Thrush affects most women at some point but some get it worse than others. However, most women don’t know the one little thing that can stop thrust from returning again and again. What is it? Well, the secret is that you shouldn’t immediately stop treatment when symptoms disappear, to minimise the chances of it returning:
Continue to apply the cream or a few more weeks, even after the symptoms have gone.
Read on for more handy tips … Q. I have thrush! What exactly is it? A. Vaginal thrush is a fungal infection and as such has a different growth dynamic which helps explain why it keeps recurring. A fungus is quite different to a bacterium in how it grows. As discussed in our cystitis blog, bacteria divide so quickly that they rapidly start to cause problems within the space of 24 hours. Fungal growth pattern is much slower as instead of dividing in two like a bacterium, it ‘buds’ off which then grow in a filament. Over the course of several days, this forms a net-like structure which causes symptoms of itching and a vaginal discharge when it reaches a critical size. Discharge is typically a white/off white colour and quite thick in consistency. Q. So what treatment should I follow? A. Using antifungal medicines in the form of capsules, pessaries and creams is the mainstay of treatment. However as soon as the symptoms settle, most women stop using the creams which is a big mistake! As the antifungal agents kill off the fungus, the biomass (or amount) of fungus is reduced leading to less or no symptoms. However there is still some left and as soon as the antifungal creams are stopped, it starts to grow again and cause symptoms after a time. So the trick is to continue to apply the cream or a few more weeks, even after the symptoms have settled. Q. Any other helpful tips? A. Before intercourse, apply some of the cream to the external area and ask your partner to apply some to the head of the penis. This way, some antifungal cream will be applied to the vagina and it will help make intercourse comfortable. One caveat is that if you are depending on latex condoms for contraception, be aware that the antifungal creams (such as Canesten or Daktarin) can ‘freeze’ the latex condom and make them useless as a barrier to both sperm and STIs! Q. I tried all of that, what should I do now? A. The best bit of advice we can give is for you to talk to your local GP or book an online video consultation with one of our doctors. Chat to a doctor now