Thrush is a condition due to fungal infection. The fungus which is responsible for thrush is known as candida. Hence, thrush is also called candidiasis. Candida is also called ‘yeast’. Candida can infect the mouth, throat, and many other structures or organs. Candida may cause diaper rash in babies and vaginal infection (vaginal candidiasis) in women. Thrush can happen to anyone. However, it is more common in older adults, infants, those who are on antibiotics, those who are on corticosteroid therapy, and people who have a weak immune system. Examples of individuals with weak immune systems are Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients, cancer patients, and old age individuals. Thrush treatments for females are similar to males except if it involves the vagina.
The symptoms of thrush are:
- Inside of the mouth turns red
- The presence of white patches covering the affected and infected area
- Pain during eating or swallowing
Candida infection of the vulva and vagina is very common. It is also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis. Vulvovaginal candidiasis is the main cause of vaginal discharge and itchiness in females. Vulvovaginal candidiasis is not considered sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Vulvovaginal candidiasis is the second most common cause of vaginal inflammation (vaginitis). The main cause of vaginitis is bacterial vaginosis. The risk factors for developing vulvovaginal candidiasis are:
- The use of antibiotics
- Diabetes mellitus
- High estrogen levels
- The use of contraceptives devices
- Immunosuppressed state
- Sexual activities
The clinical features of vulvovaginal candidiasis are:
- Irritation of the vulva
- Soreness of the vulva
- Burning sensation on the vulva
- Painful urination
- Painful sexual intercourse (penetration)
- Redness of the vulva
- Swollen vulva
- Thick and white vaginal discharge
To diagnose a yeast infection (vulvovaginal), your doctor will examine your vulva and vagina. Your doctor will also take a sample of your vaginal discharge and send it to the lab. The sample of the vaginal discharge will be examined under the microscope in the lab. Do not self-diagnose any of your health conditions as it will only do more harm. Self-diagnosing and self-treating will only cause you to waste money buying the wrong medications, waste time as you might not recover, and makes your vagina and vulva more itchy and irritated.
The treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis mainly involves the use of oral antifungal medications or a vaginal cream. The length of treatment varies from one person to another depending on the severity of the infection. Vaginal treatment consists of the use of vaginal cream or vaginal tablets. You can apply vaginal cream or put in a vaginal tablet during bedtime. Some patients are on the one-day regime, some on three days regime, and the rest require seven days regime of vaginal therapy. Another treatment option is oral antifungal. Diflucan (fluconazole) is usually the medication of choice to be given orally. Some females require only one dose of oral Diflucan and the rest may need two doses of oral Diflucan.
You will start to feel better and recover a few days after treatment is initiated. Let’s say that you still haven’t recovered after a few days starting treatment, please see your doctor once again for further evaluation.