Is Thrush Contagious: Everything You Need to Know

August 28, 2022

Thrush is defined as a single-celled yeast that can cause an infection in the body. Although many people feel uncomfortable talking about it, thrush can be easily treated if it is caught early on. This blog article explores all you need to know about thrush- how to get rid of it, when to seek help for your symptoms, and what causes it. Let's learn about thrush from A – Z!

What do you mean by Oral Thrush and Vaginal Thrush? 

1. Oral Thrush

If a person has an oral thrush infection, the most common form, then it is likely that he will have a sore throat and mouth ulcers as well. The primary symptom of this type of thrush is a white coating on the tongue, which is often accompanied by visible patches of sores on the inside of the cheeks. This can look like a white film on the tongue and inner cheeks, with some redness and swelling in between.

Oral thrush is caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida in the mouth and throat. Oral thrush usually affects people who are at least two years old. It's most common in people with diabetes or immunodeficiency (meaning they aren't able to fight infections as well as they should).

2. Vaginal Thrush

Vaginal thrush is caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. It's common in the vagina and can cause itching and burning, sometimes accompanied by a white or yellow coating on the skin. This buildup is called thrush, and an overgrowth of the fungus causes it.

If you have vaginal thrush, it can make sex uncomfortable. You might also notice that your discharge is thicker or more watery than usual and that it smells bad or has a slight fishy odor. There are multiple thrush treatments for women that can help treat vaginal thrush. 

What Causes Thrush

Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast residing in the mouth. The most common cause of thrush is Candida albicans, which usually occurs in the mouth. It can also occur in other areas of the body, but it is more common in the mouth.

Other causes include:

  • Dentures

  • Chemotherapy

  • Diabetes

  • Dry Mouth

  • HIV

  • Smoking

  • Use of Steroids 

  • Immune system deficiencies

Is Thrush Contagious?

The good news is that thrush is not contagious.

The bad news is that it can be transmitted from person to person in the same way that colds and flu are, so it’s important to avoid spreading it around at all costs.

How is Thrush Spread

Thrush is spread by contact. If a person is infected with thrush and then comes into contact with someone else, the person who had thrush can pass it on to them.

The primary way that thrush spreads is by direct skin-to-skin contact. This includes sharing towels, sheets, or other items that have been used by someone who has thrush. It also includes sharing toothbrushes and eating utensils that have been used by someone who has thrush.

People are more likely to spread thrush when they have it because they are more likely to touch their mouth or nose while they have symptoms of the infection. People may also spread it when they have nasal symptoms without having a sore throat, such as when sneezing or coughing.

Can You Pass on Thrush During Sex?

Yes, you can pass on thrush during sex. It is possible to pass on thrush if you have oral sex or masturbate. If you have an outbreak of thrush, you may also be contagious to your partner.

If you have thrush, you must see a doctor as soon as possible so they can treat the yeast infection. Also, if you have been having sex and now you think you have a thrust infection, you must look out for the following symptoms: 

The symptoms of thrush in females include:

  • White-colored discharge which kind of looks like cottage cheese but doesn't smell 

  • Soreness or stinging while having sex or peeing 

  • Itching around the vagina

The symptoms of thrush in men include:

  • Yeast infection in men is also very common. White-colored discharge looking like cottage cheese that has a foul smell

  • Irritation, Redness or Burning under the foreskin or around the head of the penis

  • Having difficulty while pulling back your foreskin 

How Long Will I have Thrush and What are the Treatments for Thrush?

Thrush will not last long. It may last from 1-2 weeks, depending on how severe your symptoms are and if you have any underlying health conditions that could cause thrush.

There are several treatments for thrush, including:

1. Oral medications, such as tetracycline or erythromycin, that are taken by mouth. These drugs can be taken every day for a few months to clear up a persistent infection; they also kill the bacteria that cause thrush.

2. Topical creams and ointments that contain antifungal ingredients, such as clotrimazole or miconazole (both sold under the brand names Fungizone and Monistat). These creams or lotions can be applied directly to the affected area.

3. Ointments that contain azoles (such as fluconazole) can be applied topically to treat yeast infections caused by candida albicans and other types of fungi.

Prevention of Thrush

A lot of measures can help you to prevent oral thrush, and they are listed below:

  • Clean your gums and dentures regularly. 

  • Brush your teeth twice daily and use dental floss

  • Try to avoid smoking. 

  • Rinse your mouth after using a corticosteroid inhaler or taking some medications. 

  • Avoid getting a dry mouth when possible. 

  • Control your diabetes by controlling your blood sugar levels 

  • Treat your other yeast infections like those of the vagina. 

  • Avoid excess use of antibiotics and use only when they are necessary.

  • Make a habit of getting routine checkups done, especially if you have some chronic infection like diabetes which can increase the chances of getting an infection. 

In summary, thrush is not a serious or dangerous condition, and it's one that can quite easily be treated with the right medications. You may never have to deal with this disease again, but if you do get it, hopefully what we've discussed here has given you some insight on how to treat it and keep it away in the future.

Author Bio: Krishma Patel is the Co-founder and the Superintendent Pharmacist at MedsNow, an online pharmacy in the UK that provides health and wellness products and treatments along with free online consultations. She is passionate about showcasing the integral function community pharmacies can play in supporting the healthcare system and the NHS by providing patients with high quality, safe and discreet access to healthcare at their convenience. Along with being the co-founder of MedsNow, Krishma is also the Director and the Superintendent Pharmacist of Enimed Ltd., an independent pharmacy group comprising 32 branches.

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