Vaginal thrush

A woman’s vagina is sensitive and can be the victim of a wide range of ailments. One of the most common among them are vaginal thrush or fungal infections as the may also be called. A common estimate is that around 75% of all women have or will have at least one fungal infection in their vaginal areas during their lifetime. Vaginal thrush is harmless but the symptoms can be quite troublesome. The symptoms and the infection can be effectively treated with antifungal medicines.

Symptoms
The disease is harmless and will usually heal by itself, but I may take some time. Fungal infections can cause discomfort and trouble. A few symptoms or frequent problems:

  • Burning or itching sensations in or around the vagina. The sensations may also be felt on the surrounding skin area
  • Redness and irritation around the vagina
  • A slight pain during sexual intercourse may occur
  • Swelling of mucous membranes in the genital area
  • Appearance or texture of vaginal discharge can be changed. The scent does not normally change, but may smell a little bit sour. Vaginal discharge may be watery, thick or whitish with grainy consistency

Why does it happen?
It is common yeast fungi or dermatophytes that are naturally occurring on the skin that is the main cause of vaginal thrush. Dermatophytes are found on your body naturally and live in a symbiosis with us. They can however become too many or due to other circumstances may give rise to fungal infections such as vaginal thrush.

There are many kinds of dermatophytes on the human body, but the kind that causes the most cases of vaginal thrush is called Candida albicans. When they multiply beyond their normal numbers they may cause problems such as vaginal thrush.
A few risk factors:

  • Temporarily or permanently impaired immune system
  • Modified bacterial flora in the vagina
  • Small cuts or tears in the vagina
  • Pregnant women are at higher risk
  • Some medications such as antibiotics can disrupt the bacterial flora of the vagina and increase the the risk for vaginal thrush
  • Changes in hormonal balance may also increase the risk slightly

Treatment
There are effective medicines for fungal infections in both prescription and nonprescription versions. The treatments available today are (prescription or nonprescription) effective, gentle and safe to use. There are many types of antifungal medicines for use in the genital area, but two common formulations of drugs are cream / ointment or vaginal suppositories.

Antifungal medicines generally work through the principle of killing the fungi that are causing the infection. They also tend accelerate healing and alleviate or remove troublesome symptoms.

Prescription drugs are generally more potent and effective, and are therefore used to treat more difficult cases of vaginal thrush. If the previous treatment did not help, prescription regimens may be necessary.

It is usually enough with one treatment to heal vaginal thrush, but it is not unusual that two treatments are needed. If two treatments are not enough to alleviate the problems, you should contact your doctor/GP or health center for further advice.