Thrush or vaginal candidiasis is generally thought as the overgrowth of an organism which occurs normally in the body (mostly the culprit is the fungus candida albicans)
It is relatively common and affect about three-quarters of women between the ages of 20-40. The most notable symptom is excessive itching, but also soreness and red skin may be present, and pain or discomfort when urinating or when having sex. There is usually a sticky white discharge which is odorless and can also be thin and watery. If there is an unpleasant smell this is best dealt with by a trip to your GP as another infection may be the cause.
At The Health Dispensary, we have various options for treating vaginal thrush in Neath. There are OTC or over-the-counter treatments easily available and suitable for those in the age range 16-60.
You can buy a product if this is you preferred option. We will usually start with a few questions, you can always ask to speak in a private area or the consult room if you wish. We want to be sure you are familiar with the condition (maybe have had before) and that it is not being confused with any other condition that could have more serious implications- loss of fertility being an example. Also if you have had more than one occurrence in the last 6 months we may suggest a visit to the GP to to rule out other issues such as diabetes being the cause. This would also apply to any abdominal pain or excessive menstrual bleeding (periods). We’d also like to know if you are pregnant or breast-feeding as this will affect treatment options.
You can also have a consultation with our Wellness Pharmacists via the NHS Common Ailment scheme which can lead to free treatment where appropriate. You can make an appointment for this here choosing which of our Neath pharmacy branches you would like to attend.
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You can also pop in when passing but there may be a wait, or you could be asked to call back if our Pharmacist is busy with other customers. If you have difficulty in attending the pharmacy please message us via the chat button or Call our appointments line 01639 630000 as we may be able to help via a telephone consultation.
Our Prescribing Pharmacist may also be able to provide additional advice or a prescription for alternative products to the common ailment scheme if appropriate.
Medicines to treat Thrush
Fluconazole 150mg is an oral drug (capsule) which is just taken as a “one-off”. Usually very effective if it does not offer relief it may be because the organism is resistant to this anti-fungal agent. Other oral treatments are prescription-only. See our CONDITIONS for more information on the choices available.
Branded products such as Canesten are generally more expensive than the generic (unbranded drugs) like Fluconazole or Clotrimazole but they do offer a wide range of options and user confidence.
There are pessaries and internal creams (inserted like a Tampax with applicator) which some women prefer and creams which can be applied externally and can also be used for any male partners who are showing symptoms of the condition. Discuss these with your pharmacist to make sure you get the right one as some of these creams are more designed for other fungal skin infections and can be of lower strength and hence will only treat the itch not the cause.
There are some newer drugs being used for recurrent bouts of thrush (which always need to be referred to your GP) that are not anti-fungal e.g. Cetirizine usually used as an antihistamine and Zafirlukast. of women with recurrent episodes have responded to these drugs as there is thought to be a possible allergic element. See our CONDITIONS page
What else can I do to CURE Vaginal Thrush?
Other useful tips are to wear looser clothing of natural fabric (the fungus loves a warm moist area!) Natural live yoghurt used to be suggested but there is little supported evidence although it is cooling and may do no harm. Tea tree oil whilst it is anti-fungal would probably cause too much sensitivity in this area.
It is best to avoid feminine hygeine products and biological washing powder as they may be too irritant and avoid using soaps and shower-gels etc. as they can be too perfumed. You can use emollient or mild moisturisers to soothe and protect the skin.