It's not something that many people want to talk about, but vaginal thrush (or candidiasis) is actually quite a common condition, caused by an overabundance of a specific type of yeast germ.
It’s estimated that around 75 per cent of women will experience it at some point during their lives, but it’s important to know that in most cases, it is easily treatable. In fact, many women who experience recurring symptoms often treat it on their own, using a variety of different methods.
There are several alternatives when it comes to managing and treating the symptoms. However, it’s a good idea to know more about the ‘triggers’ for thrush and what you can do to avoid exacerbating the condition. There are even some things you can do to reduce the likelihood of experiencing it at all.
What is vaginal thrush?
Essentially, vaginal thrush is a type of yeast infection that is commonly caused by an organism called candida albicans, although other varieties can lead to thrush symptoms as well. This is an organism that is normally carried on the skin, mouth, gastrointestinal tract and the vagina – so candida isn’t something you can ‘catch’, as it is already present on your body.
It’s important to note that in most cases, the amount of candida in the body doesn’t do us any harm. It is only when it multiplies excessively that we experience the physical symptoms. In the case of vaginal thrush, these symptoms include white, thick discharge that resembles the consistency of cheese. It can also lead to itching, redness, discomfort or pain around the vulva (the external area of the vagina).
Women who have thrush may also experience pain during sex or when releasing urine. The symptoms aren’t usually life-threatening, but they can be frustrating to deal with and will continue to be felt if left untreated.
Vaginal thrush tends to be more common in pregnant women. Some women also have recurring symptoms, which is typically diagnosed when thrush is experienced at least four or more times in a single year.
Preventing and treating vaginal thrush
Once a doctor has diagnosed thrush, there are several treatments available. For example, topical creams can be applied to the vulva to relieve the immediate itchiness. These usually contain an anti-fungal medicine, which typically works by attacking the cell walls of the fungus and prompting fungal cell death.
As the symptoms of vaginal thrush are caused by an excessive amount of the candida albicans fungus, sometimes an influx of more beneficial bacteria can restore the delicate microbiological balance. These bacteria can colonise the gut and stomach through the consumption of probiotic foods such as live-cultured yoghurt.
There are also some other things you can do to avoid making the condition worse. For example, wearing tight-fitting clothing or garments made from synthetic materials around your vagina can irritate the area and make it easier for the yeast organisms to multiply. Instead, looser-fitting underwear made out of a natural, breathable fibre such as cotton will allow any excess moisture to evaporate.
Surprisingly, your diet can also have an important role in the prevalence of candida. Some experts recommend cutting out sugars and alcohol from your daily food intake, as the yeast organism needs this sugar content in order to grow and multiply. By removing these foods from your diet, you may be able to stop the excessive growth of the infection.
It’s also advisable to ensure your immune system is in good condition, in order to give your body the best chance of fighting off the infection. Another way of fighting a candida infection involves consuming probiotics, which are the ‘good’ bacteria that may be able to inhibit the growth of candida albicans.
Whatever treatment option you choose, it can be reassuring to know that you have a variety of different alternatives available. If symptoms persist, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider for more information.
Kolorex Advanced Candia Care may help maintain balanced intestinal micro-flora, including Candida. It contains a patented liquid extract of New Zealand Active RedLeaf Horopito buffered in extra virgin olive oil. Buy it now from our secure online shop.
You may also be interested in the Ancient NZ Native Plant Successful In Treating Thrush Kolorex press release on scoop.co.nz
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If so, what have you found to be the best treatment?