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Vaginal Thrush

Thrush may be a regular nuisance for some women, while others never experience this infection. If you are taking antibiotics, are pregnant, going through menopause or are on the contraceptive pill you are more susceptible to this infection. But it can easily affect any woman at any stage in their life – many find it unnecessarily embarrassing.

Vaginal thrush (candida infection) is caused by an overgrowth of yeast called Candida albicans. Candida albicans lives quite harmlessly in our bodies until something upsets the body’s natural pH balance. This causes Candida albicans to multiply and symptoms of thrush to appear.

Women, who are HIV-positive, have diabetes or other immuno-compromising conditions, are more likely to experience infections. Some women also get vaginal thrush just before or just after their periods.  Antibiotics can cause vaginal thrush, while tight-fitting pants or underwear made of synthetic fabric, heavily perfumed vaginal deodorants, bubble baths or certain soaps, can also aggravate your body’s normal flora and cause thrush.

Thrush infections can occur in many different sites but vaginal thrush is the most common.  Vaginal discharge changes into a thick white consistency, like cottage cheese.  Other symptoms may include itching, a burning sensation when urinating, soreness around the vagina, or pain during sexual intercourse. These signs all indicate that you may have a vaginal thrush infection.  Your first instinct maybe to scratch, but this will only make the symptoms worse.

However, help is at hand. Community pharmacists are well equipped to diagnose and provide advice on treatment for  vaginal thrush.  They stock a variety of treatments ranging from antifungal vaginal creams to oral medication.  Treatment will vary depending on the person. Ask your pharmacist about the best options for you.

Thrush can be prevented by ensuring your body is in peak condition. Try to steer clear of stress and don’t let yourself get run down. You can also:

  • avoid deodorised panty shields, bath products etc.
  • wear loose underwear and avoid tight clothing.
  • after urinating wipe from the front to the back.

If you are experiencing your first vaginal thrush infection you need to see your doctor. Symptoms such as green discharge, pain in your stomach or an unpleasant smell, can indicate something more serious and you should see your doctor as soon as possible.  

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