Vaginal thrush is one of the most popular topics on NHS Choices website.
This common yeast infection affects around 75% (three-quarters) of women at some point. Up to half of these will have thrush more than once.
Thrush is a yeast infection, usually caused by a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans. The medical term for thrush is candidiasis.
Many women have Candida in the vagina without it causing any symptoms. Hormones in the vaginal secretions and the friendly vagina bacteria keep the fungus under control. Problems arise when the natural balance in the vagina is upset and Candida multiplies.
Those especially prone to yeast infections:
- are pregnant
- take antibiotics
- have diabetes
- have a weakened immune system
Typical symptoms of thrush include itching and soreness around the entrance to the vagina, pain during sex , a stinging sensation when urinating , vaginal discharge.
Thrush is usually treated anti-thrush pessaries, tablets or creams. Some women claim that applying plain bio-live yogurt to the vagina helps ease thrush symptoms. Although using yogurt won’t do you any harm, there’s no firm evidence that it will help to banish thrush.
To reduce your risk of yeast infections:
- wash your vaginal area with water and avoid perfumed soaps, shower gels, vaginal deodorants, or douches
- avoid latex condoms, spermicidal creams or lubricants if they irritate your genital area
- avoid tight-fitting underwear or tights
- wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting trousers and skirts
Although thrush is usually associated with women, thrush infections are relatively common in men as well. Male thrush is a very common type of condition, particularly candida balanitis – infection of the head (glans) of the penis – known as candida balanitis. It is estimated that 1 in 10 men who visit a sexual health clinic have balanitis.