Vaginal Thrush: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Many women have suffered from vaginal thrush at one time or the other in their lifetime. Also known as candidiasis or monilia, thrush is the second most common cause of vaginal discharge.

Thrush is not due to poor hygiene nor is it a sexually transmissible infection (STI), but male partners can sometimes get redness and irritation after sex.

Thrush is a yeast infection, usually caused by a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans.  The vagina contains mucus and some harmless germs (bacteria) which help to defend the vagina from candida infection as well as other germs. These natural defenses may be altered or upset by certain situations like pregnancy or taking antibiotic medication which is more likely to cause thrush.

The conditions most liked by Candida are warm, moist, airless parts of the body. This is why the vagina is the most common site for candida infection. Thrush may be unpleasant and uncomfortable, however, it is usually treated with prescribed medication and pessaries.

But, for some women, vaginal thrush can be difficult to treat as it keeps coming back.

Causes of thrush

Although, sometimes, the cause of thrush cannot be identified but you may likely get a bout with thrush if:

  • You use of oral contraceptive.
  • You are pregnant.
  • Changes in menstrual cycle.
  • You have illnesses like diabetes, iron deficiency and weak immune system.
  • You have sex when you are not fully aroused. This can lead to vaginal dryness and tightness during sex, which can trigger thrush
  • You take antibiotics.
  • You frequently wear tight pants and underwears.
  • Your underwear is not properly dry.

Symptoms of vaginal thrush

  • Virginal discharge due to thrush does not usually smell and it is odourles. It may also be thick and creamy white or thin and watery
  • Itching, irritation, soreness, redness, discomfort, or pain around the entrance of the vagina (the vulva).
  • Some women may have pain or discomfort whilst having sex.
  • A stinging sensation when passing urine.

Sometimes symptoms are minor and clear up on their own.

How to treatment vaginal thrush

There are three different kinds of treatment for this infection which include:

Tablets– You can swallow these tablets and for some people it may be more convenient.

Anti-thrush pessaries – These are tablets that you can insert into the vagina using an applicator for six days.

Anti-thrush cream – You can rub this cream on the skin around the vagina to help relieve itchiness and soreness and also insert into the vagina using an applicator.

While some women are satisfied with just taking the tablets or using an anti-thrush pessaries, others combine both.

In addition to these treatments, to avoid recurring bouts of thrush you should include these hygiene tips to help relieve your symptoms.

  • Avoiding wearing tight-fitting clothing and synthetic The purpose is to prevent the vaginal area from being constantly warm, moist, and airless. Instead opt for loose cotton pants.
  • And never ever use anything harsh such as disinfectants even diluted, near your vagina.
  • Wash underwear with mild soap.
  • If you hang your underwear in the bathroom to dry, then, remove them before taking your bath to prevent them from being moist.
  • Try to spread underwear in a sunny or airy area to dry properly.
  • You can also iron your pants before you wear them to kill bacteria.
  • Avoiding using scented soaps, antiseptics and shower gels around the vaginal area as these may cause further irritation.
  • Wipe your bottom from front to back after using to the toilet. This will prevent the spread of Candida from the anus to the vagina.
  • Avoid using perfumed toilet papers and menstrual products.
  • It is advisable to wash with only water and unscented soap. And do not douche the vagina.
  • Reduce intake of antibiotic drugs as Candidaare yeasts and not bacteria, so, they will not be killed by antibiotics. However, if you are prone to recurring thrush and you are prescribed antibiotics, then, you should have some anti-thrush treatment ready to use at the first sign of thrush.

How to diagnosis vaginal thrush

You should visit your doctor to get examined or a laboratory to do a swap test to make sure  that discharge, irritation, soreness, stinging  sensation is due to thrush.

 

Photo: www.stuff.co.nz

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