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Home thrush treatment and testing

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How do you check to see if you have thrush?

If you’re a woman the first signs that you could have thrush include; thick white discharge, itching around your vagina and soreness when you have sex or urinate. If you’re a man you may also notice white discharge, an unpleasant smell, as well as irritation and red around the head of the penis.

Many of these signs are very similar to those caused by sexually transmitted infections (STI) if you have had unprotected sex recently you may want to visit your local sexual health clinic or GP for a check-up. Your healthcare practitioner will be able to diagnose the infection through an examination or testing to tell you if you have thrush or an STI.

Can I test myself for thrush at home?

If you would prefer to test yourself or if you have had thrush before and know the signs, then there are thrush tests that you can carry out at home. You can buy thrush tests over the counter at your local pharmacy or online, which are able to diagnose common vaginal infections. Many tests offer immediate results with clear and easy to read instructions, the results you get will also rely upon the symptoms you are experiencing.

The canestest from Canesten, requires you to swab the inside of your vagina and wait to see what colour the tester turns, this colour change will indicate which type of vaginal infection you have. From this you’ll be able to choose the best treatment option for you, whether you see your GP, Pharmacist or use an over the counter treatment.

Are there any home treatments for thrush?

Yes, if you think that you have thrush you can complete a thrush test in the privacy of your home. Self-testing will allow you to diagnose yourself and then find a suitable treatment. The type of treatments you choose will be dependent on your test results and symptoms you have.

 Home treatments for thrush include:

  • Creams – apply to the affected areas and gently smooth into the skin to relieve vaginal itching and soreness
  • Pessaries – inserted into your vagina, a pessary goes to the site of the infection to clear the cause of thrush
  • Tablets – taken orally, the medication within the capsule will fight the cause of the thrush infection

With any treatments make sure that you read the patient information leaflet that is included in the packet thoroughly before you begin treatment. Also be aware of any side effects that are connected with the medication, and seek medical advice if these occur. You can also talk to your GP or Pharmacist about thrush treatment, and they will be able to advise you further.

Are there any natural remedies I can use to treat thrush?

We do not recommend that you use natural remedies to treat thrush instead you should seek advice from a medical professional. They will be able to offer you advice about treatments which may be suitable for you to use and ways you can prevent thrush returning.

You should visit your GP or pharmacist if:

  • You’re pregnant
  • You’re under 16 or over 60 years
  • This is the first time you have thrush as you will need a diagnosis from a healthcare practitioner
  • Your symptoms are severe, for example you have sores
  • The thrush infection is recurrent (more than twice in 6 months)
  • Symptoms do not improve after using a treatment
  • You have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes

How do I stop myself from getting thrush?

You can also take precautions to lower your chances of developing thrush such as:

  • Having showers instead of baths
  • Wearing cotton underwear
  • Drying your genitals after washing
  • Avoid using perfumed soaps or deodorants on your genitals
  • Wear loose fitting clothing and avoid wearing tights
  • Avoid having sex until your thrush has cleared

Can thrush go away on its own?

Often mild yeast infections and their symptoms will go away on their own without treatment, although this could take 3-7 days. If you have been experiencing thrush symptoms for 7-14 days then you should seek medical treatment. Your GP, pharmacist or a nurse at your local sexual health clinic will be able to recommend the best treatment for you.

Do you need antifungals for thrush?

If you have mild thrush symptoms you can use over the counter antifungal creams to treat your thrush, however if your symptoms are severe you’ll need to visit your GP who may be able to prescribe stronger anti-fungal medicines.

Can I have sex if I have thrush?

If you or your partner have any thrush symptoms including soreness and pain, it is best that you abstain from sex until any signs of infection have cleared and you have finished any course of treatment. Some thrush treatments can weaken condoms, making them less effective. Although thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection, you can pass on Candida symptoms to your partner during sexual intercourse, as well as exacerbating any symptoms that you may have.

Can thrush be a sign of stress?

Yeast infections happen when the balance within your body is disrupted, this could be because of hormonal changes, illness or if you’re under a lot of stress. Your immune system can become run down making you more susceptible to infections and colds.

Is thrush sexually transmitted?

Vaginal thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and it isn’t contagious, however in rare cases it can be passed on during sex. This all depends on whether your partner has a weakened immune system, or is prone to developing thrush.