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What is thrush?
Thrush is a very common fungal infection usually caused by a bug called candida albicans.
It is normal to find candida albicans in the gut, mouth, vagina and penis in small quantities. When the fungus multiples to upset the normal balance of bugs in the body, we call this thrush.
What does it feel like?
Thrush can feel itchy and sore. The excessive presence of candida also causes a thick white coating.
When in the mouth it is common to notice white and red sore looking patches on the tongue, cheeks and gums. Similar appearances also occur when the infection is present on the penis and vagina.
Vaginal thrush can also cause a creamy discharge like cottage cheese. This is usually not smelly.
How did I get it?
Thrush occurs when the normal balance of bugs in the body is upset. As such, there are a number of causes. This ranges from the use of bubble bath and soap, to antibiotics, to sexual intercourse. The commonest cause we see in adults if after the use of antibiotics. The common cause we see in children is when teats of feeding bottles are not washes and dried well.
Thrush is more common in those with poor immune systems, in diabetics and in pregnant women.
How long will it last?
Thrush usually requires an antifungal treatment before it goes.
Do I need any treatment?
For infections in the mouth we tend to use Nystatin. This is a prescription only medicine.
For infections of the penis and vagina, we tend to use Clotrimazole. This is available over the counter without a prescription and is also fine to use in pregnancy.
Is this dangerous?
Usually,no. It can be quite irritating though!
September 2018 (Dr Eggitt)