You've Got What?
How infectious diseases are spread and simple and practical advice for preventing the spread of infection in the home and community
Thrush is a very common vaginal infection, caused by an overgrowth of yeasts which live normally in the bowel and may be present in other parts of the body, such as the mouth, skin and vagina. The most common cause of thrush is Candida albicans, but other types of yeast sometimes are involved.
Candida is usually present in small numbers and does not cause symptoms. Sometimes overgrowth of Candida occurs and symptoms develop. Also, some women may be more sensitive than others to the presence of Candida and can develop symptoms even when only small numbers of yeast are present.
Circumstances that encourage the overgrowth of Candida albicans include:
Thrush is not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The yeasts which cause thrush may be present all the time. It is changes in the woman’s body which allow the condition to develop.
Symptoms of thrush in women include:
Other conditions, such as genital herpes or urinary tract infection may have similar symptoms, so it is important to have the diagnosis confirmed.
Thrush is diagnosed by clinical presentation and confirmed by microscopic examination and growth of yeast from a swab from the vagina.
(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
The yeasts which cause thrush may be present all the time. It is changes in the woman’s body which allow the condition to develop.
(time during which an infected person can infect others)
Person-to-person spread does not usually occur.
Effective treatments with vaginal creams and vaginal tablets are available.
Patients with frequently recurring thrush should seek medical advice to make sure they do not have a medical condition such as diabetes. Additional treatment with oral tablets may be required.
There is no evidence that dietary changes help prevent thrush.