Thrush is a common infection caused by yeast that affects both men and women, it is also known as Candida.

Around 75% of women will experience vaginal thrush at some point in their lives.

It is generally harmless but may be unpleasant and uncomfortable to live with. For some women vaginal Thrush is hard to treat and keeps coming back.

Thrush is not normally passed from person to person during sex, however having sex can irritate the genitals and make symptoms more obvious.

Thrush tends to develop faster in warm, moist conditions.

Some factors that can lead to thrush multiplying are:

  • Taking antibiotics 
  • A weakened immune system
  • Using a vaginal deodorant
  • Using baby or alcohol wipes on the genital skin
  • Using perfumed fabric softener
  • Broken skin which is inflamed and irritated
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Diabetes

In men

  • Itching, burning and soreness around the head of the penis
  • Difficulty pulling back the foreskin
  • An unpleasant smell
  • A thick white discharge
  • Pain or irritation when you have sex
  • Pain when you pee

In women

  • Itching, burning and irritation around the vagina
  • An unpleasant smell
  • A thick white discharge
  • Redness or swelling of the vagina
  • Pain or irritation when you have sex
  • Pain when you pee

You will be asked about your symptoms. A doctor or nurse may examine the affected area.

If it is not obvious that it’s thrush then a cotton bud may be wiped over the affected area to take a sample of cells for testing. This is not painful.

A mild case of Thrush can usually be treated with a short course of antifungal tablets. In many cases the symptoms will clear up within 2 weeks.

If the Thrush keeps coming back then treatment will need to be continued for longer.

Other treatments include

  • Anti-thrush cream
  • Anti-thrush pessary - a medication that you insert into the vagina like you would a tampon.

Treatments for thrush can be prescribed by a doctor or bought from a pharmacy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant as this may affect the type of treatment you are given.

There are a number of ways to reduce the likelihood of Thrush/Candida becoming an issue for you.

  • Avoid potential irritants in shower gels, perfumed soaps, vaginal deodorants and wipes
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing, tights or underwear or tights 
  • If you have diabetes ensure your blood sugar level is kept under control
  • If you are using antibiotics ask your doctors for anti-fungal treatment to use at the same time.
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