens (like when one takes some medications like steroids, uses antibiotics, has a depressed immune system as occurs in extremes of age: very young and very old and also if one is infected with HIV, has cancer or Diabetes Mellitus) to disturb this delicate balance. When this happens, fungal organisms which were minding their own business before, have an opportunity to overgrow in the mouth and cause problems.  This condition can also happen in the vagina causing vaginal thrush or even in infants causing diaper rash.

What does this look like? It looks like creamy white patches on the tongue (which is why you referred to it as tongue thrush), on the inside of the cheeks, gums, tonsils, back of throat etc. They look like you can just scrape them off but any attempt to do that would usually lead to bleeding. People with this condition may also experience pain when swallowing or eating. Children with this condition are usually irritable and fussy.

Treatment of this condition is with the use of anti-fungal drugs which would usually have to be taken for about 10 to 14 days. For nursing mothers, there may be a need for antifungal cream applied on the breasts as the baby and the mother may pass the infection back and forth to each other. Talk about joy in sharing 😀

To prevent this:

  • Practice good oral hygiene: brush your teeth twice a day being sure to spend time brushing the surface of the tongue
  • Rinse out your mouth after every meal, if you can’t brush, especially if you have just taken a lot of sugary foods.
  • Limit your intake of sugary foods
  • If you use dentures, take them off before you go to bed
  • If you smoke, don’t reduce the number of sticks you smoke. Just quit! 😀
  • Remember the ABCs. Abstain…which is always the best bet if you’re not married, be faithful to one partner (who is hopefully being faithful to you) or use condoms

The risk of HIV infection through oral sex may be reduced by the use of barriers like condoms and avoiding ejaculation in the mouth. Use of pre-exposure drugs (prescribed for people at risk) and ensuring that anti-retroviral drugs (drugs used for the treatment of HIV) are being used correctly by partners who are HIV positive may also reduce risk of HIV infection through oral sex.

All the best!

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