Thrush: causes and cures
Despite the fact that nearly every woman has experienced the irritation and discomfort of vaginal thrush at some stage in their lives, it remains a scarcely discussed topic. That can make recognising, treating and preventing it a difficult task. So, women of Australia, we’ve decided it’s time to get frank about thrush! Here’s what you need to know…
Thrush is actually relatively easy to avoid if you know the triggers. Here are the most common thrush causes to steer clear of:
-Wearing tight, constrictive pants or stockings
-High intake of sugar
-High intake of alcohol
-Low immune system/illness
Avoid it & recognise it
Wear breathable cotton underwear and reduce your intake of alcohol and sugar immediately if you start to notice any of the following signs that may indicate you have a thrush infection:
-Abnormal discharge which typically has a white, cottage cheese appearance
-Soreness or burning of the vagina during sex
-Redness and general irritation
It is essential you seek medical treatment if you develop these symptoms and are pregnant or breastfeeding or if this is the third time you have experienced thrush in less than 12 months, as thrush in these situations can often indicate an underlying problem. Also if you notice a change in the colour or smell of your discharge or you start experiencing abdominal cramping you should see your GP immediately as these are not signs of thrush.
Thrush is caused when the body produces an overgrowth of yeast (usually caused as a direct result of one of the above mentioned causes) – and yeast can be reduced to a healthy, normal level in a number of ways. The first way is through diet: you can reduce diet triggers such as sugar and alcohol and increase your intake of good bacteria or probiotics, which are commonly found in cultured yoghurts or in probiotic supplements and products such as Yakhult drinks (available in the fridge section of your supermarket).
Many women also find an at-home remedy of cultured (probiotic) yoghurt applied directly to the vagina once an evening before bed can be highly effective. There are also a number of over-the-counter topical creams and capsule/oral treatments available from your chemist. Canesten cream is one of the most popular and effective products on the market and you don’t require a prescription to purchase it, simply ask your chemist for a treatment pack (you can even buy it online!).
If symptoms persist
If you’ve tried an at-home or over-the-counter remedy and your symptoms have not started to improve within 3-5 days it is essential you see your GP; you may require a more aggressive form of treatment such as a course of antibiotics.
The most important thing is not to go on untreated. No matter how embarrassing you may think the issue is, you can be guaranteed, your doctor has seen hundreds of women in your situation, so bite the bullet and book an appointment.