Vaginal Thrush (Female Candidiasis)

Thrush is one of the commonest of all ‘female infections’.

Thrush is a yeast infection caused by the Candida species of fungus. Thrush is also known as candida or candidosis. It happens when a fungus called candida albicans grows too much

It’s impossible to say precisely how common it is, since it’s not only treated in GUM clinics but also in GPs’ surgeries and Family Planning clinics.

Furthermore, huge numbers of women simply treat it themselves, since anti-thrush treatment is available without prescription in every pharmacy in Britain. At a conservative estimate, there must be at least half a million thrush infections per year in Britain.

What is Candida/Vaginal Thrush?

Candida is a fungal infection. It loves warm, moist conditions, which is why it flourishes in women’s vaginas and also in babies’ mouths, particularly in the newborn.

Thrush isn’t a sexually transmitted infection (STI) because many people already have a small amount of it in their bodies. It is more common in men who are not sexually active. Although the infection can be passed on through sex.

Thrush in women develops around the vagina and can be very sore. It develops in the same way as male thrush

The main symptom of male thrush is balanitis which means inflammation of the penis. The head of your penis can be very itchy, red and sore. You may have pain when passing urine and it can be difficult to pull back the foreskin.

Small red spots are also noticeable on the head of the penis and a discharge from the penis is usually present. A cheese-like material called smegma that smells yeasty sometimes collects under the foreskin.

Thrush can cause the foreskin to swell and crack in some men. This is probably caused by an allergy to the yeast. The fungus has already multiplied by the time you notice any symptoms.
Thrush in women makes the vaginal area very sore with little red spots present. A yellowish discharge like substance can also be seen.

Treatment for Vaginal Thrush 

Thrush can be treated with over the counter anti-fungal creams or a single dose pill. Your GP may suggest using a steroid cream as well as the anti-fungal medication to reduce the symptoms of the infection. If there is infection in the head of the penis then a steroid cream should not be used by itself because steroids can make the infection worse.

Thrush in women can be treated with antifungal cream and oral medication. It usually clears up within a few days of this treatment starting.