Feeling petrified by a week-long possibility of tackling with a vaginal thrush? Well, you're not alone. Statistically speaking, vaginal thrush affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lifetime. Many among these women experience two episodes, at the very least. Vaginal thrush is commonly defined as a yeast infection caused by the abundance of the yeast Candida albicans.
In most cases, the yeast or fungus resides naturally in and around the bowel. Furthermore, the infection remains unnoticed because it doesn't cause definite symptoms. So, it's mostly considered innocuous; however, symptoms can develop over time if the yeast numbers increase.
This article may not provide a definite solution to this issue. Still, it will surely assist you in dealing with this harmless infection.
Symptoms of Recurrent Thrush
Many women experience only mild infections that can disappear within a week or two. While others experience continual symptoms, which can improve or worsen with time.
Common symptoms include:
- Irritation/swelling/mild redness of the vulva or vagina
- Pain on passing urine
- Vaginal discomfort
- A creamy, thick vaginal discharge with a yeasty smell, commonly termed cottage cheese
- Slight pain during sexual intercourse
Severe symptoms include:
- Rash or blisters around the vagina
- Abdominal pain
- Extreme swelling around the vulva
- Damaged skin around the vulva
- Vaginal discharge that is smelly and coloured
- Developing a fever, in addition to these vaginal symptoms
Why do I have a recurring thrush?
In many cases, the reason why women deal with this concern remains unclear. Unfortunately, some women seem more prone to developing a vaginal thrush infection than others.
Here I'm listing some factors that might contribute to this continual issue:
Use of antibiotics
These infections are usual in women who frequently use antibiotics. However, powerful antibiotics, which eliminate a broad spectrum of bacteria, also eradicate excessive bacteria in the vagina, resulting in the overgrowth of yeast.
Pregnancy and uncontrolled diabetes
Pregnant women with uncurbed diabetes are at an alarming risk of developing this infection.
Vaginal thrush infection is more likely to develop in women with a weak immune system.
Vaginal infections are common in women with increased estrogen levels.
Taking part in repeated conduct may increase your possibility of developing thrush. For instance, wearing tight-fitting clothing and using scented soaps around that area.
Treatment for Vaginal Thrush
Your doctor will typically prescribe an antifungal cream, ointment, or tablet regimen for a superficial yeast infection. Commonly used medications include:
- Butoconazole (Gynazole)
- Clotrimazole (Lotrimin)
- Miconazole (Monistat)
- Terconazole (Terazol)
If your issue is easier to tackle, consult a doctor beforehand and follow up to ensure your medication is working at a quicker pace. However, if you are sure you have a simple infection, you can treat yourself at home with OTC products.
For complicated infections that are indicated due to severe itching, swelling, and redness around the vulvar area, frequent yeast infections (around three-four times per year), pregnancy, uncontrollable diabetes, frail immune system, and HIV, the possible treatment or cure is:
- Prescription of a fourteen-day ointment or treatment for the vaginal thrush infection by your doctor
- Specified doses offluconazole (Diflucan)
- Long-term prescription of fluconazole taken once a week for 6 weeks, or long-term use of any topical antifungal medication
In addition to the mentioned medications, there are some home remedies you can try:
- Coconut oil
- Tea tree oil
- Plain yoghurt
However, before trying these natural remedies, you must always seek your doctor's advice. Also, ensure you clean your hands before applying anything directly to your vagina, whether creams or oils.
If and when in any case, your symptoms do recur, take a course of treatment. The doctor will give you a prescription for treatment to have anti-thrush medication available to use if needed.
You are supposed to complete the course of treatment. For example, it might involve taking anti-thrush medication for around 6 months with the aim to lessen the amount of yeast significantly.
How Can I Prevent Vaginal Thrush Infection?
The fungus that causes thrush is most prone to attack in an environment that is warm, damp, and moist.
There are several general lifestyles and behavioural changes that you can adopt which might help prevent this fungus from being able to spread and cause further damage. In addition, these lifestyle changes may help prevent single episodes of thrush and also reduce the risk of recurrent thrush.
- Eating a balanced diet comprising all the food groups
- Taking effective supplements in advance
- Substituting feminine products frequently
- Using organic tampons and pads
- Washing underwear in hot water
- Wearing non-irritable fibre like cotton or linen
- Use non-perfumed and non-soap-based products
- Take showers rather than baths
- Take medication to control your sugar level, if you have diabetes
- Take part in activities that put you at ease
- Putting on wet clothing
- Using non-organic deodorant
- Using scented tampons and pads
- Wearing fitted pants, tights, or leggings
- Overwashing your genitals
- Excessive waxing or shaving of the genital area
- Consumption of excess sugar and alcohol
Recurrent vaginal thrush does not usually lead to long-term health issues for women. However, if you spar with repeated episodes of thrush, it might affect your mood, morale, and overall lifestyle.
The most crucial step in dealing with recurrent vaginal thrush is to make an appointment with a medic or doctor who can help you identify any aspects contributing to worsening the thrush infections and propose the best treatment for you. Treatment is most likely to be effective if you follow all of your doctor's guidelines carefully and complete the entire course in due time.
Despite comprehensive treatment, you can be referred to a specialist clinic if you continue to struggle with this matter. However, the encouraging news is that most women don't need to consult a medical expert afterward. With the proper preventive measures, the thrush should clear up within a span of one-two week.