Harvard Health Letter

By the way, doctor: What can I do about thrush?

Q. I've had thrush three times this year. I read that it can be connected to stress, but also to serious diseases. One doctor told me I was "somatizing." What is thrush and could it be related to somatizing?

A. Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by a common fungus or yeast called candida (pronounced CAN-did-a). It often causes whitish sores inside the cheeks, on the tongue, and in the back of the throat. Some people experience a loss of taste, or feel pain when they swallow. Thrush can be a serious problem for people with dentures; the wet, warm space underneath the denture is an ideal place for candida to multiply.

We all have candida on our skin and in our mouths. But it's usually kept in check by the immune system and by bacteria that also live on the skin and in the mouth and compete with the candida for nutrients.

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