Women often suffer from common and not serious problems like vaginal thrush. While there is not much risk posed by these if identified and managed early enough, the discomfort can be palpable. And the bad news is that as you age and near menopause, the natural defenses of the vagina are compromised, increasing the risk of developing frequent bouts of vaginal thrush.
What is Vaginal Thrush?
The vagina, like the rest of the body, contains a certain amount of yeast, and this is perfectly normal. The amount of yeast is kept under control by the good bacteria in your body. However, often changes in pH, or other conditions like weakened immune system or diabetes can contribute to a growth of extra yeast due to weakened or dead good bacteria. For women, the vagina is one place this is quite likely to happen. When the yeast grows beyond a certain capacity, this leads to discomfort and even pain in certain cases. And since menopause reduces the amount of normal vaginal discharge, this upsets the normal balance of the vagina, leading to a higher occurrence of infections.
Now that we have established that middle aged women are at a greater risk, we need to look into the management. And the management can be divided into two categories – detection and home treatment. And we’ll look into these two in detail now:
The symptoms of vaginal thrush or candida (as it is often called) are quite distinct. And since most women suffer from it at least once in their lives, the symptoms are very well documented. Here are the common ones that most women tend to notice:
- After Bacterial Vaginosis, it is the most common cause for vaginal discharge. So a discharge is one of the surest signs. The discharge tends to be thick, cottage cheese-like and white in color. At times, it may turn watery.
- The discharge usually doesn’t smell, but occasionally, it may smell of yeast, since the infection is being caused by a surfeit of yeast.
- Another common symptom is itching of the vagina and the surrounding vulva.
- Pain is also sometimes experienced together with discomfort and redness of the vulva area.
- Some women also complain of pain during urination or sexual intercourse as well.
If you notice a number of these symptoms – then you should consider thrush as a possibility. You can always visit a gynecologist, but thrush is usually not harmful. As a result, most women try simple O-T-C or home remedies, and in case the symptoms do not subside, they may see the doctor.
As we said, there are a number of things you can try (and which work in most cases) before you visit the doctor. But there are a few things which require immediate medical attention:
- If you are over 60 years of age.
- In case you are pregnant.
- If there is any bleeding along with the other discomforts.
- If the infection isn’t responding to even the OTC solutions.
- If the discharge starts to smell fishy.
- If there are any blisters or other visible symptoms other than the redness.
- If you are feeling unwell otherwise as well.
- If you have two or more recurrences in a period of 6 months, and you haven’t consulted a doctor for thrush for a year.
And now to take a look at what you can try… We’ll start with…
Here are a few commonly used remedies that seem to help most women:
- Natural yogurt suppositories – these can help to replenish the good bacteria.
- Natural yogurt application – while this isn’t always recommended, you can try it. Take some natural yogurt. Soak an applicator tampon in this and then apply it to your vagina.
- Some women also find relief by placing a peeled clove of raw garlic in the vagina while they sleep at night.
- Tea tree oil – make a diluted solution with tea tree oil and distilled water. Dip an applicator tampon in this and apply.
Besides these, there are a few OTC solutions, and we have 2 of the best here for you:
Orally, consuming probiotic strains like this can actually support your body in fighting the thrush. However, for infections that are more advanced, using a topical solution directly at the affected area can be a better idea. And therefore this next product:
|This cream is originally meant for Athletes’ Foot. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot be using it for thrush. In fact, people have actually used it and derived very positive results.
The cream contains a completely natural formulation. And this helps to kill the yeast that is causing the problem, without harming any of the present good bacteria. This means that with a few uses, the condition will improve and the discomfort will subside.
Again, people who used it found it to be very helpful.
Now, the thing to note is that these aren’t sure shot treatment options – and in case of a particularly resistant strain of thrush, these may not work quite as well. And in that case, you must see a doctor for the right treatment.
Remember, vaginal thrush isn’t a serious condition, and most women get it at least once in their life. But as you approach middle age, the risk increases, as do the changes of it turning into something more serious. So detect early, treat early and if need be, visit the doctor, just to be sure!