There are a number of very effective antifungal treatments available to help with thrush. Whether this is your first experience of thrush, your current treatment isn’t working, or you’ve been having persistent symptoms and want to explore a different treatment, our online doctors can help you.
They will outline a range of over-the-counter and prescription options, explain how each treatment works, how long you’d need to take it and what the possible side effects are, so you can choose the one you feel most comfortable with.
Common treatment options for thrush
A pessary is a form of suppository that’s inserted into your vagina. They come with a special applicator that you can use to insert them safely and comfortably. Our doctors can assess your symptoms and tell you how long you’ll need to use your pessaries for.
They can also write you a prescription for the most effective antifungal medicine. In some cases, they may include an intravaginal cream, which is applied to the inside of the vagina.
Possible side effects include redness, a mild burning sensation or itching.
Some pessaries or intravaginal creams also weaken latex. If you use condoms or diaphragms as your method of contraception, it’s best to avoid sex or use a different contraceptive during treatment, and for at least five days afterwards.
Tablet or capsule
Our doctors can prescribe antifungal tablets to treat your thrush. You may only need a single dose to clear up the infection, but if your symptoms are more severe they can prescribe a longer course of medication.
An antifungal cream can be used to relieve soreness or itching around the vagina. They are available over-the-counter and our doctors can suggest the best one for your symptoms. Using a cream alongside a stronger tablet or pessary is often an effective way to manage the symptoms of thrush.
These creams usually need to be applied to the skin around the vagina several times a day. If you are unsure, ask the doctor for advice.
Possible side effects - The itching or irritation may briefly get worse before it gets better. This isn’t usually a cause for concern, but if you’re worried, stop using the cream and see a doctor.
Thrush treatment if you’re pregnant
Not all of the treatments mentioned above are safe to take during pregnancy. It’s important that you see a doctor before using any medication, as they can provide you with an antifungal treatment that is effective as well as safe for you and your developing baby.
You can find out more about treating thrush during pregnancy here.
Treatment for persistent thrush
There are a number of possible reasons why your thrush keeps coming back. Our doctors can investigate one or more of the following options:
Change your medication
Our doctors can try a different form of treatment, increase your current dose, or prescribe a longer course of medication to try and get your symptoms under control.
You should never make any of these changes without speaking to a doctor first. This could have unwanted side effects and might even be dangerous.
Check for underlying causes
If the usual methods of thrush treatment aren’t working, your doctor might decide to check if there’s an underlying reason that your symptoms keep flaring up.
They can arrange for tests to check for problems like diabetes or an illness that might be weakening your immune system, both of which could make you more vulnerable to thrush.
Suggest lifestyle changes
There are plenty of things you can do in your everyday life to create an environment where candida albicans is less likely to thrive, such as:
- Avoiding perfumed bath products
- Taking a shower instead of bath
- Wearing looser, more breathable underwear
Thrush treatment for men
Antifungal creams aren’t suitable for penile thrush, due to the high probability of side effects. In this case, you’ll be prescribed tablets instead.
Thrush can also affect other areas of your body. In these cases, an antifungal cream will be suitable.
If poor hygiene is found to be causing your thrush, a simple change to your bathroom routine should lower your risk of the infection coming back.
Collecting your prescription
Whether you’re at home, travelling for work or away visiting family, you can pick up your medication discreetly from a convenient location. To collect it, all you need to do is provide us with the postcode for your location and our team will arrange everything with a pharmacy near you.
What won’t help with your thrush symptoms?
As thrush is so common, it’s no surprise that lots of people have looked for shortcuts to treat it quickly. Of course, these tend not to work. In some cases they can actually make things worse.
Here are a few of the more ‘popular’ home remedies you may have read about, and why you should steer clear of them.
While it won’t do any harm, there’s no real evidence to suggest that either eating yoghurt or applying it to the skin around the vagina will help with your symptoms.
Tea tree oil
Some people have tried adding tea tree oil to their bathwater. Again, this isn’t proven to help and in this case, it can have unpleasant side effects.
Tea tree oil could cause further irritation to your skin. We’ve also already covered how spending a long time in the bath can add to the warm, moist environment that candida albicans thrives in.
Early tests suggest coconut oil might have a small impact on thrush symptoms, but none of these studies have looked at the possible side effects. We don’t know if it’s safe and you certainly shouldn’t use it as an alternative to seeing a GP.
Coconut oil could also cause problems if you have an allergic reaction to it, while it should never be used alongside antifungal medication, as it might make your treatment less effective.
This comes from one 2003 article that recommended cutting a clove of garlic in half and inserting it into your vagina overnight. This is not recommended for several reasons, the main one being that there’s no proof it works.
As the handful of journalists and bloggers who have tried it will tell you, it can make the burning sensation of thrush even worse. It’s also difficult to retrieve the garlic and you’re left with a predictably unpleasant smell.
It really is best to stick to conventional forms of treatment that have been recommended by one of our experienced GPs. This is the quickest, most effective way to beat thrush.