If you’ve been suffering with itching ‘down there’, particularly when combined with swelling, redness and creamy discharge, you might have a case of thrush. Thrush is one of the most common genital conditions in the UK, and indeed, most women suffer from it at least once in their lives.
If you suspect that you might have it, be assured that it’s certainly not that serious, especially if you see a doctor as promptly as possible. However, it is important that you don’t ignore the problem, as if untreated, it can cause considerable discomfort.
Here’s a quick guide to help you identify the symptoms and seek out the right form of treatment.
What is Thrush?
Thrush is a type of yeast infection, which is generally caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus is often found in the vagina, and more often than not, doesn’t cause any problems, as the body’s natural secretions help to keep it under control.
However, if the natural balance inside the vagina is disrupted, this fungus can spread, which causes thrush. It’s sometimes thought of as an STI, but in fact, it can develop at any time, regardless of whether you’ve had unprotected sex with someone or not. However, it can be passed on to others through sexual contact, and as a result, it’s vital to avoid sexual contact until the problem clears up.
The Symptoms of Thrush
There are a variety of common symptoms associated with thrush. These include:
- Stinging when urinating
- Discharge – usually odourless, can either be thin or thick
- Itching around the vaginal entrance
- Discomfort during sexual intercourse
You might also experience other more serious symptoms, such as redness and swelling, cracked skin in the affected area, and in rare cases, sores. Mild or uncomplicated thrush, as it’s sometimes called, tends not to occur very often, and when it does, it is fairly easy to resolve. Complicated or severe thrush, occurs regularly, and results in more unpleasant symptoms.
What Action Should You Take?
If you suspect you might have thrush, the worst thing to do is suffer in silence and hope the problem will go away. Whilst not a serious danger to health, repeated incidences of thrush can leave you in considerable discomfort, not to mention have an adverse impact on your life. Additionally, if you’re sexually active, you run the risk of passing it on to your partner.
Instead, book an appointment with your doctor. It’s likely that you’ll initially be recommended a short course of anti-thrush medication, which you’ll only need to use for a couple of days. However, if the problem is more pronounced, your GP may recommend that you need to take the medication for longer.
There are a few different types of medication. These include pessaries, tablets and creams. Tablets are not so commonly prescribed, as they can cause side-effects, such as sickness, headache and bloating.
If you’ve had thrush before, and have already been to see your GP in the past, you may be able to simply purchase a treatment at your local pharmacy, without the need for a prescription.
If you are concerned about thrush or any other personal health problem, please don’t put off seeing your GP. What may seem a little embarrassing to you, is just a day to day subject for your doctor and the relief you will get from being properly diagnosed and treated, is so worthwhile.
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