Thrush is an infection that can affect both women and men. It occurs when there’s a buildup of yeast, which is a type of fungus that is naturally found in our bodies.
Yeast plays an important function in the human digestive system since it provides a healthy mix of bacteria, helping us to absorb nutrients.
However, too much yeast can cause discomfort and itchiness, particularly in moist, warm areas, such as the groin and armpits.
Vaginal thrush is particularly common, affecting around 75% of women. Women who are on medication or who have a weakened immune system are much more likely to experience a fungal infection.
Thrush is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD), although, in some rare cases, it can be triggered after having sexual intercourse. This can also increase existing symptoms.
As previously mentioned, fungal infections can affect both women and men; it occurs when there’s a buildup of a particular fungus called Candida albicans.
Antibiotics and alcohol can contribute towards a buildup of Candida, but this overgrowth commonly occurs in women during pregnancy or when their oestrogen levels are higher.
The fungus is usually harmless, and a woman can catch thrush and experience no symptoms.
However, there are some signs to look out for that could indicate you need treatment for thrush or possibly medical attention.
The most common symptoms that women can experience with thrush include:
As previously mentioned, thrush can affect areas that are prone to dampness, such as the armpits, groin, and between the fingers. If fungus builds up in these parts, a red, itchy and sore rash can form, which will scale over and secrete a white or yellow discharge.
Thrush can go away on its own, sometimes within just a few days; however, if the infection doesn’t clear, then there are various treatments available to relieve symptoms of thrush and, ultimately, get rid of the infection.
Usually, thrush can be treated with antifungal medicine. This can come in the form of a gel, cream, capsule, liquid, or an injection. For vaginal thrush, a pessary can also be used to treat the infection, which is a soft tablet that is inserted into the vagina.
Antifungal medicines work by preventing the fungus from multiplying or killing fungus completely.
Canesten products provide some of the best thrush treatment for women. Below are some treatments that can treat thrush:
Medicine such as Canesten Oral Capsules can be taken. The box contains one capsule (150mg of Fluconazole), which is an easy treatment for yeast infections. Any itchiness should begin to disappear within a couple of days.
For internal thrush, an oral tablet or pessary can be an effective treatment. For example, Canesten Thrush Pessary (500mg of Clotrimazole) should reduce symptoms of thrush within three days; they should have completely disappeared within seven.
For external thrush, a cream can be applied to soothe symptoms, such as itching or irritation. For example, Canesten Thrush External Cream (400mg of Clotrimazole) can take action on thrush within seven days; however, for effective treatment, the cream should be used for at least two weeks.
For women who have previously had thrush and want to treat both internal and external thrush at the same time, there is the Canesten Thrush Combi Soft Gel Pessary and External Cream The active ingredient in both products is Clotrimazole. This treatment should not be used if thrush has returned within six months.
It is worth noting that thrush can return; however, if thrush doesn’t clear after treatment, then you should seek further medical attention as it could be something more serious than a fungal infection.
For any other treatments or testing kits for females, such as a fertility profile kit or a sexual health screening kit, see The Travel Health Clinic’s section on women’s health.