You've Got What? Thrush
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Thrush is a very common vaginal infection, caused by an overgrowth of yeasts which normally live in the bowel and may be present in other parts of the body, such as the mouth, skin and vagina.
Thrush is caused by a yeast called Candida, most commonly Candida albicans. Other types of yeast are sometimes involved. Thrush can affect both women and men.
Vaginal thrush can be present with no symptoms. This can be quite normal and does not require treatment.
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 include:
Thrush is not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection (STI). However, Candida can sometimes be passed on during sex, and sexual activity can sometimes make thrush symptoms worse.
Symptoms of vaginal 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.
Diagnosis of thrush is usually made following examination of the affected area by a doctor. Sometimes the doctor will take a swab to send to the laboratory for testing to confirm a diagnosis of thrush.
(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.
Tablets, pessaries (dissolving tablets placed into the vagina) and cream purchased over-the-counter from your pharmacy often improve the condition. It is important to complete the full course of recommended treatment, even if you are having a period during this time.
Patients with frequently recurring thrush, or thrush that does not improve with simple treatment, should seek medical advice to make sure they do not have a medical condition such as diabetes. A longer course of treatment with oral tablets may be required.
Male sexual partners of women with thrush do not require treatment, except very occasionally when a woman has recurrent infections.
Men should apply the cream to their genital area, penis and under the foreskin, if uncircumcised.
There is no evidence that dietary changes or probiotics help prevent or treat thrush.
To help prevent thrush: