Thrush is a type of yeast infection caused the presence of a tiny micro organism Candida Abicis which is also a fungus. It can be transmitted during unprotected sex and is usually found in warm moist areas of the body such as the throat, mouth, vagina and uncircumcised foreskin. Transmission is relatively common with the organism lacking any aggressive qualities, thus treatment is relatively straightforward. It can be transmitted through sex and the sharing of towels and flannels during washing.

What are the symptoms?

Itchy purple coloured eczema like patches of skin may flare up, as well as blister like spots, and some scaling. Fungus like or abnormal substances may be found in the folds of the skin or around the breast, groin, genitals and anus.

What can Thrush lead to?

If untreated, thrush can lead to further eczema related complications around the body. Worse still, there have been instances of the nails of the sufferer becoming infected and gradually falling away. Sufferers with an immunodeficiency can also find skin problems spreading over their entire body as part of a disorder known as generalised mucocutaneous candidiasis. The body may also develop lower resistance to bacteria which can lead to damaging effects in the skin and mucous membrane. If conditions are suitable, the bacterial problem may also return at a later date. HIV positive sufferer may feel more intense symptoms, while those pregnant are also at risk to premature childbirth.

How do I diagnose it?

Diagnosis is carried out by a doctor who takes what is commonly known as a skin scrape from the patient. This is essentially a tissue sample which is taken to a lab to identify the microorganism. Areas of infection may also be swabbed to back up any suspicion of bacteria. Results often take around a week to be confirmed.

How can I treat it?

There are numerous medicines available for the treatment of thrush. The condition is usually treated with an anti fungal cream. Miconzole is used in treatment of the foreskin while nystatin lozenges or solution or alternatively Miconzole gel is used in the mouth. Caneston or Daktacort is usually applied to the vagina. Many doctors will combine this treatment with the use f corticosteroids containing an anti inflammatory hormone. This involves a single injection which works with the creams for maximum effect.

The risk of infection is increased if you work in wet conditions, suffer nappy rash like symptoms, have a metabolic illness like diabetes, are pregnant or on the pill, HIV positive or simply overweight. If you effectively control and reduce the effects of these conditions on your body, you are less likely to contract thrush. It’s also important that sufferers take time to wash and dry skin correctly, wear clothing that allows the skin and feet to breathe, change their clothes regularly and avoid contact with other people’s towels.

Where can I go?

A doctor, sexual health clinic or genitor urinary medicine clinic can provide accurate diagnosis of the condition. However, once aware of its presence, medication can be purchased discreetly from a pharmacist and applied at home and without supervision. If symptoms persist, it is recommended that the patient seeks further consultation from the doctor.

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