It’s quite likely you’ve experienced it as up to 75% of females do. Here’s how to spot it and what to do.
What is it?
Thrush is a very common vaginal infection caused by an overgrowth of yeast (called Candida) that normally lives in your vagina. Basically, the yeast is always there until something triggers it to grow out of control. There are several factors that can contribute to this. Things that can trigger it include taking antibiotics, pre-menstrual changes, tight-fitting, synthetic underwear, certain fragranced soaps and sex, or a tampon left in too long. Also, a sanitary towel left unchanged can also create a moist, warm environment and yeast thrives under these conditions. Remember, you don’t have to be sexually active to get thrush, although sexual partners of people with thrush may get symptoms as well.
How do I know if I’ve got it?
Signs include an itchy vagina that may be red or swollen, thick and clumpy discharge and a stinging or burning sensation when you pee. You might get one, some or all of the symptoms and they can range from mild to severe. However, it’s important to remember that if you have these things it doesn’t necessarily mean you have thrush. Conditions such as genital herpes or even a urinary tract infection (UTI) have similar signs so the best thing to do is go to the doctor and get it all checked out.
How do I get rid of it?
There are several things you can do to get rid of thrush and reduce its effects. First up, you can simply ask a pharmacist about products like Canesten, a cream you can get without a prescription. It’s also a good idea to wear cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting trousers or jeans. Because thrush can sometimes be aggravated by scented soaps and shower gels, it’s best to keep these away from the area. Natural yoghurt is great for restoring the balance in the bowel, so try adding more of that to your breakfast or lunch.
Will I get it again?
Maybe. It is thought that up to 75% of women will experience it at some stage in their life and for some girls, it does come back. If it does keep returning, the best thing you can do is visit your doctor who can give you a proper examination and possibly prescribe other treatments if necessary.