What is it?
Thrush is a yeast infection that normally affects women and appears in the vagina. There are other kinds of thrush that can affect the throat, but these are less common.
Are there any other names for it?
Thrush is also called candidiasis.
Is it common?
Yes, lots of women have thrush at some time in their life.
What causes it?
It is caused by a yeast called candida, which usually lives harmlessly in the body, but can multiply to cause an infection. It is more common during pregnancy and in people with diabetes. It is not an STI.
What are the symptoms?
Thrush might cause itching, soreness and swelling around the vagina, or a thick white discharge. You may also feel discomfort when passing urine or during sex. If a man has sex with a woman with thrush, this may cause some skin irritation on the man’s penis.
Where can I be treated?
If you think you have thrush, or are worried about any infection, you can get treatment from your family doctor or at a Integrated Sexual Health Clinic (formerly Genito-urinary GUM).
How is thrush treated?
Thrush can be treated by tablets (either put directly into your vagina (pessaries) or taken by mouth) and using a soothing cream around the genital area. There are also certain natural bacteria that can help soothe the infection, and these are found in live natural yoghurt. If you would like to try this, make sure you have live natural yoghurt (sometimes called “Bio” yoghurt), dip a tampon into it and put it into the vagina.
Will it come back?
Some women have repeated bouts of thrush. It is not entirely clear why this is, and it is often different for different women, but there are things you can do to help prevent thrush coming on:
- Avoid wearing nylon underwear or tight jeans (this may help the yeast develop in a moist, warm environment)
- After going to the toilet, always wipe from front to back to avoid getting germs into the Vagina.
- Some women can get thrush after taking antibiotics. If this is the case, you can ask your doctor for treatment for thrush at the same time.
- Avoid using vaginal deodorants, perfumed soaps, douches and disinfectants.
If you think you are experiencing recurrent thrush, it is worthwhile making an appointment on 0300 303 0251 (Line open Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.) with the Integrated Sexual Health Clinic (formerly Genito-urinary GUM) to discuss this with the doctor.
Does my partner need to be treated?
Having sex does not pass on thrush, so there should be no need for your partner to be treated. Sometimes some yeast may get caught in the skin of a man’s penis and cause some itching, but this can be cleared up by using a cream.
How to stay sexy and healthy
Thrush is not something you can catch from your partner. However, there are infections that are passed from one person to another during sex and these are called sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). Having safer sex is the best way to protect yourself and your partner from STI’s.
NHS Health Scotland have produced a leaflet on Vaginal Health which gives more information on Thrush and this is available in several different languages. To access the leaflet go to: http://www.healthscotland.com/documents/3419.aspx