Smiling young woman with curly hair, wearing a blue shirt, happy after Canesten thrush treatment

What is thrush?

Learn what thrush is and what common yeast infection symptoms can help identify it. You can also find out how you can treat thrush and how you can prevent it from recurring.

Thrush 

It’s very common, but you rarely hear it in conversations between women. So let’s talk about thrush, a common yeast infection caused by a simple imbalance of natural vaginal fungus, predominantly Candida Albicans.  

Vaginal thrush is a common infection caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans. This yeast lives naturally in the bowel and in small numbers in the vagina. It’s mostly harmless, but symptoms can develop if yeast numbers increase. 

It’s so common that every 3 out of 4 women get thrush at least once in their lives1. Many women also suffer from repeat episodes. However, there are some circumstances that can make you more prone to getting this yeast infection. You are more at risk of getting thrush if: 

  • You are pregnant 

  • You have recently finished a course of antibiotics 

  • You have diabetes 

  • You are on your period 

  • You take birth control pills 

Don’t worry! Thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection. 

1. Sobel. JD. Lancet 2007; 369: 1961-71.

Thrush symptoms

There are some common symptoms of thrush that are easy to spot and recognize. You should remember that everyone is different, so yeast infection symptoms can vary and can be mild, moderate or more complicated.  

You should watch out for these common thrush symptoms:   

  • Feeling of itchiness, burning, soreness of your vagina and redness and swelling of vaginal lips, 
  • Cottage cheese like discharge – whitish, thick and odorless discharge, 
  • Uncomfortable feeling when having sex. 

Did you know? Men can also suffer from thrush. Find out more about thrush in men.

If you are experiencing thrush for the first time, you should see a doctor. When you are diagnosed with thrush you can start treatment at home. Fortunately, thrush doesn’t take long to clear up, but you should also consider seeing a doctor if:

  • You are under 16, 

  • You have had 4 or more thrush infections in the last 12 months, 

  • Treatment has not worked, 

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding, 

  • Your immune system is weakened, for example if you have diabetes.

Thrush treatment

In most cases, it is easy to treat vaginal thrush. Canesten offers a range of products like the oral pill, vaginal pessary and internal and external creams so you can decide which treatment option is more comfortable for you to use. Thrush should clear up within a week of starting your treatment.

You don't need a prescription to buy Canesten thrush treatments. They're available over the counter in pharmacies, following a consultation with the pharmacist. During this short consultation, the pharmacist will ask you a few questions. This is standard procedure and is to ensure they give you the right treatment. These questions include:

  • Are you under 18 or over 60 years of age?
  • Have you ever had thrush before?
  • Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • What are your symptoms?

If you're looking for a convenient way to treat thrush, ask your pharmacist for a 1 day treatment. This could be an oral capsule like Canesoral, or an internal cream like Canesten 1 Day Cream. For optimum relief, you should use both internal products which will treat the infection and an external cream which can help relieve your symptoms. For combination treatment, ask your pharmacist for Canesoral Duo or Canesten Pessary & External Cream. Do not be tempted to use the external cream only: it will help soothe your symptoms but it won't get rid of the cause of vaginal thrush.

Thrush prevention

Some people suffer from repeat episodes of thrush which may be caused by their lifestyle choices. If thrush symptoms are a problem, you can change some habits to stop yeast infection from coming back. First of all, you should remember that your intimate area has different pH than the rest of the body so using regular, perfumed soaps and shower gels can disturb the pH balance in your vagina. You should consider a wash that has been specifically designed for the intimate area.

Wearing very tight and synthetic underwear and clothes such as tight leggings can encourage the growth of candida because of the trapped moisture. It is also recommended to change wet clothes like swimming costume or workout outfit straight away. Other tips for avoiding thrush include:

  • Avoid using deodorants and douches in and around your vaginal area 

  • Avoid stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep your immune system strong 

  • Avoid high sugar foods

  • Change your tampons and pads frequently 

  • Ensure you wipe from front to back when in toilet to avoid spreading the bacteria from your anus to your vagina 

  • Avoid very hot baths 

Thrush, also known as a yeast infection can happen to anyone. It is easy to spot the symptoms and treatment can be very straightforward. However, if you suffer from repeat episodes of thrush we recommend seeing your GP.