Thrush is a common condition where yeast infection occurs due to the overgrowth of candida fungus and is especially common among women. The condition is considered harmless but its symptoms can often be very irritating and uncomfortable. Furthermore, the are many myths surrounding the condition. The following Pharmica article aims to dispel any misconceptions that you might have about thrush while asking you top questions about the condition.
1. Defining the Thrush Condition:
Overgrowth of the candida fungus is commonly referred to as thrush is a condition that can occur in various forms across your body, leaving marks and irritated spots. For adults, the thrush usually occurs as genital thrush while oral thrush is common among babies and individuals with an immunodeficiency. Furhtermore, thrush can also occur in other parts of the body like the groin and armpits where the conditions for fungus growth are perfect.
Another type of thrush called invasive candidiasis is considered to be a rarer and more serious infection caused by candida yeast that has entered the bloodstream. However, this condition is quite rare and mostly occurs from the use of medical equipment.
Therefore, the following article focuses on the oral and genital thrush types.
2. What are the Causes of Thrush:
The key cause of thrush is the excess growth of candida fungus in warm and moist environments, where the bacteria grow at an accelerated rate and causes an overgrowth. Genital thrush can be carried over through sex but it is not classified as an STI (Sexually transmitted infection) and the primary causes of this condition are:
- Overuse of perfumed hygiene products.
- Not drying properly after washing
- Women’s hormone level changes
However, the other risks that contribute to the risk of this condition are:
- Obesity or being overweight
- Having a weak immune system from underlying health conditions
The identical candida yeast is also responsible for the oral thrush where about 75% of the population having Candida Albicans, the primary cause of oral thrush. The other causes of oral thrush include:
- Using asthma inhalers
- Having cancer treatments like chemotherapy
- Taking antibiotics
- Immaturity of baby’s immune system
3. Who is prone to thrush:
Both women and men can get thrush but it is more commonly associated with women. For the genital thrush, the condition is much more relevant among women while oral thrush is most common in infants as well as adults with dentures and the underlying health conditions mentioned previously.
4. Is Thrush Common:
Almost 75% of all UK women experience genital thrush at some point in their lives where half of this number have repeat infections. Therefore, this condition can be considered very common and mostly occurs in women in their 20s and 30s. Genital thrush for men is significantly less common.
For the oral thrush, approximately 5%-7% of infants experience this condition. For adults, having conditions like AIDS accounts for a range of 9% to 30% of cases while 20% of the conditions could also be caused by cancer.
5. The Symptoms of Thrush:
Male Thrush Symptoms
- White discharge from the penis
- Irritation or redness on the head of the penis
- Difficulty pulling back the foreskin
Female Thrush Symptoms
- White, usually odourless discharge from the vagina
- Irritation and itching around the vagina
6. Can You Cure Thrush:
Unfortunately, there is a definitive cure for thrush that would prevent the condition from occurring again. However, you can use clinically proven and effective antifungal thrush treatments like Fluconazole to clear the condition if it appears. For this specific condition, it is quite common for it to experience another outbreak that will need repeated treatment. If you are experiencing a recurrent thrush condition, it is beneficial to contact your GP to get useful advice in terms of treating your condition with various treatments like thrush cream that can be used for a longer period of time, even after elimination of symptoms. To avoid reoccurrence of the condition, ensure to keep prone areas dry and manage your underlying health conditions efficiently.
7. Can Thrush Be Contagious:
There is a possibility that thrush can be carried over from sexual intercourse with your partner but this is a relatively rare and uncommon occurrence. When it comes to oral thrush conditions, it is not contagious because the majority of other individuals already have candida Albicans in their mouths.
8. How to Treat Thrush:
There are three key medications that can be used to treat the thrush condition:
The Fluconazole treatment is taken orally to treat the genital version of thrush and is capable of clearing out the thrush symptoms in just two days. The key ingredients of fluconazole tablets disrupt the production of ergosterol, which is an essential component of fungal cell membrane growth, stopping the candida fungus overgrowth.
This active ingredient possesses powerful antifungal properties for conditions like genital thrush and common brands include the Canesten product family which provide effective thrush treatment, depending on the severity and the location of the condition. These clotrimazole treatments can be combined with fluconazole to treat genital thrush altogether.
Miconazole treatments work by making halls in fungal cell membranes, killing them and stopping the spread of the infection. Products like Daktarin Gel is a common treatment for oral thrush conditions and can be used for kids over 2 years old. The treatment needs to be taken four times a day after having your meal for 7 days.
In addition to treatments, you can also make slight lifestyle adjustments that could prevent oral thrush:
- Take good care of your teeth and oral hygiene
- Sterilise bottles and dummies often
- Clean your dentures constantly
- Don’t smoke
To avoid genital herpes, you can:
- Use a non-perfumed, pH-balanced body wash
- Make sure your body is fully dry after washing.
- Wear loose underwear made from natural materials like cotton.