A very uncomfortable condition if not downright painful at times for many women, vaginal thrush (Candidaisis) can be treated with many products that are readily available but there are also exists a number of myths or false remedies too, it is estimated that three out of four women will suffer from vaginal thrush at some point in their lives so let’s begin with the facts.
What is Thrush?
Thrush is simply a yeast germ (Candida) that has been allowed to multiply unchecked and develop into the condition known as thrush. The candida is always present on and in our bodies and generally it is kept in check by other bacteria. The usual places are inside our guts, on and inside the genital areas, under the armpits, anywhere where it is warm and moist. Generally it is kept in check by other friendly bacteria but if the balance is upset and the candida can multiply without restriction then thrush develops and starts to irritate the area infected.
The Symptoms of Vaginal Thrush.
Usually the most common symptom is the intense itching accompanied with the raw soreness and burning sensation. For many a discharge is usually quite common but it isn’t always present the discharge is normally a creamy white texture usually quite thick but can also be thin and watery. Also urination can be quite a painful experience as can sexual intercourse.
Surprisingly there is no known actual causes for thrush to develop but the triggers that can set it off are well understood.
- A weak immune system,
- Taking antibiotics,
- Being pregnant,
- Periods (menstruation),
- Diabetes that is poorly controlled,
- Sexual Intercourse,
- Taking steroid treatment, particularly long term,
- Taking birth control pills.
All these triggers have an effect on the friendly bacteria which keep the Candida in check, mainly in that it lessens their numbers and therefore no longer able to keep the candida under control.
Prevention of Vaginal Thrush.
There are a number of ways to try and prevent thrush from occurring in the first place.
- Wear loose fitting underwear as well as loose trousers, jeans etc,
- Do not use bubble baths, perfumed soap, or vaginal deodorants,
- Do not over wash the vagina area, being too hygienic can eliminate helpful bacteria,
- Wipe sensibly after going to the toilet,
Unfortunately for some women it doesn’t matter what measures they take, thrush will still occur and can do repeatedly.
Largely in the form of tablets which mainly include the anti-fungal fluconazole or itraconazole ingredients. Other forms of treatments are pessaries and creams. Generally these treatments are successful and the symptoms clear up in three to seven days. All of these treatments are available over the counter without the need for a prescription but for pregnant women tablets and other forms of medication may not be prescribed. For approximately 1 in 5 women these treatments do not work and medical consultation will be needed and for a number of women thrush will make a reappearance, for sufferers that have thrush four times a year or more this is known as complicated thrush and is difficult to treat.
The Myths Surrounding Thrush
There are a large number of rumours and myths surrounding the topic of thrush, some of them are very well known and still believed to be fact but they lack scientific evidence to back up the claim. Below are the more common myths.
There is always a discharge if you have vaginal thrush.
Not true, most sufferers do not have a discharge; if they do it is often very light.
Douching the vagina can prevent thrush.
Absolutely not; this is the practice of squirting soapy water into the vagina in the belief it will keep the area clean. The vagina is self-cleaning and does not need to be douched and will actually make the occurrence of thrush more likely as the good bacteria will be removed and the acidity level will be affected which in turn can damage the vaginal wall lining.
A Yeast Free Diet will prevent thrush.
Completely false; there are no scientific claims that avoiding yeast in one’s diet will stop thrush appearing. There are many yeast free diet products that are available on the Internet and some claim it has worked but it is difficult to find absolute proof. The theory that avoiding yeast in a diet will stem yeast overgrowth is fundamentally flawed as the yeast ingredient in food is totally different to the fungal yeast germ bacteria (Candida).
Thrush is quite a minor health condition and is not considered dangerous.
Thrush in itself is not a dangerous infection however it can be the cause of a multitude of other illnesses such as headaches, fatigue, pain when urinating, lack of energy, joint pains and more. However there is a very dangerous condition when Candida gets into the bloodstream, this is life threatening and has to treated urgently.
Only women can get thrush.
No, men can suffer from thrush too; the condition is called Candida Balanitis and this affects the genital areas and as in women, it can be very sore and painful. The number one cause is being unhygienic in the genital area but other causes are antibiotics, diabetes and allergies maybe to certain soaps or detergents.
Live or Natural Yoghurt is a valid thrush treatment.
No scientific evidence exists to support this theory. A very common notion is that yoghurt that contains the lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria can boost the numbers of friendly bacteria thus crowding out the naughty Candida germ. If this was the case then there would be hardly any other thrush treatments needed and the condition would not be so prevalent as it is today.