Genital thrush is a common infection that can affect both men and women. It can cause swelling of the vagina, a lumpy white discharge and itching in women, while men may notice swelling or red skin around the head of the penis, soreness of the head of the penis and a thick lumpy discharge. It's not normally serious but can be uncomfortable and could lead to potential complications, although this is mostly the case with men.
In many men and women thrush goes away on its own, while other people may require treatment to help treat the fungus that causes thrush symptoms. Women can choose between Diflucan and Gyno-Daktarin, which are both clinically proven and available from OnlineClinic. Simply complete the online consultation during the ordering process so that our doctor can ensure that these products are safe for you to use.
What is it?
Thrush doesn't just affect the vagina or penis; it can also affect the mouth in the form of oral thrush. Babies can also develop an oral version of thrush. It can develop due to an over-production of the Candida albicans bacteria into the genital and oral environment. This fungus normally occurs naturally in the body, and is kept under control by the body's immune system. However, if your body's natural defences can't fend off the bacteria anymore, an infection could develop.
What are the main thrush symptoms?
Genital thrush symptoms vary between men and women even though the infection is caused by the same Candida albicans fungus. Please note that sometimes not all of these thrush symptoms may be present.
Thrush symptoms in women:
Thrush symptoms in men:
- Pain during sex
- Stinging sensation when urinating
- Vaginal discharge with a lumpy white consistency
- Itching or tenderness at the entrance to the vaginal opening
- Pain during sex
- Swelling of the head of the penis
- Lumpy discharge under the foreskin
- Itchiness of the head of the penis
- Unpleasant odour
- Difficulty pulling back the foreskin
- Pain when urinating
What causes thrush symptoms?
There are various things that could increase your chances of developing the condition; this could include pregnancy (women), tight clothing, synthetic underwear, chemotherapy, uncontrolled diabetes, using perfumed bubble baths, conditions that affect your immune system or deodorants. Stress and lack of aerobic exercise could also make an infection more likely.
Although it's not considered a sexually transmitted infection, the fungus can be passed on during sexual intercourse if one person has the infection.
Who is it most likely to affect?
It's most common in women, but thrush affects around 1 in 10 men. It's more likely that thrush will develop in those people that have a weakened immune system, pregnant women, people with diabetes or who are taking antibiotics.
Can it be prevented?
Women can avoid thrush by identifying the specific factors that make it more likely that the infection will develop. These factors may include washing the genital area with water instead of perfumed soaps, wearing loose fitting clothes and avoiding condoms or lubricants that could be a trigger. Men should also try and wear loose fitting clothes to avoid moisture build up under the foreskin and wash their penis regularly without the use of perfumed body washes. It might be a good idea for both men and women to avoid sex until the infection has completely cleared up.
What treatments are available?
It's a good idea to visit your doctor if you think that you may have thrush in order to get a clear diagnosis and to eliminate any other factors that may be causing the symptoms. Both men and women may then be recommended an anti-fungal treatment to help break up the Candida fungus.
It's generally recommended that men go to their doctor each time they have symptoms, however women may be able to go to their pharmacy directly to request treatment, if they've been diagnosed with the condition by a doctor before.
Men will normally be given a topical treatment, whereas the treatment for women will involve the use of a pessary or oral tablet in combination with an external thrush cream. These treatments may be available over-the-counter for both men and women, but if a more targeted treatment is required, prescription medication may be recommended.