One of the most common vaginal discomforts is vaginal thrush, also known as vaginal yeast, candidiasis or just candida. Thrush symptoms include a thick white discharge, usually described as being similar to cottage cheese, strong redness and itching in the vulvo-vaginal area.
The scratching can cause additional irritation and pain, and can lead to a burning sensation while urinating or during sexual intercourse. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor or gynaecologist to confirm the diagnosis, and they will then advise you on how to treat your candida infection.
Medication and products that treat candida can often be bought over the counter, without prescription. These include antimycotic creams, oral antimycotic therapy, probiotics, prebiotics and other products. This means that with the right self-diagnosis, you might be able to treat a yeast infection without visiting a healthcare professional.
However, the usual symptoms of vaginal thrush can sometimes be caused by something else (vaginal dryness, bacterial infection) or can mask an underlying STD with more serious implications. It is, therefore, very important to consult a doctor or gynaecologist before starting any therapy, and avoid creating additional problems for yourself, or even for your partner. Candida infection is usually not transmitted between partners, but an underlying STD could be.
In otherwise healthy women, vaginal thrush is not a life threatening condition, but constant itching and irritation can dramatically impair the quality of your sex life, as well as making it uncomfortable to go to the toilet, sit for longer periods of time, or wear tight clothing. Once your doctor has confirmed the diagnosis, and your candida treatment has started, you can try to alleviate the annoying symptoms.
Cooling natural gels and sprays can provide instant relief of itching and irritation, while the use of vaginal prebiotics can support the prescribed therapy. It is also important to maintain regular vaginal hygiene by using lukewarm water or a mild intimate wash without soap, avoiding scented pads and toilet paper, and whenever possible, sleeping without underwear.