Many women face this diagnosis. Naturally, the appearance of this problem for the first time (and sometimes in subsequent ones) causes fear and a lot of thoughts about the “terrible sexual infections”, which are now being talked and written about so much. The specialist tells Goodshapetips readers about how to cope with this disease.
Thrush, or, in professional language, urogenital candidiasis, is a lesion of the mucous membranes and skin of the genitourinary organs caused by yeast-like fungi of the genus Candida.
This condition got its name because of the specific secretions resembling milk.
Despite the fact that there is enough information in the media on this issue, it is not always reliable.
We will try to consider the most relevant and frequently asked questions of patients regarding thrush.
How does the disease manifest itself?
The cause of the development of thrush, as already mentioned in the definition, are fungi of the genus Candida, – more precisely, not specifically their presence, but their increased number.
The genus Candida includes many species of fungus, but Most often, Candida albicans is responsible for the development of thrush.
In many healthy women, Candida fungi in small quantities are part of the normal microflora of the vagina, without causing any trouble.
Contrary to popular belief, both a virgin and a sexually active woman can develop thrush, from which it becomes clear that urogenital candidiasis is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Predisposing factors for the development of thrush are:
Insufficient hygiene of the genital organs;
Excessive hygiene of the genitals – the use of gels for intimate hygiene, douching without a doctor’s prescription;
It should be noted that for hygienic care of the genitals, it is enough to wash with clean running water;
Wearing tight synthetic underwear, especially thongs;
Use of daily sanitary pads;
The use (especially uncontrolled) of antibacterial drugs;
The presence of diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders (imbalance of sex hormones, thyroid hormones, etc.);
Change of sexual partner / casual unprotected relationships;
The use of intimate gels, lubricants and other means;
Sometimes thrush can occur when using condoms, other local contraceptives;
The development of thrush is influenced by the emotional state, severe stress is also equated to a risk factor.
Self-medication is unacceptable!
The most typical symptoms of thrush are discharge from the genital tract of a white-yellow color.
In the classic course of thrush, the discharge is crumbly or in the form of lumps resembling cottage cheese, which is why doctors call such discharge curdled.
In addition to discharge, thrush in 70% of cases it is accompanied by itching and / or burning in the genital area.
Thrush also contributes to the maceration of the mucous membrane, that is, the formation of cracks, due to which pain may appear – both at rest and during sexual contact.
With recurrent urogenital candidiasis, dryness of the genital mucosa and scanty whitish discharge may be observed.
How is thrush diagnosed?
When the manifestations described above appear, you should not self-medicate, but you should immediately consult a doctor.
Problems of the urogenital sphere are dealt with by obstetricians-gynecologists and dermatovenereologists.
During the 3 weeks prior to the examination, the woman should not take systemic and/or topical antifungal drugs or antibiotics.
Examination is being carried out not earlier than 72 hours after the last unprotected sexual intercourse and is not carried out during menstruation.
To establish the diagnosis of “urogenital candidiasis”, a microscopic examination (observation under a microscope) of the discharge from the vagina is carried out, as well as a cultural study (sowing of secretions on special media) with a quantitative assessment.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, which is now so common in modern medicine, is not a basis for making a diagnosis of urogenital candidiasis and prescribing treatment.
It only answers the question “Is the microorganism present or not?”, And as we mentioned above, in many women, Candida fungi in small quantities are part of the normal microflora of the vagina.
Since the number of unqualified specialists and patients affected by them has recently increased, we note that urogenital candidiasis is not diagnosed by a blood test.
Of course, you can use the recommendations of a friend or advertising – this will save time and, according to assurances, will quickly relieve discomfort.
But it is worth remembering that uncontrolled medication can have an adverse effect on the body, lead to the development of recurrent candidiasis, which is much more difficult to treat.
Besides thrush is often combined with other problems of the urogenital area.
Only a qualified specialist can conduct a high-quality diagnosis, prescribe adequate treatment.
Used to treat thrush systemic antifungal drugs (tablets) and local remedies (vaginal suppositories, tablets, creams, etc.).
During treatment, it is recommended to observe sexual rest – that is, either completely refuse sexual intercourse, or carry out any sexual intercourse strictly in a condom.
After treatment, a control examination is carried out (but not earlier than 14-21 days after the end of treatment).
What about sexual partners?
As a rule, thrush does not cause any manifestations in men. But under certain conditions, a male sexual partner may experience some symptoms.
Most often, manifestations occur on the glans penis in the form of redness and / or rash – this condition is called candidal balanoposthitis. Itching and burning are not always present.
Less often in men, the urethra can be affected, and then they talk about candidal urethritis.
If a sexual partner complains, he should consult a doctor and, if necessary, undergo treatment.