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Penile thrush with balanitis

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Curdy vulval thrush

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Oral thrush

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What is it?

A yeast known as candida lives normally on skin, in the mouth and gut. It can flare up from time to time in some individuals causing thrush.

Is it common?

Yes. At least 3 out of 4 women will experience it at some time. A much smaller proportion will suffer from it on a regular basis. It is much less common in men.

How does it show itself?

The yeast may be present without you knowing it however you may have one or more of the following symptoms.

bulletitching, soreness and redness around the vagina and its `lips` (vulva) and `back passage` (anus). Can cause a vulvitis
bulletthick, white discharge looking like cottage cheese. Smells yeasty.
bulletpain during sex
bulletpain when passing water
bulletirritation, burning, itching, redness and red patches under the foreskin or on the top of the penis
bulletthick, cheesy discharge under the foreskin
bulletdifficulty pulling back the foreskin
bulletdiscomfort when passing water

What can cause it?

Thrush is more likely to develop when you,

bulletare pregnant
bulletwear tight jeans or nylon underwear
bulletare taking certain antibiotics
bullethave diabetes
bulletare unwell or ill
bulletare taking the contraceptive pill
bullethave unprotected sex with someone who has thrush

Can it be treated?

It is usually quite easy to treat using pessaries (such as canestan) with or without creams. A pessary is an almond-shaped tablet a women puts high up into her vaginal using a special applicator. On the other hand a pill may be given if pessaries have failed to work.

Can anything else be done?

The following may help in some cases;

bulletAvoid washing yourself too frequently or using disinfectants and bubble bath in the water.
bulletStop using soap and clean yourself with just water.
bulletSome women gain relief by inserting a tampon soaked in plain, live yoghurt then removing it. There is not much evidence to prove this works.
bulletUse pads rather than tampons during a period
bulletAvoid tight fitting clothing and underwear made from nylon. Stockings are better than tights.
bulletWomen should wash and wipe the genital area from `front to back`
bulletInform your doctor if you think you may have developed thrush after taking antibiotics.

Anything else?

Sometimes thrush can be passed on through sex so if it keeps returning it may be wise to have any regular partners checked.

Having sex during treatment may delay healing so it would help to avoid this until it has cleared up.

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