Vaginal thrush is a problem that the majority of woman will suffer with at least once in their life. Vaginal thrush is a yeast infection caused by a certain type of yeast called Candida albicans. Candida albicans are yeast that is always present in and around the vagina. This is usually kept at the right level by your immune system and the good, healthy bacteria of the vagina. However, a change in the environment around the vagina can cause the levels to change, this results in more yeast being produced. In some people, this vaginal yeast infection can keep returning, this can be more than four times a year and is classified as a recurrent infection.
Symptoms of Vaginal thrush
There is a number of different symptoms which can easily be confused with bacterial Vaginosis, these conditions are remarkably similar, but both require different treatment. Bacterial Vaginosis is caused by an imbalance in the vaginal bacteria, thrush is caused by an imbalance of the vaginal yeast.
Vaginal thrush symptoms can be seen in the vulva the vulva is made up of three parts, the outer part, clitoris and the lips surrounding the entrance of the vagina.
Some of the symptoms of vaginal thrush
- Soreness and or irritation
- pain or uncomfortable when having intercourse pain when passing water
- Vaginal discharge, it can change and become exceedingly thick or become more abundant and watery.
In addition to these symptoms some woman may suffer with vulvovaginal inflammation, the symptoms are usually as follows
- Redness of the vulva and vagina (erthema) swelling
- In some cases, the skin can crack (vaginal fissuring) this is usually only in serve cases a
- build up of fluid can happen known as oedema
Sores in the surrounding areas called satellite lesions, this is not usual and could indicate another sort of fungal infection. Being rare it may be advised to speak with the doctor as it could be possible herpes.
Types of vaginal Thrush
The vaginal yeast infection can be put in to two categories of complicated and uncomplicated thrush.
Complicated Thrush- this is where a woman has suffered with more than four episodes in the period of a year. Thrush is also thought to be in the complicated categories for the following reasons:
a woman has vulvovaginal inflammation, or a woman is pregnant
if a woman has a weakened immune system (immune deficiency), for example, AIDS If a woman has diabetes that are not well controlled
Uncomplicated Thrush- If a woman only has a single episode or less than four episodes a year and has mild to moderate symptoms.
Treatment for vaginal Thrush
Vaginal Thrush usually clears up with the use of anti fungal treatment it comes in different forms tablets, creams or pessaries. These can be bought from any reputable chemist without the need for a prescription from the doctors. Before using these products its necessary to fully read the instructions and take advise from the chemist, also complete the full course. Some anti fungal can effect oral contraception and the creams can damage condoms and diaphragms. For this reason, it is better avoid intercourse until the infection has completely cleared and the course is complete.
If the thrush falls into the complicated category (see above), it is better to see your doctor before getting any treatment from the chemist.
If your symptoms of vaginal thrush has not cleared in seven to fourteen days, seek medical attention from your GP.