What is Vaginal Thrush?

Vaginal thrush is a vaginal infection that may occur due to the growth of yeast called candida. 

As we are fully aware of infinite germs that live in our bodies and the environment. They are part of our lives, and many of them survive or live inside us their entire life. There are various germs that prove to be beneficial to us, and many can harm us in certain circumstances. Many germs have criteria for affecting our body when their growth surpasses a certain threshold. 

An important example of such germs includes candida from the family of fungi that causes vaginal thrush. Fungal germs love the warm and moist environment, along with airless spaces like women’s vaginas. Various areas of our body prove to be the perfect home for the growth of fungus, like skin folds where moisture accumulates and makes a thriving place for fungus. Certain species of candida live on our skin and do not pose any threat to the health of individuals until their growth exceeds the threshold. The fungal growth beyond the abnormal levels causes infections like vaginal thrush.

Vaginal thrush is not an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) but can be passed on to the partner during sexual intercourse. The infection or the vaginal thrush can lead to burning, itching, and abnormal discharge from the vagina. Women often complain of inflamed labia as well, and in some cases, there are no symptoms at all. 

Commonly inflammation and infections in the vagina occur due to the excess growth of bacteria and yeast in the outer female genitals. There are some phases in women’s life that make them more prone to vaginal infections, like pregnancy. Other conditions that increase the risk of vaginal inflammation and vaginal thrush are a weak immune system, surgeries, medications, and other medical conditions. 

It is important to make it clear that yeast infections get cleared up by getting appropriate treatment with creams and suppositories. 

Causes of vaginal thrush

Candida albicans

Vaginal thrush is caused by Candida Albicans, which is a type of yeast. They normally live in the mucosa of our genitals but do not cause any symptoms because of their small amounts. It is the healthy balance of microbes that matters in living beings, and medications can disrupt the balance, eventually causing the overgrowth of microbes. 

Hormonal imbalances

The hormonal imbalance is also related to the disbalance of microbes in our bodies. This is evident with the example of estrogen that increases at the time of pregnancy. Alternating levels of hormones increase the likelihood of developing fungal infections in pregnant women. This is true for the ones who take contraceptive pills that contain a combination of hormones affecting the natural levels of hormones in the body.


There are certain illnesses that pose a higher risk of developing infections or vaginal thrushes, like diabetes and AIDS (causing a weaker immune system). Other reasons for getting more vaginal thrush can be medications like antibiotics, hormonal therapy, steroids, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

Lifestyle factors

Various lifestyle factors also increase the risk of getting vaginal thrush in women, like wearing tight clothing, using panties made of non-breathable cloth, wearing synthetic clothes, failing to maintain hygiene during periods or not frequently changing sanitary pads or panty liners. Such habits make yeast thrive and grow faster, causing inflammation in the vaginal and other tissues. 

Infected partner

Some women get a vaginal infection from the sexual partner suffering from yeast infection on his penis head called the glans penis. This is the case when teh reproductively active woman gets a lot of fungus from outside that is not developing on her body itself.   

Symptoms of vaginal thrush

  • 1. Vaginal itching
  • 2. Unpleasant odour
  • 3. Burning sensation 
  • 4. Painful vagina
  • 5. Yellowish discharge

The vaginal lining becomes inflamed and red with a white coating. The above symptoms worsen with time as you approach your periods. In case the inflammation spreads to external genitalia like labia, those parts also get swollen and red. Infections often cause abnormal discharge with a characteristic chunky or watery appearance. There can be cottage cheese or curdled milk-like discharge. It is evident that sex is often painful if you are suffering from yeast infection. The painful peeing result if the infection spreads to the urethra. 

Vaginal thrush is among the most common vaginal infection in women. Three-fourths of women have a vaginal infection at least once in their entire life. The instances are found to be most common with pregnant or childbearing women. Women may also get vaginal thrush after menopause, and this may be due to medications or altered hormonal levels. 

In most cases, symptoms of vaginal thrush are mild and can go on their own. In others, there may be no symptoms at all. There are rare cases when the vaginal thrush becomes severe and can be treated without any complication with more intensive treatment. 


Serious complications of vaginal thrush are rare. Complications and recurrence mostly occur in individuals with weaker immunity. Cancer treatment or AIDS are more likely to make the condition worse and cause faster spread to other areas of the body like the urethra. 

In pregnant women, premature labour, premature birth, or miscarriage can also increase the risk of vaginal thrush. The infection may also pass onto the babies at the time of childbirth. The babies may get a nappy rash (due to diapers) or an inflamed lining of the newborn’s mouth.

Women with medical problems with their genitals often feel embarrassed to discuss the issues; as a result, they don’t consider treating them sooner. Such cases make the infection worse and increase the risk of affecting sexual partners and even others. 


The description of vaginal thrush symptoms helps in the diagnosis of the infection, and observing the lining is also included in the plain diagnosis of vaginal thrush. In case the doctor has to make sure about teh vaginal thrush and has to eliminate other similar infections, they take the vaginal discharge fluid as a sample to check for the growth of yeast. 

Further diagnostic tests are required to be done in women who keep getting infections and/or have severe vaginal thrush symptoms. It becomes important to get the diagnosis done for the partner also in case a woman is facing recurrent vaginal thrush symptoms.  


People with weaker immunity are advised to take medications for preventing fungal infections called antimycotic or antifungal drugs. 

Some women are advised to take antifungal medications when they are on an antibiotic regime as a precautionary measure. It is best to keep away from the sexual partner having a fungal infection and wait till the infection gets cleared up. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get rid of vaginal thrush?

Vaginal thrush can be overcome by getting antifungal medications, maintaining good hygiene, and avoiding sex with a partner having a fungal infection.

How will I get to know that I have vaginal thrush?

Some of the common symptoms that indicate that a woman is suffering from vaginal thrush are itchiness in and around the vagina, swelling in the genitals, and an unpleasant odour from the vagina. 

What could be the leading cause of vaginal thrush?

The main cause of vaginal thrush is the overgrowth of candida Albicans, which is a type of fungus. Other causes of vaginal thrush include sex with a partner suffering from a vaginal infection, unhygienic genitals, wearing a non-breathable panty, and using sanitary pads or pantyliners for long hours. 

How does a vaginal thrush appear in females?

The woman suffering from vaginal thrush may complain of redness and swelling inside and around the genitals. 

How to get relief from yeast infection faster?

It is important to discuss the issues related to genital health as well, as most women tend to ignore their medical conditions related to genitals that develop and cause complications. The faster the woman recognises and looks for the treatment of vaginal thrush, the easier it will get to treat it. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment helps get relief from vaginal infections faster.

Why does a woman keep getting vaginal thrush?

There may be several reasons behind recurrent vaginal thrush. Weak immunity and sex with fungal-infected partners are some of the most common reasons.  

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