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Facts About Thrush That We Should Have Been Taught At School

About 4 years ago I had an infected tooth and had an emergency tooth extraction. The dentist gave me antibiotics for the infection and it healed up well. 

A few weeks later I started getting this itch downstairs (we are all ladies here so I won’t hold back on the details). Then I started getting weird discharge and it wasn't near my period or ovulation time so I thought this was strange. I didn’t think much of it until one night when the itch was so bad I could NOT sleep! It was terrible! The discharge got worse and no matter how many showers I had I still felt gross.

Lucky for me, my family is majority women so I asked my Mum, sister, and cousin for advice. They all told me the same thing. “You have thrush.”

I was mortified - what do you mean I have thrush! But I am so clean?! What is happening!

Little did I know thrush doesn’t have as much to do with your hygiene as it does your gut health, i.e antibiotics coming in and mucking up your good bacteria causing candida downstairs.  

I went to the chemist and got myself the tablet* and ta dah, it was gone in 3 days. To only return a few weeks later.

But why?! I was so frustrated! It turns out that I gave it to my then partner, who gave it back to me! Who knew! Well I didn’t, and Google didn't either. So this is why I’m writing this blog to dot point all the things I learnt about thrush that we SHOULD have been taught in sex ed.

Thrush Facts

  • You can give it to your partner and they can keep giving it back to you until you are both free of candida (FYI: Vaginal thrush is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans). I gave my partner the tablet* and it fixed him right up!
  • Ways in which you can get thrush include BUT are not limited to:
- Your skin is irritated or damaged
- You're taking antibiotics
- You have poorly controlled diabetes
- You have a weakened immune system (for example, because of HIV or chemotherapy)
- You have been through the menopause
- You're pregnant
- Your tights are too tight and you are sweating too much downstairs
- The type of undies you wear. Cotton is the best option because it absorbs moisture and sweat leaving you dry and cool
- Hormonal changes e.g. before your period
- Having a diet high in sugar and processed carbs
  • To avoid getting it after a course of antibiotics, start a course of probiotics (always after the antibiotics) to get your gut bacteria back to normal
  • Don’t use soap or toilet paper with perfumes or any funky things in it because that can cause thrush (it mucks up with the healthy pH levels in your vagina)
  • It’s good to sleep with no undies on in summer if you tend to sweat down there as that can make it worse or even bring it on
  • It’s NOT an STI… but you can pass it on during sex
  • About 75% of women will have vaginal thrush in their lifetime, so you aren’t alone ladies

Another reason why you might get thrush that you won't read about on Google is from certain food additives such as chicory root. I have a bit of IBS, and I noticed that when I ate certain foods with chicory root powder in it I would not only get bloated and gassy, I would end up with thrush. After doing some research it turns out chircory root powder is a type of inulin (prebiotic) which can play havoc with people with IBS, or those who need to be on a FODMAPs diet. The inulin can actually FEED the candida!! Prebiotics such as inulin are known to feed the bacteria in your gut, so if you have some candida the inulin can end up feeding it, which then can cause thrush!

I felt like it was important to talk about this topic because it’s not really spoken about; it seems to be taboo to talk about any sexual health or genitalia related topics. And as someone who studied Public health (health promotion), it’s important to get the facts out there - especially topics around women's health. So I hope this helped for next time (or the first time) you get thrush. Don’t stress, you aren’t alone. I can assure you most of the women in your life have gone through it too. Speak to your doctor, get the right treatment, and be conscious of keeping your lady bits healthy.


*For the women who have never had thrush there is a tablet called fluconazole, you can take it once and BAM you’re cured…Well sometimes - some women find it takes the tablet and the pessaries to completely eradicate thrush. I find the pessaries work the best IMO.

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