Let’s talk about vaginal thrush! For many women, this is a very common annoyance. In fact, up to three quarters of all women will have it at least once during their lives.
To that end, it’s important to go over the basics and what you can do to treat it.
What Exactly is Vaginal Thrush?
In scientific terms, thrush is an infection caused by a fungal yeast called Candida spp. Our bodies are host to entire civilizations-worth of bacteria and germs. Many of these are harmless or even beneficial to our health. In the case of thrush though, it’s not exactly helpful.
You see, fungi are huge fans of warm, wet places. What better spot for fungi to call home than a vagina? Most of the time, this isn’t really an issue. Both your healthy bacteria and yeast form a healthy, peaceful ecology. The problem comes when the delicate balance of this ecosystem is upset. When Candida spp. numbers multiply, they can infect the vagina and cause irritation.
Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Thrush
Most of the time, the ecosystem mentioned above gets disrupted without any particular reason. As we mentioned, most women will have to deal with at least one bout of thrush.
That said, there are certain factors that increase your chances of infection. For example, your vagina’s natural balance is often upset during circumstances like these:
- During pregnancy
- If you are diabetic
- While taking antibiotics
Put in broader terms: you are potentially at-risk any time your immune system is not working normally. Keeping that in mind, here are the symptoms that all women should keep an eye out for:
- itching, soreness and general irritation of the vulva
- noticeable redness of the vagina and vulva
- abnormal, often white, vaginal discharge
- pain during sexual intercourse or urination
It’s happening again! Recurring Vaginal Thrush
Thrush isn’t always a one-and-done rarity. In truth, some women may even develop vaginal thrush four or more times each year. The reasons for this have never been entirely clear. Sadly, some women are simply more prone to an infection. Like we always say, testing is the best way to stay safe and sexy!
Treatment and Prevention
Fortunately, thrush is quite curable. In most cases, a short course of anti-fungal medicine should clear things up. These meds are typically delivered in a few forms:
- pills taken orally
- tablets inserted into your vagina (pessaries)
Beyond these treatments, there are a number of things you can do to help ease the irritation and symptoms of thrush.
- Avoid any form of scented soaps, shower gels and douches. These can cause further irritation. Instead, wash your vaginal area using plain soap and water, or water alone.
- If possible, try to avoid using latex condoms and spermicidal lubricants during sex. Non-allergenic condoms are a better choice.
- Wear looser clothing and cotton underwear. Having less chafing and direct contact with your clothes can help limit irritation.
You can care for your wellbeing by keeping an eye on how your body is feeling. Best yet, knowing that symptoms aren’t always present, being tested regularly can help make sure that no underlying infections are present.