How to cure thrush

Worried you might have thrush? GP Sarah Jarvis explains how thrush can develop, who's most at risk of it and how it can be treated.
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Sarah Jarvis, GP and woman's health spokesperson, explains how thrush can develop, who is most at risk of it and how it can be treated.

Sarah says: 'Thrush is a yeast or a fungal infection. The most common kind of thrush that we think about is vaginal thrush, which is the kind that ladies get inside their vaginas.

'However it is possible to get thrush, the same yeast infection, in your mouth or, in men, in the nether regions.

'Other kinds of fungal infections that affect the skin include athlete's foot and jock itch or thrush. These occur in areas of skin that tend to rub together, such as between the groin, underneath the breasts or in the folds of the skin.'

'Yeast loves to grow anywhere that is warm and moist. That means if you have any bits of your skin, especially the vagina for ladies, that is warm and moist then thrush will often thrive there.

'For women, if you change the normal germs, the normal friendly bacteria that live in your system, you can be more prone to thrush. That means that some women are more prone to thrush when they have taken a course of antibiotics.'

Thrush symptoms

'The most common symptoms of the thrush that we think about, perhaps vaginal thrush, tends to be soreness, irritation and possibly a kind of slightly cottage cheesy whitish, creamy, very itchy discharge from the vagina.

'In the mouth it can cause soreness with white patches, which if you scrape them off leave a little red patch underneath that tends to be both sore an itchy. And in men the same thing, white patches on the skin which if you scrape them off leave a red patch underneath.'

Oral thrush in babies

'Thrush in babies' mouths is not uncommon, it's absolutely nothing to worry about, although it can be distressing for them and it can have some problems with their feeding.

'If you're bottle feeding, it's very important to sterilize all bottles but it's also important to sterilize dummies and not to suck them off to clean them and then pop them back in your baby's mouth.

'Oral thrush in babies can be easily treated by using a gel which can just be wiped onto the mouth.

'It's important to check with your doctor that it's thrush rather than simply milk curds, which can be easily wiped away and which are often mistaken for oral thrush.

'It may be that if you're breast-feeding, you have thrush around your nipples and it may be worth checking to see if the skin around your nipples needs treating to prevent you from passing thrush onto the baby.'

Thrush treatments

'There are several treatments for thrush. Most of the treatments that we use are topical treatments.

'They range from a cream for the skin, pessaries and a cream that can be inserted into the vagina, an oral gel/tablets and an oral liquid that can be sloshed around the mouth.

'You can buy pessaries and oral treatment for vaginal thrush from your pharmacist without a prescription.

'It is very important to be aware that you have got thrush rather than anything else. If you've had thrush before you'll often recognize the symptoms. However its is important to check that you haven't got a sexually transmitted infection.

So if you haven't had thrush before or if the symptoms are at all different to any other thrush symptoms you've had previously it is very important to seek medical advice and get tested for sexually transmitted infections.

'Oral thrush, thrush on the skin and vaginal thrush can all be treated with the pharmacist giving you something over the counter.'

Where to next?
Beat thrush with your diet 


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