Vaginal thrush is an infection that occurs due to the overgrowth of Candida albicans yeast found in the genital area. The yeast lives naturally and in small numbers in the vagina and bowel. It is usually harmless; however, the symptoms may develop if the yeast numbers increase.
Vaginal thrush is not a sexually transmissible infection but it may take place due to:
Signs of STDs include:
- Antibiotic use.
- Menstrual cycle changes.
- Oral contraceptive use.
- General illnesses like immune system disorders and iron deficiency.
- Vulval skin conditions like eczema.
Symptoms of vaginal thrush:
- Vaginal discomfort such as burning or itching.
- Thick or white discharge with yeasty smell and ‘cottage cheese’ appearance.
- Swelling or redness of vulva or vagina.
- Burning or stinging at the time of urine or sex.
- Splits in your genital skin.
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Diagnosis of vaginal thrush:
Your GPgp will:
- Take a complete history of your signs and symptoms.
- Examine the genitals.
- Take a swab from your affected area.
Treatment for vaginal thrush:
- Vaginal pessaries or antifungal creams - They are applied inside the vagina by using a special applicator and can be used from one to six days as per the instructions of your doctor. You may have to undergo another course of treatment at times, however, repeated topical treatments may cause skin irritation.
- Oral tablets - Also known as fluconazole, these have been designed to be swallowed. The treatment is costly when compared to other options and is not recommended for pregnant women. If you are pregnant or taking other medications, it is advised to consult with the doctor before taking fluconazole.
Prevention of vaginal thrush:
- Wipe the bottom from front to back after you go to the toilet. This prevents spreading Candida albicans f rom the anus to your vagina.
- Do not use soap for washing the genital area. There are intimate washes available that help to keep the area clean and tidy.
- Avoid using douches, perfumed sprays or antiseptics in your genital area.
- Do not use menstrual products and perfumed toilet papers.
- Avoid wearing synthetic underwear and tight-fitting pants,
- Change the washing detergent for clothes and do not go for fabric softeners.
Though vaginal thrush is uncomfortable and unpleasant, it can be treated by taking over-the-counter medication from your GP. However, vaginal thrush can be difficult to get treated completely and may occur again for some women.