What is thrush?
Vaginal thrush is a common yeast infection that affects most women at some stage. Common symptoms include pain, itching and vaginal discharge.
Vaginal thrush is caused by an overgrowth of, or an allergic reaction to, a yeast called Candida albicans. It is normal to have Candida in your vagina and most of the time it does not cause any problems. However, sometimes certain factors disrupt the natural balance, causing the Candida to multiply.
Vaginal thrush usually clears up within a week or two of treatment with anti-fungal medication. For some women, vaginal thrush is more difficult to treat and tends to occur quite frequently, despite treatment. You should discuss this with a health professional.
What are the symptoms of thrush?
Seeing a health professional is the only way to know for sure if you have vaginal thrush. The signs and symptoms of vaginal thrush are a lot like symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and bacterial vaginosis. If left untreated, these conditions can increase your risk of getting other STIs and can lead to problems getting pregnant.
Are some women more at risk of vaginal thrush?
Some women appear to be more prone to thrush than others. Vaginal thrush can affect women and girls of all ages, but it is rare before puberty or after menopause. Your risk of getting vaginal thrush increases if you:
How do you treat vaginal thrush?
Mild thrush can be treated with a short course of anti-fungal medication. Symptoms should clear up within a week or so. You may need a longer course of treatment if your thrush is difficult to treat or keeps coming back.
Anti-fungal treatments come in the form of:
Can you have sex when you have thrush?
You can still have sex when you have vaginal thrush. However, it can be uncomfortable and you may experience a burning sensation during or after sex. Use plenty of lubricant to protect your skin.
The treatment for thrush can weaken condoms, so apply the treatments after you have had sex if you are using condoms, or use alternative forms of contraception.
It is possible to pass thrush to your partner during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Can you prevent getting thrush?
The best way to prevent thrush is to identify what triggers it. If you get recurrent thrush and are unsure what is causing it, discuss your symptoms with a health professional. They can investigate the underlying causes and suggest ways you can manage it.
Some of the following suggestions may be helpful: