Vaginal thrush, also known as yeast infection or Candida, can be an incredibly irritating, embarrassing and, at times, painful, complaint to deal with.
- Irritating, because that itch-scratch-itch cycle can drive you crazy,
- Embarrassing, because if you’re in public, it’s not always appropriate to scratch the itch, and
- Painful, because amongst other conditions, thrush can lead to bladder infections and sore, swollen and broken tissue.
Over the years, I must have tried a few dozen thrush treatments. I’ve used creams, jellies, pessaries, pills, herbal and holistic treatments, most of which gave some temporary relief, but only one of which gave any lasting results.
So, how do you get thrush, what are the symptoms and how can you treat it?
Causes of Vaginal Thrush
We all have the thrush bacteria and Candida Albicans (the yeast that causes thrush) present in our body. Under normal conditions, they hang out together, causing us no problems at all. However, if something should occur to create an imbalance which causes the level of yeast to rise, that’s when a thrush infection can occur.
There are many things which can cause this to happen, amongst them:
- The level of estrogen in the body being unusually high (e.g.; during pregnancy or menstruation)
- Using steroids or medication which contains steroids
- Having sexual contact with a partner who has the infection
- Diabetes – a high blood sugar level can bring on a bout of thrush
- The use of antibiotics
- Having a weakened immune system or being generally run down
- The use of an IUD (some say that IUD’s which contain copper more likely to cause thrush)
- The use of the contraceptive pill
Symptoms of Vaginal Thrush
The symptoms of vaginal thrush can literally keep you awake at night.
The maddening itch, which can drive you to utter distraction, is bad enough on its own. However, a really bad case of thrush can be made much worse if the inner and outer lips of the vulva become affected, resulting in sore, swollen and broken skin on the most sensitive of areas.
If this occurs, even the most simple and natural of bodily functions, e.g.; urinating, can cause extreme pain as the acid in the urine comes into contact with raw or broken skin.
It’s not unheard of for a person suffering from thrush to develop cystitis as well. If this occurs, a dull ache in the lower-back and an internal burning sensation when urinating are the tell-tale symptoms. These are sometimes accompanied by feelings of being shivery and weak.
Oftentimes, but not always, vaginal thrush is accompanied by a creamy white discharge, which if you’ve never had it before, can be quite alarming the first time you see it.
If you’ve ever suffered from thrush, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a condition which, as soon as it develops, the only thing on your mind is how to get rid of it.
For most people, the first port of call is the pharmacy, where numerous over-the-counter treatments can be purchased in pill, cream or pessary form. (Incidentally, applying natural yogurt to the sore areas can bring pretty immediate relief, but unfortunately, it’s only temporary).
If none of the above help, or the thrush recurs, a visit to the doctor for an examination and some prescribed medication may be the solution.
However, if conventional medicine isn’t your preference, you may wish to investigate an holistic thrush treatment. This will not only treat the symptoms, but work on establishing, treating and eliminating the root cause of the infection.
Personally, this is the treatment that has suited me best, although I have to say that it took some time to get to grips with. Having said that though, it is, without doubt, the only thrush treatment which (so far!) appears to have prevented any recurrences of infection, which in my mind, makes it well worth having persevered with.