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Thrush is a common name for a yeast infection, which is also known as candidiasis. Vaginal thrush is a common infection in women caused by an overgrowth of Candida yeasts which can cause irritation and itching around the vulva and vaginal opening. It can also affect the penis.
Oral thrush is caused by the same group of yeasts as vaginal and penile thrush, but the infection is in your mouth.
Vaginal yeast infections occur mainly in women who have started having periods, and are rare in younger girls or women who have been through the menopause. Most of the time there’s no underlying reason for the infection, although there are some factors that can increase your risk of getting vaginal thrush:
Oral thrush is caused by the same fungus as vaginal thrush, which is normally found in your mouth and digestive system. If the fungus multiplies it can lead to thrush. Babies, young children and elderly people are at a higher risk of oral thrush, and some of the factors that might increase their risk are:
Symptoms of oral thrush can include:
Sometimes oral thrush makes eating and drinking difficult too.
The most common symptoms of a vaginal thrush infection include:
Vaginal thrush symptoms can be similar to other conditions, so if this is the first time you’ve had them, it’s advisable to speak to your doctor before self-diagnosing and/or treating it. Other conditions that are similar include:
Oral thrush often clears up by itself in babies, and you can prevent it coming back by sterilising feeding equipment and toys your baby likes to put in his or her mouth. Some people also suggest that giving a baby sterilised water straight after a milk feed helps to reduce the candida population in the mouth by washing away milk residue.
If there’s an underlying reason for oral thrush, that will need to be resolved (if possible) before treatment. So if ill-fitting dentures are a likely cause, better fitting ones will be suggested. Diabetic patients might need to look into a different treatment to help manage their condition better.
The usual treatment is with antifungal pastilles or liquid suspensions that you keep in your mouth for a while and then swallow.
Vaginal yeast infections can be treated orally or vaginally. You can opt for a vaginal cream and/or a pessary. The pessary is a type of tablet you insert into your vagina using an applicator, and the cream is applied externally two to three times a day. You can buy over the counter treatments or get them from your doctor. Thrush treatments are available for different durations, depending on how severe your infection is.
If you prefer, you can take a one-dose tablet. Available over the counter or from your doctor, the pill contains an antifungal medicine called fluconazole. Fluconazole does have a few mild side effects (commonly stomach upset, headache, and rashes) and it’s known to interact with some other medicines so ask a doctor or pharmacist before using it.
Oral fluconazole isn’t recommended if you’re pregnant or think you could be pregnant.
Thrush is just another name for a yeast infection, caused by an overgrowth of a Candida type fungi (often Candida Albicans).
Candida is the name of the fungus that commonly causes yeast infections. It usually lives in your digestive tract and vagina without causing any problems. Sometimes, if the normal levels of good bacteria and other normal fungi is upset by factors such as medication, illness, injury or stress to your immune system, the Candida can multiply and cause the symptoms of thrush.
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