Thrush is a fungal infection of the vagina and the vulva in women. It is also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis and is a common condition found in women. It causes itching, irritation of the vulva or vagina and burning sensation. There may be vaginal discharge and one may experience pain during urination. This condition is more prone to women under 20, women who are pregnant and at the time of menstrual periods.
The symptoms of thrush in women are the following:
Itching and burning: Most of the women experience itching and burning sensation. This is a common symptom of thrush and itching may make the infection worse. It is necessary to treat the internal and external itching.
Vaginal Fissuring: Due to inflammation, fissures or cracks may appear.
Vaginal Discharge: This is another common symptom in this condition. Women may experience a thick, sticky, white cottage cheese like discharge. Some may also have foul odor associated with the vaginal discharge.
Redness and pain: The fungal infection may cause swelling, redness and pain in the genital region. This may become sensitive and sore causing discomfort.
Pain during sexual lovemaking: Due to the pain in the genital area, sexual lovemaking may be painful.
Pain during urination.
Satellite lesions: Sores may appear around or in the genital area.
The cause of thrush in women is due to disruption of the balance of the bacteria and yeasts present within the vagina. Many factors are responsible for causing the yeasts to overgrow which leads to thrush infection. Some of the factors that cause this condition are as follows:
Antibiotics: Certain antibiotics may enhance the growth of the yeasts since the antibiotics kill the useful bacteria. These friendly or useful bacteria keep the yeast under control.
Menstrual periods: This can change the acidity of the vagina and create a warm and moist environment for the yeast to flourish.
Contraceptive pills: High doses of these pills may cause thrush in women.
Pregnancy: High levels of sugar due to hormonal imbalances during pregnancy can cause the growth of yeast in vagina.
Diet: Intake of dairy products, sugar, tea and coffee cause growth of yeast.
Diabetes: Rise in blood sugar levels contributes to this condition.
Stress: Emotional or physical stress can increase the risk of getting thrush in women.
Chemotherapy: This weakens the immune system making one more vulnerable to getting vaginal infection.
Other factors that can cause infection are usage of perfumed products near the genital area or wearing tight clothes.
Having thrush may be embarrassing and uncomfortable and should be treated to avoid it from reoccurring. Many antifungal creams are available which can be applied on the outside of the vagina to get relief from the itching sensation. Oral pills treat the infection internally and pessaries can be inserted into the vagina. Pessaries and the anti fungal creams work directly on the affected area. The treatment can be from day 1 to 2 weeks depending on the severity of the infection. It is important to finish the whole treatment in order to keep the infection from returning.
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