See a doctor Skip to content

What is Thrush?

Thrush is a common yeast infection caused by a fungus called candida albicans.

While uncomfortable, it poses no risk to your long-term health and there are a number of ways to treat it. However, some people experience persistent symptoms that can be more difficult to treat.

Our online doctors can help you identify the cause of your thrush and prescribe effective treatment to deal with your symptoms.

Who is affected by Thrush?

Thrush is thought to affect most women at some point in their lives, as low levels of candida albicans normally exist in the vagina. Thrush becomes more likely once a woman has had her first period and less likely once they have been through the menopause.

It can also affect men, with symptoms usually focused around the head of the penis.

Thrush Symptoms

For women, the most common symptoms of thrush include:

  • Vaginal discharge (usually thick, white and odourless)
  • Itching, soreness and redness around the vagina
  • A burning sensation when you pee
  • Pain during sex

These symptoms can occur every now and then, or recur frequently even after successful treatment. This is known as persistent thrush.

For men, symptoms can include soreness, itching and discharge from the penis. If the infection has been caused by poor hygiene, it may also give off a bad smell.

For more information about the symptoms of thrush and how to spot them.

Thrush Treatment

The most common antifungal treatments for thrush are:

  • A pessary that is inserted into the vagina
  • A capsule or tablet that is taken orally
  • A cream that is applied to the skin around the vagina, to manage itching or soreness

Men can be treated with either a cream or capsule.

Based on the symptoms and causes of your thrush, our doctors will recommend the best treatment for you. They can write you a prescription during your consultation and our team will arrange for you to collect it from a nearby pharmacy.

For more information about thrush treatment and how our prescriptions work, click here.

Thrush Causes

Usually, thrush occurs because the balance of fungi and bacteria in the vagina changes. There are a number of possible reasons for this, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Your menstrual cycle
  • Antibiotics
  • Weak immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Stress

While thrush is not technically an STI, sex can trigger it and it’s possible to pass the infection to your partner.

If you have persistent thrush, our doctors can monitor your symptoms to identify any patterns and determine what could be causing your symptoms to flare up.

Find out more about the causes of thrush .

 

Thrush Diagnosis

During your online consultation, our doctors will ask questions about your symptoms and certain lifestyle factors. Your answers will help them identify possible causes for your thrush and rule out other conditions, such as STIs.

Your answers are completely confidential and will help the doctor diagnose the most effective treatment.

If you’ve been getting persistent thrush, they’ll ask further questions to work out why previous treatments might not have worked. They may also arrange for a swab test kit to be sent to your home, to take a closer look at the fungus that’s causing your infection.

Find out more about how our GPs can diagnose thrush here.

Thrush in pregnancy

Thrush is very common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Hormonal changes are often the cause, as the increased level of oestrogen creates an environment in which candida albicans can thrive.

While thrush won’t harm your baby during pregnancy, if you have it when the baby is born then they may experience a mild fungal infection. This does not pose any risk to their health and is easily treated.

It’s important to find a treatment that’s safe for you and your baby. If you suffer from persistent thrush, our doctors will let you know if you need to change your usual treatment until the baby is born. For example, pregnant women are never prescribed capsules or tablets to treat thrush.

Find out more about thrush during pregnancy.