Thrush is a common condition which most women will suffer from at some point. It is caused by overproduction of yeast in the body, which results in candida being imbalanced and thrush symptoms appearing. The side effects of this are itching and burning sensation in the vagina which can be very uncomfortable. Some people also suffer from a white or watery vaginal discharge, which can be unpleasant and cause further irritation.
People with a weaker immune system are also susceptible to yeast infections and they can occur in other areas of the body including penis, urinary bladder, pharynx and gastrointestinal tract. It has been seen in babies and often appears in their mouth, in these situations it is important that both mother and child are treated at the same time.
In children the symptoms rarely last more than a week or so. It is more uncommon for men to get thrush but symptoms include red and patchy sores on the penis, itching and burning sensation.
Treating the Symptoms
Sometimes the symptoms will disappear on their own, particularly if you eliminate high yeast foods from your diet for a few days. Wearing loose clothing and natural fibres such as cotton will also help to improve the inflammation and discomfort caused by thrush. It is normally the vagina which is affected by yeast infections but they can also appear in the groin, mouth and nappy area for babies.
If the symptoms don’t go away then there is a variety of internal and external medicines available which will reduce the itching, burning and cure the problem. There are three main types of medication which include the following:
Pessary – This is inserted inside the vagina and contains effective medicine to reduce the symptoms. These are normally supplied with an applicator to ensure the pessary reaches the most area concerned.
Cream – These are normally applied to the external areas which have been affected. It is recommended these are rubbed in on the skin around the entrance to the vagina.
Tablets – Occasionally it is necessary to give treatment via a tablet these are used instead of pessary or cream and taken orally.
For internal treatments it is important that the pessary or cream is applied deep inside the vagina, failure to reach the affected area will just prolong the symptoms of thrush.
Which Treatments To Buy
Most supermarkets now sell treatments without the need for a prescription. Most anti-thrush treatments contain clotrimazole inside the cream or pessary which has been found most effective to reduce the symptoms. Clotrimazole is able to kill the candida cells by disrupting the cell membranes; this then stops the fungi from generating ergosterol, which is a component of fungal cells. When ergosterol is not being produced properly it causes holes to appear in the cell membranes and so these cells die.
Other options contain fluconazole but these are available from pharmacies and are a tablet taken once to reduce yeast infections. To compliment these treatments some people also apply natural yoghurt with active cultures to soothe the burning sensation.
If treatments do not appear to be working then it is important to consult your GP who may take a swab from you for further tests, as sometimes other conditions can be mistaken for a yeast infection. If thrush is not the cause of your symptoms, it is vital that you get a correct diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. However, if thrush is the cause, your doctor may be able to prescribe you a new treatment to help clear it up.