Nicola Parker, of Help Me Be Healthy, in Morecambe, writes about beating oral thrush
Last week I talked about fungal nail and skin infections. Internal infections like thrush can be even more problematic and are caused by a yeast known as Candida albicans.
Thrush is usually thought of as a women’s problem,
but oral thrush affects many, especially babies and older people whose immune systems aren’t working as effectively as they should be.
Recently, I’ve been meeting with people who have become aware of how certain medications, especially steroid inhalers, can cause oral thrush.
This first came to my attention last year, when we took my mum to an Indian restaurant on Mother’s Day.
Being the only person in her household that enjoys curry, going out for Indian food is a special treat.
I feel like my own spice tolerance is quite high (possibly due to all the pungent herbs I regularly take) so I wasn’t surprised when she offered me her food after confessing that it was too spicy.
What did surprise me, though, is that her choice of dish was her usual
favourite and not one that is known for being particularly spicy.
She had barely touched her food and refused to eat any more, something that worried us as she had recently been losing weight.
Being a very slight lady, we began to express this concern until she very firmly told us all off for nagging at her.
Naturally, we all did as Mum says, but I made a point of speaking to her privately a few days later.
Once away from the family and grandchildren, she confided that her mouth had been really sore since she’d started using her new inhaler.
Her doctor had advised her to rinse her mouth with soda each time she used it and this had helped a little, but generally she was having difficulty eating.
This had led to some marked weight loss and the lack of nutrients from her food was leaving her feeling even more run down and more prone to the oral thrush.
Steroid inhalers depress the immune system and, while they are often an important part of treatment for asthma and COPD, it’s important to do what we can to counter the negative impact of this.
I gave my mum some herbal anti-thrush treatment, a potent liquid called Citricidal.
It’s very bitter but fortunately it’s incredibly strong, and only a few drops per dose are needed.
I suggested that she add a drop or two to the water she was using to rinse her mouth, as Citricidal can kill off yeasts directly.
Since her immune system wasn’t doing the job on its own, doing something that has a direct action was important.
I also suggested a probiotic that helps to combat thrush by colonising the mucous membranes with defensive bacteria.
These bacteria take up space alongside Candida albicans, making it more difficult for the yeast to spread.
When using any treatment against Candida, whether it is oral or vaginal, it’s very important to do this.
Killing off Candida yeast leaves space for other microbes to grow and spread so it’s important that you introduce the right kind of bacteria.
Otherwise, the moment you stop using your Citricidal or antifungal medicine, the Candida yeast may return.
Candida often lives peacefully alongside our own immune supporting bacteria, causing no harm or symptoms.
This is because a healthy balance of bacteria keeps the Candida in check.
Thrush of any kind is an indication that this balance has been disturbed, so it’s important to address the mucosa as a whole and not just kill off the yeast causing the thrush.
My mum agreed to take my advice and I supplied her with both the probiotic and the Citricidal.
She also requested a Spacer from her GP, a chamber that she can breath her medication through designed to prevent oral thrush caused by inhalers.
After a couple of weeks, I was glad to hear that her mouth felt better and she was able to eat more comfortably.
She started gaining back the weight that she’d lost, and generally looked much healthier.
Eating well is vital to maintaining good health, so anything that hinders that should be addressed.
Look after the bacteria in your mouth and they, in turn, should look after you.