Thrush is a common yeast infection which affects a large percentage of women at some point.
Thrush tends to be itchy, sore and uncomfortable. In most cases, it is harmless, but recurrent thrush can be frustrating to deal with.
Help is available, with over the counter treatments which can help remove bacteria and prevent discomfort.
Thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection and is very common in women of all ages. Around 75% of women will experience thrush at some point.
Women in their 20s and 30s are most likely to develop thrush, whilst those with diabetes, who are pregnant, or are on antibiotics, are also more prone to the condition.
Usually, thrush causes the vagina to become itchy, irritated and swollen. A creamy white discharge is also common.
Even though it's not technically an STI, thrush can be transmitted from person to person during sex. It also has similar to symptoms to other STIs.
If you have been diagnosed with thrush before, you'll be able to recognise the symptoms. If you have thrush for the first time, it's best to check with a GP to ensure it isn't something else.
Thrush can be hard to prevent, but it is relatively easy to treat. Various medicines are available over the counter, including thrush cream, pessaries and tablets. Some women prefer to use complementary therapies to treat thrush.
Pessaries are inserted directly into the vagina, much like a tampon, and act as a topical treatment.
Creams help clear up the infection by direct application around the entrance to the vagina. Thrush tablets are taken by mouth.
In around 80% of women, anti-thrush tablets and anti-thrush pessaries successfully treat thrush and are generally equally effective.
Thrush creams usually contain clotrimazole (branded as Canesten), while tablets often contain fluconazole.
There are also some everyday measures that can help reduce the occurrence of thrush, these include: wearing stockings instead of tights, cotton underwear and selecting loose fitting clothes. Sufferers should also avoid perfumed toiletries and vaginal deodorants.
Some women say washing the area in diluted tea tree oil helps clear the infection, whilst others use plain natural yoghurt (bio-live) to soothe itching.