The human body is a complex eco-system. There are over 400 types of bacteria growing in the human digestive track from your mouth to your colon and urinary tract. They are part of the digestive process and needed for good health. A delicate balance in the quantity of each keeps everything working correctly. If one kind of bacteria is killed off from a virus or an antibiotic treatment, other less desirable kinds of bacteria will flourish. The end result can range from diarrhea to a Candida or oral thrush outbreak.

CandidaCredit:[413][414][415] is a fungal or yeast infection of the mouth. Thrush can also occur in the esophagus, gastrointestinal tract and the genitalia. It is not just common to humans but also can be found in cattle, horses and dogs. Yeast feeds on sugar so thrush growth can be rapid for those with diets rich in sugar and simple carbohydrates.

Visible symptoms of oral thrush are white and sometimes bumpy mucous buildups on the tongue, roof of the mouth or lips. The area will bleed when barely scraped such as you would experience when eating a meal. Itching, soreness and pain in the effected areas are the immediate symptoms that you feel. In severe cases, the effected person may suspend eating because of the discomfort. If left untreated, thrush may spread uncontrolled throughout the rest of the body and can become fatal.

Causes of Candida can be from cancer drugs, immune system compromises, antibiotics, aggressive mouthwashes or drinking large quantities of soda each day or sucking on lozenge candies continuously. Other causes are dry mouth, stress, birth control pills and steroid medications such as AdVair. For most healthy individuals any one of these will not cause an outbreak but some individuals won’t be so lucky and will develop thrush. Diabetes, anemia and poor diet can increase susceptibility.

Those who get oral thrush have a 25% chance of it recurring, even after some form of treatment[418]. HIV patients are the most prone with an infection rate of 43-93% according to the NIDCR/CDC[417].

Thrush treatments methods:

1. Antimycotics or antifungal drugs such as Nystatin or the stronger Amphotericin B are by prescription only and typically what the doctor first prescribes. The initial cure rate is pretty good but there is a chance that thrush could come back in a few weeks after ending the treatment.

2. Gentian Violet is a drug linked to cancer and may cause ulcers in the mouth and throat when used excessively. It is a legacy cure that causes violet staining of the skin and is prescribed by doctors for external use, generally.

Grapefruit(61023)3. Grapefruit seed extract[416] is made from the seeds and pulp of grapefruit and is thought to be a potent fungicide. In some cases, it has proven effective for treating thrush. Note that commercial preparations may contain ethanol, benzethonium chloride and synthetic antimicrobals from the manufacturing process. These may contribute to the success of the treatment although they have toxicity issues of their own.

Wormwood(61022)4. Wormwood (artemisia) capsules have proven effective in treating thrush, although not 100% so, and may have side effects. Called the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction, it is not unlike the reaction from really powerful antibiotics or flu immunizations.

5. Either milk or soy yogurt and L-acidophilus capsules can regulate the Candida bacteria by increasing the balance of good bacteria in the digestive tract which helps with mild cases of thrush. This treatment has few side effects and is readily available over-the-counter. It is also a common treatment for diarrhea after using strong antibiotics.

Other Information on thrush:

Rinsing with salt water instead of mouthwash will not kill the good bacteria in your mouth and still provide oral hygiene. One person got thrush by overusing mouthwash to prevent a newly pierced tongue from getting infected. The strong chemicals in the mouthwash killed the good bacteria and allowed thrush to flourish. Nystat oral rinse is another product used for patients during their cancer treatment, to help prevent thrush.

One anecdotal story that I read was of a grandmother’s remedy of smearing chicken fat on the oral candida outbreak and the claim was that it repeatedly cured thrush in multiple people within a week. My guess is that the salt in the chicken fat may have been the active ingredient, working much like a salt water rinse but with more staying power.

Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction (a.k.a. JHR, Herx, healing crisis, detox reaction, die-off syndrome) can occur after treatments using wormwood when large quantities of bacteria die in the body and release toxins. Think of this as a positive sign of the effectiveness of the treatment. Lower doses of wormwood, as are often found in popular over-the-counter supplements, may not cause JHR but also have a lower success rate in curing thrush.

Symptoms of JHR include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, itch and rashes that lasts 1-3 days but may last up to 1-2 weeks for some people. Consuming a half gallon of water a day is recommended to keep the kidneys safe and the toxins diluted and flushed out while you are taking wormwood pills.

Some health food pundits suggest limiting your diet of meat from animals that have been given antibiotics to increase yield, mushrooms, bread leavened with yeast and alcoholic products (yeast was used in alcohol fermentation). Foods high in refined sugar and all refined grain products such as white rice, white flour products and refined breakfast cereals are potential fuel for the thrush fungus.

Raw food diets that are very low fat seemingly have eliminated thrush after a few weeks, although this is not a popular solution for most people. Some who went on a raw food diet until the thrush was gone and then switched back to cooked food have had recurrences of thrush.

Sugar, even in the concentration found in raw fruit will feed thrush and should be avoided during treatment. Nutrients and vitamins that are found in fruit can also be obtained from vegetables and vitamin pill supplements.

Thrush seems pretty resilient and may appear gone when it is simply dormant or the bacterial count is so low that the symptoms aren’t there. However, adding the fuel (sugars) back in the diet or ceasing the treatment that suppresses it may easily cause a relapse. If you get thrush, see a doctor. Expect a possible long siege in curing this disease. Giving up processed sugars and refined carbohydrates isn’t the worst plan in the world - consider making that a permanent change.