Thrush is caused by a fungal infection occurring in the mouth or the vagina and occasionally as a complication to nappy rash. Oral thrush is most common in babies in the first few weeks of life, and in older children and adults who just complete a course of antibiotics or inhaled steroid therapy. Diabetics often develop thrush, as do pregnant women – both of these should see the pharmacist.
Oral thrush affects the surface of the tongue and the insides of the cheek – white patches known a “plaques” are formed which resemble milk curds, except they are not so easily removed and may bleed if they are scratched. Nappy thrush shows as red papules on the outer edge of the nappy rash area and in the skin folds.
Vaginal thrush affects the vagina externally or internally and a white creamy yellow discharge is often produced. The vulva may be very itchy, sore, inflamed and swollen. If the discharge is a different colour you may not have vaginal thrush at all and you should visit your GP.
Oral thrush – oral thrush in babies between 6 weeks and 2 years should be seen by your GP.
For vaginal thrush, we recommend the use of an anti-fungal cream or powder and pessaries. All these products are available in the CANESTEN range. The cream and powder are suitable for external thrush whereas the pessaries, which are inserted vaginally, are effective in the treatment of internal thrush. For external thrush, the cream used together with the powder is most effective in controlling the condition. Annoying itch with this condition can also be helped using LANACANE, a local anaesthetic cream that will deaden the itch while the anti-fungal preparation is killing the fungus.
For nappy thrush, we recommend the use of an anti-fungal cream to control the thrush before a return to CALDESENE and CALDEASE to control nappy rash in the ordinary way.
TEA TREE oil in the bath water (just a few drops) can also be very effective in the treatment of vaginal thrush.
If it is you first time you have thrush, you should visit your doctor. This is because other conditions may resemble thrush and you should have a doctor confirm the diagnosis. The same applies to pregnant women. During pregnancy, the vaginal secretions may resemble thrush infection and you should visit your doctor for confirmation that it is indeed a thrush infection.
Oral hygiene is essential after oral thrush to prevent recurrence, a good mouthwash, such as ORALDENE should be used just after recovery.
Several vitamins and organic supplements (e.g. Acidophilus) can be very useful in the treatment and prevention of thrush. A good steriliser is important for any child with thrush.
- A breastfeeding mother feeding a child with oral thrush should apply a small amount of anti-fungal oral gel to the nipples prior to feeding to prevent re-infection in this way. A good steriliser is essential if the child is bottle-feeding.
- Care must be taken to continue treatment for 2 days after the symptoms of oral thrush have cleared and 5 days in the case of vaginal thrush. In the latter case the male sexual partner should also be treated even if he has no symptoms.
- Cotton underwear is better than synthetic in the prevention of vaginal thrush. Synthetic underwear on women and plastic pants on babies can cause thrush, both giving the fungus the warm, moist conditions in which it thrives.
- During vaginal or nappy thrush infection, soap, disinfectants and perfumed toiletries must not be used, as they may aggravate the condition – we recommend the use of OILATUM JUNIOR or ELAVE for babies and VAGISIL for women in these situations.