Lots of things can trigger thrush, including various aspects of everydaylife.
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There is no shame in having thrush. It’s a very common vaginal infection, which can be triggered by everyday things like overwashing or the menstrual cycle, particularly in those who are susceptible to thrush. It can cause itching, and a thick, white discharge with a texture like cottage cheese.
Three quarters of people with vaginas will experience thrush at least once in their life*
Yeast Infections; Linda M. Speer, MD (Healthywomen.org/condition/yeast-infections/overview)
There is a lot of misinformation out there, so let’s get some things straight.
Not true. Thrush is not an indicator of a person’s sexual habits.
Although thrush can be passed on by sex, it’s uncommon. Certain parts of sex can, however, trigger it. For example, friction can make it easier for the bacteria that causes thrush to thrive and semen can sometimes disrupt the natural vaginal ecosystem.
Not true. It can be triggered by all kinds of things, like being stressed out, and you may be more at risk if you have recently finished a course of antibiotics, you are pregnant, or you are on your period.
Tips for avoiding thrush:
Take off wet clothes or workout gear as soon as you can
Avoid using vaginal deodorants and douches
Manage stress levels and look after your immune system
Avoid high sugar foods
Change tampons and pads frequently
Wipe from front to back after using the toilet
Avoid very long, hot baths
Common symptoms of vaginal thrush:
Sore and itchy vagina / vulva area
Soreness, burning and redness around the vaginal entrance
Slight swelling of vaginal lips (labia)
Cottage cheese-like white discharge
If you think you might have thrush, you should get it diagnosed by a doctor instead of trying to diagnose yourself. The internet is filled with home remedies for thrush, but these aren’t proven to work. In fact, they could make the infection worse.
Things to remember when talking to a doctor
You can ask for a male or female doctor
You can ask for a doctor of a specific gender if it makes you feel more comfortable.
It’s normal to be asked questions
Your healthcare practitioner will need to confirm it’s thrush by asking you what your symptoms are.
This is totally normal, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed.
You can ask questions too
Whether you go to your appointment with a parent or guardian, or by yourself, it’s a good idea to ask questions – you can even take notes if you like. You might want to ask things like:
Does my medical problem have a name and if so, what is it?
Which medicine or treatment is going to make it better?
What happens if I forget to take the medicine or don’t have the treatment?
NHS appointments are confidential
When you make an appointment with your local GP, your appointment will be confidential.
Reach out to transgender medical and support services if you need
People who identify as trans or non-binary can access specialist support. Search ‘Terrence Higgins Trust’ online for a directory of resources.
I think we don't always take infections like this seriously and are expected to just 'get on with it'.