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How long does it take to get rid of thrush?

9th October 2019

Thrush is the name for a common yeast infection that can affect the mouth, tongue or genitals. Oral thrush causes white patches on the tongue and in the mouth, while genital thrush causes a thick, white discharge from the penis or vagina, and itching or burning around the genitals.

Oral thrush is most common babies, older adults and those who take certain medications (like inhalers). Genital thrush can affect both men and women of all ages but is much more common in women.

What causes thrush?

Thrush is a yeast infection that appears when you develop an overgrowth of the Candida yeast. This yeast is always present in the body and usually causes no harm. However, in moist, warm settings (like the mouth and genitals), this yeast can grow and multiply at a faster rate than the body can keep them in control.

A number of things can trigger a yeast infection including certain medications (like antibiotics), wearing tight underwear or having sex. But although sex can trigger thrush, it is not considered a sexually transmitted infection because the organism causing the infection is already present in the body; it is not passed from one person to another. Having sex with someone who has a yeast infection does also not mean you will get one.

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How long does it take to get rid of thrush?

The length of time that a yeast infection lasts for is entirely dependent on how severe it is and what treatment is used. It could clear up in as little as 3 days but usually takes one to two weeks.

If the infection is very mild then it’s possible that you may not need treatment at all, and it may clear up in as few as 3 days. Most cases of thrush though will require treatment (or rather, most people prefer to seek treatment to clear the infection faster), and it takes one to two weeks to clear.

Treatment options for thrush include a number of different OTC (over the counter) and prescription options, which work to clear the yeast infection and also to calm the symptoms.

In order to clear the infection, you need to get the number of Candida yeast in control, which can be done with anti-fungal medication, such as Fluconazole. Fluconazole is a capsule that is taken orally as a single dose, and begins working to stop the growth of the yeast.

When treating thrush, you will also want to treat the symptoms (as they can be uncomfortable). This can be done with external creams or internal pessaries (small capsules designed to be inserted into the vagina). Pessaries are available for women only; men with thrush (which is less common), will need to use external creams.

Creams and pessaries are designed to calm the pain and itching associated with thrush and soothe the genitals while the infection clears. Popular options include Gyno-Daktarin, Diflucan and Canesten.