From causes to treatment options, here are 12 things every woman (& man) should know about thrush

Thrush is something that most women will get in their lives, potentially more than once, and it can be a reoccurring thing. We all know thrush is itchy and frankly annoying, but if that’s all you know here’s everything else…

1.  It's caused by fungus

But not the fungus you think... it’s a yeast fungus called candida but don’t worry, it’s usually harmless. Candida loves warm, moist conditions. Your vagina can be the perfect breeding ground for thrush if the balance of your good bacteria that normally keep the fungus under control is disturbed.

2.  Everyone can have different symptoms

Most of the symptoms are common and can be any of the following:

• An itchy vagina

• Soreness around the entrance of your vagina (the vulva)

• Swelling of your vaginal lips (the labia)

• Thick discharge

• Pain when you pee

• Pain during sex

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms along with a fever, chills, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, you should see your GP straight away.

3.  Your discharge will change

With thrush comes a discharge that you shouldn’t normally see. Your discharge can turn yellow or stay white, but be quite a lot thicker than usual (usually a cottage cheese consistency) – so if you’re suffering from thrush and your knickers are getting in a proper mess, try wearing a panty liner until your discharge is back to normal.

4.  Your vagina may change too

Thrush can make your vagina lips quite swollen and red, especially if you’ve been itching – we know it’s hard but try not to. Thrush treatment creams can help with itching, but they won’t clear the infection (see the last point for how to do that). Take a look at some of our thrush products to help.

5.  It can be passed on

It isn’t a sexually transmitted disease, but thrush can be triggered and sometimes passed on through sex. 

6.  So, for that reason, you should avoid sex whilst you have thrush

You also want to help prevent it coming back and ease any discomfort. Need we say more?

7.  Men can also get thrush

Not just through having sex with someone who already has it (although it’s uncommon), but just as a woman’s vagina can make a nice home for candida (the fungus we spoke about earlier), so can a man’s penis. Other reasons men get it can be a weakened immune system or a constricted foreskin. 

8.  There's not just one reason you can get it

The main reason for getting thrush is because your balance of bacteria changes, but the following can also affect your bacteria balance:

• If you’re taking antibiotics

• Irritated skin

Weak immune system

• Menopause

• Pregnancy

• If you’ve got a UTI (urinary tract infection)

9.  It's more common than you think

Around 75 percent or three in four women will get thrush at least once, while some women can get it frequently. If you have reoccurring thrush you should see your GP.

10.  There are things you can do to help prevent it

Changing some things about your lifestyle can help prevent thrush, like avoiding deodorants and perfumed products in and around your vagina, always wiping from front to back and avoiding very hot baths.

11.  If it's your first time or if you get it more than twice in six months, see a doctor

This is just so you can get a definitive diagnosis and rule out anything else it could be. If you’re pregnant and you get thrush, you should also see your GP or midwife.

12.  You'll need medicine to get rid of it

This will come in either an oral capsule/tablet, pessary or internal cream. If you’re really itching down there, make sure you get a tablet that includes thrush treatment cream to help soothe. With medication, thrush should clear up within a week but if it doesn’t see your doctor.

Remember, thrush isn’t usually anything to worry about but if you are worried speak to your GP.