Thrush Infection Causes

Thrush is a condition in which Candida albicans, a form of yeast, infects moist areas of the body. While thrush tends to cause oral infections, it can also trigger fungal infections all over the body. Also known as candidiasis, thrush produces symptoms that include fever, difficultly/painful swallowing and white, bumpy lesions in infected areas.

To understand the causes of thrush, it’s important to understand how the body normally deals with bacteria. Healthy individuals tend to have a base level of bacteria and fungus in and throughout the surface of their bodies. Typically, you and these microorganisms have a symbiotic relationship: You provide them with nutrition, and they protect you from infectious viruses and bacteria. However, at times, the healthy microorganisms and the harmful ones become imbalanced, causing you to get sick. In these instances you are particularly susceptible to coming down with thrush.

In this section, we will examine the various causes of thrush. Our articles outline the relationship between thrush, the immune system, HIV and other conditions. Keep reading to learn more about the various causes of thrush.

Thrush and the Immune System

Any condition that depresses the functioning of the immune system disposes people to thrush, as a strong immune system is necessary to prevent infection. Along with people who have autoimmune disorders (such as multiple sclerosis and lupus), those who have cancer or are undergoing chemotherapy are highly likely to suffer from thrush.

Read on to learn more about how the immune system works as well as to get information on how weakened immune systems contribute to thrush.

Thrush and HIV

Because the HIV virus attacks the immune system’s cells that are responsible for fighting infection, it puts people at risk of coming down with thrush. In general, thrush tends to only afflict HIV patients who are in later stages of the disease, namely those whose T cell count has fallen below 350. (When a person’s T cell count falls below 200, HIV has developed into full-blown AIDS.)

Unfortunately, for these HIV patients, thrush can be particularly harmful. Along with influenza and even the common cold, thrush is a type of opportunistic infection in HIV patients, meaning that it can cause further health complications. Keep reading to learn more about the relationship between thrush and HIV.

Thrush and Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic, incurable condition in which a person can’t naturally regulate his insulin levels. As a result, diabetics tend to have too much sugar in their blood. Whether a person is born with diabetes (type 1 diabetes) or develops the condition later in life (type 2 diabetes), the higher levels of sugar in the blood cause them to have increased amounts of sugar in their saliva. This cultivates the ideal conditions for a person to develop oral thrush.

Read on the learn more about the relationship between thrush and diabetes.

Depression and Severe Stress

The relationship between depression/stress and thrush is complex. While thrush causes people to suffer from physical symptoms that can trigger depression, both depression and stress also weaken the immune system, putting people at risk of contracting a thrush infection.

As a result, it’s important to treat whichever condition arises first to prevent the other from developing. This means that if you suffer from depression, getting treatment could prevent thrush. Conversely, if you suffer from thrush, treating this condition can prevent you from suffering from unnecessary stress, as well as from developing depression.


CNN (2007). Mayo Clinic, Oral Thrush (2007). Retrieved June 29, 2007 from:

Mayo Clinic (2007). Burning Mouth Syndrome (2007). Retrieved June 29, 2007 from: