It is estimated that around 75% of women experience a thrush yeast infection at some point in their adult lives. Thrush infections are extremely common and millions of women are affected every year.
But it is not just women who suffer from thrush .
Thrush infections are caused by a strain of yeast known as candida albicans. These yeast cells are found naturally in your digestive system, mouth, and vagina and even on your skin in small quantities.
Thrush infections develop when the yeast cells grow out of control. This happens when the normal balance of bacteria that keeps candida in check is upset or disturbed.
What Causes a Thrush Yeast Infection?
There are many reasons why your natural balance may be disturbed:
• Hormonal imbalance – pregnancy, contraception and HRT, puberty, menstrual cycle
• Regular use of antibiotics
• Immune deficiencies – HIV/AIDS, diabetes, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments
• Poor diet
What are Symptoms of Thrush Infections?
Thrush refers to yeast infection symptoms that are visible. It is worth noting though that candida albicans can affect the whole body and has a range of symptoms not automatically associated with yeast infections.
Symptoms of Thrush Yeast Infection in Women
• Redness and irritation of the labia
• Vaginal itching
• Burning sensation when passing water
• Thick vaginal discharge often resembling cottage cheese
Symptoms of Thrush Yeast Infection in Men
• Inflammation of the head of the penis
• Possible thick “cottage cheese like” discharge
• Possibly small red spots on the head of the penis
Some men do not show usual symptoms but still carry the thrush infection. It is possible to pass thrush from partner to partner during sex BUT it is just as possible to contract thrush and not be sexually active!
Symptoms of Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is usually associated with babies or people who wear dentures. It can affect all ages.
• Raised white, cream or yellow coloured spots on the tongue. There is generally no pain but if the spots are scraped they will bleed.
• There may be an uncomfortable burning sensation in the mouth and throat
Thrush yeast infections are normally considered mild and usual. However, thrush is only the visible signs of candida albicans. Many people suffer with recurring thrush infections without realising that this could be a sign of a more serious infection or illness.
People who suffer from recurring thrush yeast infections should consult their health care professional to confirm that thrush is the correct diagnosis. With visible signs of thrush this is easily done by the health care provider taking a swab or scrapping and having it analysed. Candida shows up easily under a microscope.