All About Vaginal Thrush
Vaginal thrush refers to vaginal infection caused by a family or yeast fungus called Candida species.
A small number of the fungi thrive around the vaginal area without causing any problems, and is kept under control by the vaginal mucus hormones and the presence of good bacteria.
Risk factors for vaginal thrush
Any condition that may change the hormonal balance, immune system or the good bacteria count which favours the growth of the yeast leads to an infection.
These factors include:
- Medications (e.g. antibiotics, cancer medication, high dose steroids)
- Health conditions (e.g. diabetes, thyroid conditions)
- Low immune system (e.g. HIV patients)
Symptoms of vaginal thrush
Common symptoms include itchiness, redness and having a creamy white discharge in the vaginal area. The discharge is either thick or creamy but without any odour.
Sometimes, the condition may lead to pain or soreness, especially after urination or during sexual intercourse.
Managing vaginal thrush
In most cases, pharmacy-only pessaries (a medical device inserted into the vagina) containing antifungal ingredients (e.g. clotrimazole) are effective in treating vaginal thrush.
Creams containing a numbing agent (e.g. lidocaine) may relieve external itching.
Do note that some topical inserts or applications may damage latex condoms or diaphragms, thus affecting their use as contraceptives.
How to prevent vaginal thrush
You can easily prevent vaginal thrush by following these tips.
- Avoid tight-fitting pants or undergarments
- Avoid scented products that are used around the vaginal area (e.g. soap, shower gel, sanitary pads)
When to consult a doctor
You should see a doctor if:
- You are pregnant
- The discharge turns yellowish or has a foul odour
- You have abdominal vaginal bleeding
- There is no improvement after taking medications from pharmacies