Dr. Alan Greene on Thrush

My 14-month-old son was diagnosed with thrush.

Question

My 14-month-old son has been diagnosed with thrush. The doctor prescribed mystatin, then on our own we used gentian violet, which cleared it up, but it has returned twice since then. What can I do to make sure it doesn't occur again? He is breastfeeding, but unfortunately he is allergic to cow's milk so I can't give him yogurt.

Answer

Thrush is a yeast infection that is common in babies. It's especially common after someone has been on antibiotics, because along with killing the harmful bacteria, antibiotics can also kill the beneficial bacteria in the mouth. Taking active cultures in a supplement such as Culturelle, or as yogurt (soy yogurt is available for those who are allergic to cow's milk), can help prevent thrush. Just be sure to read the label on the yogurt (whether milk- or soy-based) to make sure it contains active cultures.

If a breastfeeding baby gets thrush, it's often helpful to treat the breasts as well. Yeast can live on the skin, which can cause thrush to ping-pong back and forth from baby to mother. Also treat or sterilize any artificial nipples that go into baby's mouth.

If you're already doing all this and the thrush keeps coming back for no apparent reason, it would be wise to ask your pediatrician about it. She could run some immune tests to see if your baby is especially susceptible to thrush and if some additional support might be needed.

 

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

When to Worry: Thrush
When to Worry: Thrush

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