So...What is Thrush?

Thrush:

Learn its causes, symptoms and how to treat candida
vaginal infection - Facts

 

Thrush is a very common infection that's caused by yeast called Candida albicans. Normally, the Candida organisms live harmlessly in your gut and in one in five women it also resides in the vagina. They usually coexist quite happily with other normal organisms in your body, and are kept in check by your immune system and also by the good bacteria (which you have probably heard about from adverts for pro-biotic drinks and supplements).

The pH levels in a healthy vagina also play a part in stopping the yeast from getting too frisky and causing a problem.

As with the rest of your body, though, it doesn't take much for the finely tuned systems to start getting a little bit out of balance. If the conditions in your vagina start to make it favourable for Candida to start multiplying, you can be sure that it will take advantage and start to overgrow as soon as the opportunity arises. That's why most women will probably experience at least one attack of thrush in their lifetime, and some women suffer from thrush on more than one occasion.

Don't worry, thrush is not a sexually transmitted disease – that is you don't have to be sexually active to get it. However, if you are sexually active, you can pass the infection between you and your partner when you're having sex.

What are the
symptoms of Thrush?

Although different women will experience the symptoms of thrush differently, and it's very possible that your own symptoms can change from one attack to another, there are certain things that you should look out for that can be a sign you're about to get an attack of the 'yeasties'.

 

1

The first and most obvious sign that you might be coming down with a thrush infection is discomfort 'down below'. You might feel a little bit itchy or sore around your labia and the entrance to your vagina. You might also feel a little swollen.

 

2

The next sign, which not all women will notice, especially at first, is a whitish discharge that is generally odourless. Some people say that it looks a little bit like cottage cheese.

 

3

Other symptoms you might get are an uncomfortable burning sensation when you pass urine, and pain or a burning sensation during sex.

 
 

 
 
Should I worry?

Usually, there is nothing to be concerned about if you're unlucky enough to get a dose of thrush. The general advice is that if you haven't had it before, and you think you might be experiencing your very first attack, you should go to your GP and get it checked out. The chances are it's just thrush and you'll be advised about your options for treatment.

This also means that if you get it again you'll be able to recognise the symptoms so won't need to trouble the doctor – there are several remedies available from the pharmacist or the healthcare aisle in the supermarket.

If you start suffering from regular, recurrent attacks of thrush, however,  you should ask your GP about being checked for diabetes, because people with diabetes do tend to be more prone to it.