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Haydon Bridge Pharmacy

What is thrush and how do you treat it?

Thrush is a common condition caused by the yeast fungus Candida albicans. This yeast is present  normally on the skin, in the vagina, mouth and gut without causing any symptoms. From time to time the numbers of the Candida multiply and then symptoms of thrush develop. This article deals solely about genital thrush, oral thrush will be dealt with in a later article

What are the symptoms of thrush in Women?

  • White discharge that has a creamy appearance can also be watery
  • Itching, soreness and redenss around the outside of the vagina (the vulva)
  • Pain on urination
  • Pain when having sex
  • Thrush is very common in women affecting over half at some point in their lives
  • Thrush does not damage the vagina and does not spread to damage the womb

What are the symptoms of thrush in men?

  • White discharge under the foreskin
  • Itchy, sore or red under the foreskin or the top of the penis.
  • Hard to pull back the foreskin
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Thrush is uncommon in men

What factors increase the likelihood of thrush?


Hormonal changes in pregnancy alter the conditions in the vagina and increase the chances of developing thrush.

If you are pregnant thrush will not harm your baby. When  pregnant you should not buy any products for thrush over the counter instead you should see your Doctor or mid-wife. There are certain treatments for thrush which should not be used during pregnancy e.g. fluconazole capsules. 


People who have diabetes are more prone to developing thrush. This is especially the case if their blood sugar levels are not well controlled. As developing thrush can be a sign that someones diabetes management can be improved its important that anyone who is diabetic does not purchase treatments but instead goes to see the doctor or nurse.

Thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection but can sometimes develop after you have had sex.

People over 60 can not buy thrush treatments from a pharmacy as in this age group it is important for a GP to review the condition to help identify any underlying cause that may be present.

How long should thrush take to clear with suitable treatment?

    Thrush should normally clear within a week if an appropriate treatment is used. If thrush has nor cleared within seven days from when treatment started then you should go to GP.

    What treatments are recommended for thrush?

      Antifungal drugs such as clotrimazole (available in creams and pessaries) or fluconazole (available as a capsule) can be purchased for treating thrush. Whilst application of an external cream is useful for reducing symptoms an internal preparation such as pessary, oral capsule or cream in an internal applicator is needed to treat the infection.

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