All You Need to Know About Thrush

Did you know that you are more likely to get thrush in your 20’s and 30’s? And did you know that thrush affects ¾ of women at some point in their lives?

3 out of 4 women suffer from it at least once in their lives.

Thrush is also known as vaginal candidiasis and is a common yeast infection that can affect women and men.

Many women have candida inside their vaginas and it causes no problems. However, thrush can develop if the balance of microorganisms in the vagina are disrupted and the candida multiplies.

Women can get thrush in their mouth, vagina, armpits, groin, and between the fingers. Today we’re going to be chatting about thrush that affects the vagina and what you can do about it.

Thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection (S.T.I) but may occur after having sex if you’ve had sex whilst your vagina feels tight or dry.

four women sitting in a bench

Vaginal thrush is caused by yeast from a group of fungi called candida. It is more common in,

  • Girls and women who have their periods
  • Before a woman reaches menopause
  • During pregnancy
  • After taking antibiotics  
  • Taking steroids
  • Having sex when your vagina feels dry
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • A weakened immune system, for example, if you have HIV or are having chemotherapy
  • Occasionally it can be passed between sexual partners
Pink Toilet

What Are The Symptoms Of Thrush?

Thrush is a harmless infection but can be quite uncomfortable as it may cause,

  • Intense itching
  • Irritation
  • Soreness or stinging when having sex or when you pee
  • A white vaginal discharge that may look like cottage cheese or of a watery consistency
  • No smell to the discharge 
  • Redness and/ or swelling to the vulva (outside of the vagina)
  • Vaginal rash

How Do I Soothe Thrush And Stop It From Itching?

The first time you think you may have thrush, or if you keep on getting thrush, it’s a good idea to see your doctor or nurse. They may want to take a swab from your vagina to make sure it is thrush and not another infection. The swab is nothing to worry about and should not hurt.

There are a few treatments that you can use to treat thrush. These can be available from your doctor or pharmacist,

  • Pessaries - a pill that you put inside your vagina using an applicator. Usually, the advice is to do this before bedtime to limit any movement so the tablet can be absorbed into the vagina
  • Intravaginal cream - a cream applicator that you can insert into the vagina. Again, you will probably be advised to do this at night time
  • A capsule that you can swallow
  • There are also anti-fungal creams that you can apply to the outside of the vagina to help with itching
Canesten Cream for Thrush

You can also,

  • Wear loose clothing
  • If you’re at home, do not wear pants or trousers and allow your skin to breathe

*creams and pessaries can cause condoms to break, so you may want to use another form of contraception or not have sex whilst you treat the thrush.

girls standing wearing WUKA period pants

How Do I Avoid Getting Thrush?

Thrush can reoccur, but the good thing is that there are things you can do to reduce the chances of it coming back, such as,

  • Use water and soap that is perfume-free to clean around the vagina no more than once a day (make sure you do not clean inside the vagina, which is known as douching)
  • Apply a greasy moisturiser (non-scented) around the skin outside of the vagina several times a day
  • Don’t use perfumed soaps, shower gels, vaginal deodorants, or wipes
  • Don’t wear tight-fitting underwear or tights
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • If you have diabetes try and keep your blood sugar levels under control
  • Some women state that eating and drinking probiotic yoghurts and/or supplements have helped them, but there is little evidence or research to prove this.

Bottom Line

Thrush is a common yeast infection that can affect women’s vaginas when the natural balance of microorganisms are disrupted inside. It is more likely to affect women in their 20’s and 30’s and, although uncomfortable and may cause itching and discharge, it is harmless. There are a few options for treating thrush including pessaries and creams that you can apply to the inside and outside of the vagina.It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor if you think you have thrush for the first time or if it keeps on reoccurring. There are things you can do to reduce your chances of getting thrush, including wearing cotton underwear, not washing inside the vagina, not using perfumed soaps, and shower gels.

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