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Published: 27th June, 2014 in: Health Advice
It can be embarrassing, but it’s estimated that three in four women will develop vaginal thrush at some point. This is a condition that many may be embarrassed to talk about, but rest assured that Pharmacists are there to help you with issues like this, and will give you advice and guidance in strict confidence
[women smiling] Thrush is a condition caused by a type of yeast called Candida albicans. The name appears to come from the white spots that appear in the mouth with oral thrush that are said to look like the speckled pattern on the front of the bird of the same name. As with other fungi, Candida albicans thrive on moist, folded skin, so thrush symptoms commonly occur in the mouth, tongue, and mucous membranes such as the vagina and affect the top of the penis.
Vaginal thrush occurs when a change in environment of the vagina allows the fungi to multiply. Common causes of vaginal thrush include antibiotics, pregnancy, a weakened immune system and poorly controlled diabetes. Male thrush commonly affects the glands of the penis. The infection can be passed between sexual partners, though this is not the only way that the infection develops.
The most common symptoms are itching and soreness of the vaginal area accompanied by redness or swelling, and a thick white discharge.
Symptoms in men include red skin around the head of the penis, irritation, soreness and pain when passing urine and during sex, though there may not always be symptoms preset.
Thrush can continue to recur if underlying cause such as diabetes is not controlled or sufficiently treated. However, once the cause is sorted then the thrush can normally be successfully treated.
There are a number of different products that Weldricks Pharmacy stock to treat thrush, and they fall into three main categories:
Oral fluconazole capsules
Internal pessaries and creams containing clotrimazole
External creams containing clotrimazole
All the treatments we sell are based on antifungals, and they are effective in the vast majority of cases if they are used according to the instructions. Most of the preparations are under the Canesten brand, but there is also Numark fluconazole and a generic fluconazole capsule available.
Internal pessaries, creams and the oral capsules have a similar level of effectiveness, though the capsule can take a bit longer to show an effect (usually between 12-24 hours).
You may find that using one of the combi packs provides better symptom relief as they have an internal preparation and an external 2% clotrimazole cream that will treat external symptoms and may help soothe the itching and soreness that can be a problem.
There are also two strengths of external creams that we stock, a 1% and a 2% cream. It is the 2% cream that treats thrush, 1% is not as strong and is normally used to treat other fungal infections such as athletes foot and ringworm.
Men should only receive this treatment if their partner is also showing symptoms, as the condition is less likely to develop on its own in men and so could be an indication of something else. The treatments available for men are the 2% Canesten Thrush cream and the oral fluconazole capsule.
Click here to see the full range of products to treat and prevent thrush. If you have any concerns about the products, you should always speak to your pharmacist.