What is thrush?
Thrush is a common yeast infection that can affect both women and men, caused by the naturally occurring fungus; Candida albicans. Clinical studies have shown that vaginal thrush in particular will affect three in four women at some point during their lives. Although thrush can be triggered by sexual intercourse, it isn't classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The two forms of thrush that we provide treatment for are vaginal thrush (affecting women) and male thrush.
Vaginal thrush (female candidiasis) is the most common form of this condition. Vaginal thrush can cause irritation, itching, creamy white discharge and swelling of the vagina. This uncomfortable infection isn't considered to be harmful, however, it can be recurrent. Vaginal thrush is normally detected after a routine smear test, as symptoms aren't always experienced. The primary cause of vaginal thrush is a yeast-like infection called Candida albicans.
Male thrush isn't as common as vaginal thrush, but it doesn't change the fact that men can experience thrush. The three types of thrush that can affect men are Candida skin infection, oral thrush and Candida balanitis (infection at the head of the penis). For men, thrush is most likely to occur at the head of the penis, potentially causing discharge, redness and irritation. Male thrush is primarily caused by the fungus Candida albicans and isn't considered to be harmful, but can be uncomfortable.
Thrush in babies and oral thrush
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. We currently don't offer any treatments for these types of thrush.
There are various triggers / circumstances that can increase your chances of developing thrush. 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 increase the likelihood of this condition occurring. Although it's not considered a sexually transmitted infection, the fungus can be passed on during unprotected sexual intercourse if one person has the infection. The causes of male thrush are mostly linked to HIV, chemotherapy, personal hygiene and chemotherapy.
Genital thrush symptoms vary between men and women even though the same Candida albicans fungus causes the infection. Please note that sometimes not all of these thrush symptoms are present.
Thrush symptoms in women:
- Pain during sex
- Stinging sensation when urinating
- Vaginal discharge with a lumpy white consistency
- Itching or tenderness at the entrance to the vaginal opening
- A strong odour
- Mild pain during sex
- Redness around the vulva or vagina
Thrush symptoms in men:
- 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
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.
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.
Whilst natural home remedies, such as cinnamon and a yoghurt remedy, can be used there isn't enough compelling evidence to prove that they are an effective method of treatment for thrush. Also, whilst pessaries can be a viable option for some women, they can be messy and inconvenient to use. It is recommended that women could use a pessary treatment alongside an antibiotic tablet or cream for the best results when treating vaginal thrush.
Located below are some methods that you can follow to successfully prevent thrush:
- Washing the genital area with water instead of perfumed soaps
- Wearing loose fitting clothes and avoid artificial fibres, such as nylon
- Avoiding latex condoms or lubricants that may 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
Thrush (vaginal and male) is a highly common yeast infection that has affected both women and men across the UK. By using an effective antibiotic treatment you can successfully treat this condition. The antibiotic treatments we have available to cure this yeast infection are Diflucan (antibiotic tablets) and Gyno-Daktarin (antibiotic cream). Both of these clinically proven treatments can treat and significantly alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of vaginal and male thrush. You can buy Diflucan 150mg tablets or Gyno-Daktarin 2% 78g cream at OnlineClinic after completing a quick, simple and confidential online consultation. This can be done for free with no obligation. To learn more about these treatments, visit our Diflucan and Gyno-Daktarin product pages.