Thrush Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Vaginal thrush is the common name for candidiasis or yeast infection, it is a common infection and most women will have an attack of thrush at some time in their lives, with some women being susceptible to recurrent attacks more than others. Thrush is an overgrowth of yeast, this is something which we all carry in our bodies most of the time with no problem whatsoever, however it is an unpleasant infection that causes some women a great deal of unnecessary embarrassment.

What are the symptoms of thrush?

Thrush is a very unpleasant infection which causes several symptoms which can vary greatly from person to person, the most common symptoms are:

  • Intense itching around the vagina or inside.
  • A burning feeling inside or outside the vagina.
  • Soreness and tenderness inside or outside the vagina.
  • Swelling of the vagina and vulva.
  • A discharge which smells like yeast.

What causes thrush?

Yeast will thrive in any warm, moist environment, thus the normal healthy vagina is the ideal breeding ground if changes in the PH level are made, and the main causes for thrush are:

Antibiotics – many women are known to develop thrush soon after beginning a course of antibiotics, the reason for this is thought to be that antibiotics kill the friendly bacteria living in the vagina. The other reason being, that if you are taking antibiotics for another infection then your body is already run down and more at risk of other infections.

Allergies – some women can be allergic to latex, latex is found in condoms, spermicides and in diaphragms, and while allergy symptoms may be very similar to those of thrush the treatment is different.

Diabetes – as diabetes increases the blood sugar levels and yeast which causes thrush thrives on sugar then women who have diabetes often suffer from reoccurring attacks of thrush.

Perfume, deodorants and washing – anything which changes the PH balance of the vagina can cause thrush and many perfume and deodorants that are used specifically for the vaginal area are perfumed. Nothing more is needed than unperformed soap and water to keep the vaginal area clean and healthy. However any hard scrubbing and excessive washing can all cause damage to the vagina and the vulva and should be avoided as they can lead to thrush developing.

What treatments are there for thrush?

The most type of treatment is the use of antifungal creams and pessaries, the creams will work on the outer area which is the vulva and will greatly help to relieve the symptoms such as itching while the pessaries are inserted deep into the vagina to deal with the infection on the lining of the vaginal walls.

The length of treatment needed will vary from as little as one day to six days, if you are sexually active then your partner should have treatment too as thrush is very infectious and you can pass the infection back and forth.

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  • Miss J

    Hi, I have severe pains in the vagina and on the vulva while having thrush, are there any ways of relieveing the pain?

    Many Thanks.

    • Dr. Peter

      Hi Miss J
      If you can attribute the pain to the thrush, then it is not just a matter of attending to the pain on its own. You need to treat the thrush first and if the pain persists, your gynecologist will be able to investigate further and identify the cause. The vulva often becomes inflamed due to thrush and anti-inflammatory drugs will offer temporary relief.

  • Samantha Williams

    I may add that an array of possible causes may trigger vaginal thrush, like regular use of oral contraceptives or antibiotics, and certain conditions like pregnancy, diabetes, or poorly functioning immune system. To obtain a diagnosis, a physician will normally conduct an examination of the patient’s genitals and take a swab from the affected area for lab examination.

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