1/ You're pregnant
'Thrush is more common when women are pregnant because of the changes that take place in the due to the pregnancy hormones,' says Dr Kotrotsou. These can change the bacterial balance in the vagina, and weaken the immune system, making thrush more likely. This is especially likely in the third trimester. Speak to your GP before treating the infection, as different steps are advised.
2/ You're breastfeeding
For the exact same reasons as above.
3/ You're on the pill
Much as with pregnancy, hormonal contraception can throw your bacterial balance off centre. But it doesn’t need to mean coming off the pill.
4/ You have diabetes
High blood sugar levels is a key player in yeast infections, as is a weak immune system; two symptoms characteristic of people with diabetes.
5/ You have a weakened immune system
Chemotherapy, HIV and other things which impact the immune system increase the risk of thrush and it can also spread to other parts of the body, like the lungs, liver and intestines.
6/ You are taking antibiotics
The meds can cause an imbalance of bacteria in the body, particularly the sensitive microenvironment in the vagina, which can lead to an excess of candida.
7/ You're using irritating products
Scented soaps and body washes can disrupt the delicate pH of your vagina and have an irritant effect on its sensitive mucosal lining. And thinking of douching? Don’t. 'Avoid irritants in perfumed soaps, shower gels, vaginal deodorants, wipes and vaginal douches. Use water and an emollient (moisturiser) soap substitute to clean the skin around the vagina that is neutral and does not disturb the vaginal pH,' says Dr Kotrotsou.
8/ Your clothes are too tight
If you are prone to thrush, avoid wearing tight-fitting non-breathable underwear or tights, especially for long periods of time, Dr Kotrotsou advises. Excess heat can promote the overgrowth of yeasts.
9/ You're really stressed
Feeling continually stressed out can impact your immune system – and thus up your risk of excess yeast.
What is the treatment for thrush?
'The treatment for thrush is anti-fungal medication,' Dr Kotrotsou says. 'For vaginal thrush the treatment options include pessaries (a pill that is inserted in the vagina via an applicator), intravaginal creams (also placed in the vagina using an applicator) or oral capsules. Short courses are effective in most cases but occasionally episodes persist or recur and long-term treatments are required.'
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, speak to your GP and they will examine and take a swab of the affected area.
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