How is thrush diagnosed?

Your health care provider can usually tell right away if you have thrush by looking for the distinctive white lesions on your mouth, tongue or checks. Lightly brushing the lesions away reveals a reddened, tender area that may bleed slightly. A microscopic exam of tissue from a lesion will confirm whether or not you have thrush (but a physical exam is not always necessary).

If thrush extends into your esophagus other tests may be needed. Your health care provider might:

  • Take a throat culture (swabbing the back of your throat with sterile cotton and studying the microorganisms under a microscope).
  • Perform an endoscopy of your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine (examining the lining of these body areas with a lighted camera mounted on the tip of a tube passed through these areas).
  • Take X-rays of your esophagus.

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