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Treating vaginal thrush

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read

The typical vaginal yeast infection thrush is vaginitis – an inflammation of your vagina. Both fungus and bacteria naturally live in your vagina, but when the fungus Candida albicans increases, it can cause thrush. Thrush affects around 75% of women at least once, while many women may suffer from recurrent thrush.

If you've never had thrush before and think you may have it, visit your doctor. Once you recognize your symptoms and know they're not serious, we'll help you deal with thrush independently at home. Thrush doesn't take long to clear up once you've started treatment. Treating thrush is as easy as choosing which treatment is best for you

Doctor’s advice

When to see the doctor

There are a few reasons why you will need to see your doctor before starting over-the-counter treatments, even though you may have symptoms. They are as follows:

  • Firstly, if you've never had thrush before and think you may have it. Once the doctor diagnoses it, then you will know the symptoms and will be able to self-treat if reoccurrence does occur.
  • If you have diabetes, the doctor will have to check that your blood sugar levels are controlled.
  • If under 16, the doctor must verify it is thrush.
  • If you are over the age of 60, then the doctor may require a quick checkup, as you are more prone to other types of infections.
  • Also, if you have had two infections in the last six months, to ensure that stronger treatment isn't required.

Treating the infection

Although it can be uncomfortable, the good news is that mild and moderate thrush can be easily treated with over-the-counter medication. Two main areas may require treatment: the internal regions of the vagina and the external areas around the vagina. Treating the infection in the fastest and most effective way internally should be using a vaginal cream and tablet.

The vaginal cream is usually used overnight. The vaginal tablet is a great on-the-go treatment possibility, which has also been shown to help treat external regions. The infection in the outer regions can also be treated with the cream.

Now, combination packs will contain a cream and either a vaginal tablet or suppository, allowing you to treat both regions.

Calming the itch

If you are suffering from an itch around the vaginal region, then the best thing to treat it would be the cream. This will help with the day-to-day itchiness and soreness and treat the external regions.

There are now combination packs that will contain a cream and either a vaginal tablet or suppository, which allows you to treat both regions and reduce the itchiness and soreness.

Preventing reinfection

These are some key tips to avoid reinfection:

  • Avoid using deodorants or scented products around the lower regions.
  • Try to reduce stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle to boost your immune system.
  • Avoid high-sugar foods, as high amounts of sugar in the urine increases the risk of infections.
  • Change menstrual products frequently.
  • Ensure you wipe from front to back after going to the toilet. This will reduce the risk of infection by avoiding the spread of microorganisms.
  • Change your underwear after swimming and working out, as microorganisms prefer areas with moisture.

There are also probiotics, which can contribute to maintaining the natural levels of good bacteria in the vagina, helping to prevent recurrent thrush and bacterial vaginosis.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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