GP Dr Sarah Jarvis describes the symptoms of thrush, a yeast infection, and discusses who is most at risk and how it is treated.

Learn more about thrush

Transcript of Thrush

My name's Dr Sarah Jarvis.

I'm a GP and women's health spokesperson for the Royal College of GPs

and I work at Richford Gate Medical Practice in West London.

Thrush is a yeast or a fungal infection.

The most common kind of thrush that we think about is vaginal thrush,

which is the kind that ladies get inside their vaginas.

However, it is also possible to get thrush,

the same yeast infection, inside your mouth,

or, in men, you can get thrush usually on the nether regions.

Other kinds of fungal infection which infect the skin

include, say, athlete's foot or jock itch,

or thrush which affects the skin in areas which tend to rub together,

such as between the groins or possibly underneath the breasts,

in the folds of the skin.

The most common cause of thrush that we think about, perhaps vaginal thrush,

tends to cause soreness, irritation

and possibly a sort of slightly cottage-cheesy, whitish, creamish,

very itchy discharge from the vagina.

In the mouth it can cause soreness with white patches

which, if you scrape them off, leave a little red patch underneath.

That tends to be both sore and itchy.

And in men the same thing, white patches on the skin

which, if you scrape them off, leave a little red patch underneath.

They are sore and itchy.

There are several treatments for thrush.

Most of the treatments we use are topical treatments,

so for instance a cream on the skin,

or a pessary and a cream which can be inserted into the vagina,

or sometimes an oral gel or oral tablets which can be sucked

or an oral liquid which can be slooshed around the mouth.

Yeast loves to grow anywhere that's warm and moist.

That means that if you have any bits of your skin,

and especially the vagina for ladies,

which are very warm and moist,

then thrush will often thrive there.

For women, if you change the normal germs,

the normal friendly bacteria that live in your system,

you can be more prone to thrush.

That means that some women find they're more prone to thrush

when they've taken antibiotics.

Thrush in babies' mouths is not uncommon.

It's absolutely nothing to worry about,

although it can be distressing for them and have problems with their feeding.

If you're bottle-feeding,

it's very important, obviously, to sterilise all bottles,

but it's also important to sterilise dummies which are being used

and not to suck them off to clean them

and then pop them back into your babies' mouths,

as unfortunately we're all perhaps a little bit tempted to do.

It can be easily prevented, easily treated

by using a gel which can just be wiped onto the mouth.

It is important to check with your doctor that it is thrush

rather than simply milk curds which can be easily wiped away

and which are often mistaken for oral thrush.

It may be that if you're breastfeeding you have thrush around your nipples,

and it may be worth checking to see if the skin of your nipples needs treating

in order to prevent you from passing thrush on to the baby.

You can buy pessaries and indeed oral treatment for vaginal thrush

from your pharmacist without a prescription.

It is very important to be aware

that you've got thrush rather than anything else.

If you've had thrush before you'll often recognise the symptoms.

However, it is important to make sure

that you don't have a sexually transmitted infection,

so if you haven't had thrush before

or if the symptoms are at all different

to any other thrush symptoms you've had previously,

it is very important to seek medical advice

and get tested for sexually transmitted infections.

Oral thrush, thrush on the skin and vaginal thrush

can all be treated with the pharmacist giving you something over the counter.


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