Thrush is a common yeast infection that affects both men and women. In women, the infection can cause redness, itching or soreness of the vagina and vulva, as well as pain during sex and a vaginal discharge. Although it can be passed on through sexual intercourse, thrush is not a sexually transmitted disease.
It’s essentially a harmless infection, although it can be uncomfortable, so you’ll find effective results in our range of treatments.
What is Thrush?
Thrush is a yeast infection that occurs when there’s an imbalance of the bacteria that live in the genital area of both men and women. Although it does affect men, the infection is much more popular among women, since the vagina is a better breeding ground for the organism that causes it than the penis is.
The disease can be transferred through sex but it’s not classed as a sexually transmitted infection because the yeast that causes it is always in your body, and is not acquired from one person to another.
Symptoms of thrush in women include itching and soreness of the vagina and vulva, as well as redness. It can also cause a vaginal discharge that is usually white in colour, as well as pain during sex or when passing urine.
What causes Thrush?
The cause of Thrush is a fungus called ‘candida albicans’. These organisms are always present in many areas of our bodies but sometimes, in moist, warm areas (like the mouth or genitals), they can grow much faster than usual. If your body’s immune system fails to keep it in check, then the overgrowth of the yeast is what’s known as Thrush.
In women, genital thrush is highly common and is estimated to affect about 75% of women at some point in their lifetime. There can be many causes, but it’s largely to do with the chemical and hormonal balance of your body. Using antibiotics or taking the contraceptive pill both interfere with this, so they can be leading causes of thrush, as can being pregnant. You can also be more susceptible if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, because the infection is to do with your body’s immune system fighting fungus growth.
Thrush can happen as a result of some lifestyle aspects. Wearing tight clothing, using heavily perfumed body lotions or soaps, or choosing synthetic fibre underwear can all contribute to developing thrush, so it’s important to take good care of your hygiene and be aware of ventilation in order to avoid the common infection. Because the candida yeast needs sugar to be able to multiply, a diet high in carbs and sugar can also make you more likely to get thrush, as can anything that could mess with the delicate chemical and hormonal balance of your vagina (such as certain lubricants and condoms).
Although the infection can be passed on from partners through sex, having sexual intercourse with someone who has thrush is not guaranteed to pass it on.
How can I treat Thrush?
Treatment for this common infection is simple and quick, and there are a couple of different options. The first option is to use a topical antifungal cream; a cream that is applied to the infected area (in this case, the skin around the vagina), usually from one to six days, depending on the instructions. You could also opt for a vaginal pessary, which is inserted into the vagina to target the infection at the source. These methods target the overgrowth of the yeast and help to restore the natural balance of your body, effectively clearing the symptoms of Thrush.
Another option is to use an oral medication, treating the infection with a tablet rather than one of the localised options. This works in the same way (targeting the fungus causing the Thrush) but is often favoured because it’s more practical and usually only requires a single dose. Both of these options are available to purchase on UK Meds, with an easy and trustworthy process.
If you’ve had sex with a partner while having Thrush, it is not necessary to treat them as well unless they are experiencing symptoms.
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