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Thrush is a common yeast or fungal infection that most commonly occurs as vaginal thrush in women. It can be an embarrassing condition and some people find that they get recurring symptoms.

Whilst we more commonly think of women getting thrush, people of any age can get thrush in their mouths. Men can also get thrush in their genital areas as well.

Why does thrush occur?

The yeast which causes thrush thrives in warm places. This is why it tends to develop under the breasts, in the groin and genital areas. Vaginal thrush occurs when the normal balance of candida is altered which allows it to multiply and cause thrush.

You are more likely to get thrush if:

  • you are 20-40 years old
  • you are pregnant
  • you experience vaginal dryness – whilst thrush is not an STI, it can be triggered by sex
  • you are taking antibiotics.

What are the symptoms of thrush?

  • Soreness and itching in the affected area, including the mouth
  • In men
    • White patches in the genital area which are itchy
  • In women        
    • A ‘cottage cheese’ vaginal discharge, which is usually odourless
    • Pain during sex
    • Pain on urination

Thrush in babies

Babies can also get thrush, especially in their mouths.

If this happens and you are breastfeeding, it suggests that you may have thrush in your nipple area so you will need to treat yourself as well as baby.

If you are bottle feeding or using a dummy, you need to ensure that all dummies and bottles are sterilized properly.

Thrush during pregnancy

If you are pregnant and develop the signs or symptoms of thrush you need to speak to your pharmacist or GP before treating yourself. They can advise on what products are safe to sue during pregnancy.

Further information is available at NHS Choices.

How can I treat thrush?

  • Most treatments for thrush are topical, meaning they are applied directly to the skin or given as a vaginal pessary
  • All treatments for thrush are available from your local pharmacy. A GP or nurse appointment is not always required to treat thrush

    Further information is available at NHS Choices.

Comment from GP/Clinical Practitioner

Key Points

  • Thrush can affect everyone – men, women and babies
  • Thrush is not an STI though it can be triggered by sex if you suffer with vaginal dryness
  • Some people are affected by recurrent thrush – it is important that if you suffer with recurrent symptoms that you speak to your local pharmacist to find the treatment that works best for you
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