Itching, irritation and a creamy smelly discharge are the first signs of a thrush infection. But many sexual infections have similar symptoms, so its important to obtain a professional diagnosis from your doctor or sexual health clinic first.
How DidYour Thrush Infection Develop?
As a part of your body that's exposed to the external world, and positioned perilously close to your anus (where faeces leave your body) and urethra (where urine leaves your body), your vagina is in constant danger of infection. So your body has set up several natural barriers to protect you, including protective mucous.
Unhealthy mucous that signals a thrush infection is thick, sticky, offensively smelly, cheesy and can be irritating, bringing on itchiness.
To understand how your thrush infection developed, you need to understand what conditions Candida loves to live in, so that your treatment will make life really uncomfortable for this annoying bug.
Here are six ways you could have developed a thrush infection.
1. Have you have taken a course of antibiotics recently?
Antibiotics are a very effective medication for wiping out disease producing bacteria. Unfortunately they are very effective at destroying all the good bacteria too. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, its important to take a course of probiotics during and after you complete the course of antibiotics.
For best results, choose a probiotic that includes Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG. This will help re-inoculate both your vagina and your bowels with good bacteria.
You can buy probiotics from your local health food store – look in the fridge.
2. Are you taking a contraceptive pill?
Oral contraceptives can increase vaginal glycogen stores (your cell's natural sugar storage for energy), which means that there will be more sugar present for Candida (the thrush bug) to thrive on. If you're taking the oral contraceptive pill and experience recurring thrush, modifying your diet to keep your sugar and yeast intake to a minimum may help.
3. Are You Pregnant?
When you're pregnant your hormone levels soar. This can alter the microbiology of your vagina, making it easier for thrush to take hold. Its important to consult with your doctor rather than self-prescribe remedies, medication or diet changes if you're pregnant, as what you do may have an impact on your unborn baby.
4. Do You Have Diabetes?
Women with poorly controlled diabetes have chronically high blood sugar levels, and this provides an ideal environment for Candida (the thrush bug) to thrive. You may need to tighten up your blood glucose level control through diet and exercise to reduce your thrush symptoms.
5. Is There Too Much Sugar or Yeast in Your Diet?
Candida loves sugar. In fact, your thrush infection will get worse when you eat lots of sugar.
Have you ever made bread at home? If you have, you know that you have to add sugar to the bread mix to give the bread-rising yeast something to feed on. Well, Candida is just a yeast – so the higher your blood sugar level, the more food there is for Candida to thrive in.
6. Has Your Vaginal Lining Been Irritated?
Sexual intercourse has the potential to cause vaginal irritation if your vagina wasn't sufficiently lubricated. This can give Candida a chance to take hold. Vaginal dryness is more likely once you have passed the menopause, as less estrogen is present to maintain your vaginal lining. If you suspect that this is what is bringing on recurrences of your thrush infection, start using a lubricant regularly.
Once you know how your yeast infection developed, use what you know and make the right changes in your diet and lifestyle to make a difference.