Can Psoriasis Cause Thrush?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

How does thrush affect the body?

Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, is caused by the Candida albicans fungus. It occurs when Candida overgrows and causes white, cottage cheese-like lesions.

These lesions can appear on the:

  • tongue
  • inner cheeks
  • roof of the mouth
  • throat
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Anyone can get thrush. However, it often occurs in babies, older adults, or people with a compromised immune system.

In addition to lesions, thrush symptoms may include:

  • severe pain that can make it difficult to eat, swallow, or talk
  • bleeding when lesions are scraped
  • dry mouth
  • cracked and red lips, especially in the corners
  • loss of taste

How does psoriasis affect the body?

While the exact causes of psoriasis are unknown, it’s believed that genetics may be responsible.

Symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • raised, scaly skin lesions
  • itchiness
  • bleeding through cracks in the skin
  • pain
  • dry skin patches

Is psoriasis a risk factor for thrush?

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Research suggests that people with psoriasis are more likely to have high levels of Candida in their saliva. These high levels may lead to thrush.

In one 2012 study, Candida levels were found to be much higher in people with psoriasis than in people without it. Researchers didn’t note a connection between psoriasis severity or treatment, or Candida amounts and incidence.

A later study also found an increase in thrush in people with psoriasis. In this study, researchers did find a strong connection between psoriasis severity and the presence of Candida.

Another study confirmed the psoriasis-thrush relationship. However, in this study, the severity of psoriasis had no impact on the occurrence of Candida.

How is thrush treated?

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If you develop thrush, your doctor will likely prescribe an antifungal drug. This is the first line of treatment for most cases of thrush.

The length of your treatment depends on the severity of the thrush infection and your overall health.

If thrush is left untreated, it may lead to invasive candidiasis. Invasive candidiasis may affect the:

  • blood
  • brain
  • heart
  • eyes
  • bones

Invasive candidiasis usually requires hospitalization.

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Topical thrush treatments include clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche) and nystatin (Nystop, Nyata) in the form of a suspension mouthwash.

If thrush doesn’t respond to these treatments, your doctor may prescribe systemic antifungals via intravenous (IV) injection. Examples include:

  • fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox)

Severe thrush may require treatment with amphotericin B injections.

What home remedies are effective against thrush?

You may also try using a home remedy to treat thrush.

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Check with your doctor to see if any of the following tips may help prevent thrush or relieve symptoms during an outbreak:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily.
  • Don’t share your toothbrush.
  • Floss daily.
  • Don’t use traditional mouthwash or mouth sprays unless prescribed.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water, but don’t swallow it.
  • Keep your dentures clean.
  • Limit sugar and yeast in your diet.
  • Keep your blood sugar controlled if you have diabetes.

When should you see your doctor?

If you have psoriasis and exhibit thrush symptoms such as white patches, mouth pain, or redness, call your doctor.

The earlier you seek treatment, the less chance your infection will become severe. You should also call your doctor if you’re being treated for thrush and your symptoms worsen or don’t improve.

What is the takeaway?

People with psoriasis may be more likely to develop thrush. This is because they might have higher levels of Candida, the bacteria that causes thrush.

However, more research is needed to fully understand the connection between thrush and psoriasis.

Read more on: psoriasis


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