Why do I keep getting thrush?
Let’s cut to the chase: You've got vaginal thrush. Or you’ve had it, thought you got rid of it,, but that bugger just KEEPS coming back! Don’t worry, we’ve got you.
It’s never a nice feeling when you’ve got some kind of infection down there, and thrush is just something that doesn’t like to give up.
We know it might feel a bit awkward talking about vaginal thrush with your pals, but believe it or not, there’s a high chance they’ve had it too. 3 out of 4 women will experience thrush in their lifetime.
So, to make you the knowledge queen of the pack, we’ve pulled together a short and easy guide to answer your burning questions, and hopefully, help you feel comfortable enough to have a conversation with the ladies.
What is thrush?
Vaginal thrush is a type of yeast infection, otherwise known as vaginal candidiasis.
Yeast is a naturally occurring fungus that lives within the vagina. When your system is a bit out of whack, the evil bacteria fights for some attention and overthrows the friendly bacteria, giving you vaginal thrush.
It’s pretty hard not to notice when you have vaginal thrush. If you’re suddenly a bit itchy and irritated down there, there’s a good chance you’ve got vaginal thrush or another infection. You might get a cottage cheese looking discharge, which can be thick, white or creamy, but doesn’t usually smell. So, if you’re noticing an odd ‘fishy’ smell, then you probably have bacterial vaginosis and not thrush.
Other symptoms might include pain during sex or a stinging sensation when urinating.
Why do I keep getting thrush?
Vaginal thrush is super common. About 75% of people will experience it during their life, with the cause varying from person to person. However, if you have it more than four times a year, this is considered recurrent.
One of the main factors behind vaginal thrush is hormonal imbalance. Oestrogen helps regulate the bacteria in your vagina, so a reduction in this hormone can lead to yeast thriving. A number of factors can cause a reduction in oestrogen. This change is most common during pregnancy and menopause,
Another common driver of vaginal thrush is antibiotics. Antibiotics’ job is to kill off bacteria, so with this, means destroying the good bacteria too. This imbalance means your vagina becomes very acidic on the pH scale, creating the perfect environment for yeast to thrive.
Not finishing previous treatment
If you’ve had vaginal thrush before and didn’t finish the full course, it’s possible you didn’t actually clear the last infection. It could even be that the treatment course wasn’t long enough or strong enough, meaning it didn’t kill off your vaginal thrush initially.
Weakened immune system
If your immune system is feeling a bit down in the dumps, it’s a lot harder for your body to fight off infection. There could be a number of reasons your body isn’t at its peak, such as an underlying condition, not eating a healthy diet or being on strong meds.
Being stressed might also be causing your recurrent vaginal thrush. Stress hormones weaken your immune system and the ability of your body to fight off infections.
There are probably some sneaky lifestyle factors you didn’t realise were the culprit behind your vaginal thrush. Not wearing breathable materials or changing out of wet or sweaty clothing creates a warm environment where yeast can thrive. Not regularly changing your underwear or menstrual products enough can also enable the bad bacteria to grow.
You know that hot bath you like so much, with candles, a glass of wine in hand and your favourite Netflix series? Even that oh-so-relaxing pool of hot soapy water could be the devil behind your recurring vaginal thrush.
Another common cause is over-cleaning your vagina, or douching (which you should never do!). Too much cleaning strips the vagina of its natural good bacteria and creates the imbalance that initiates vaginal thrush.
Vaginal thrush treatment
The good thing is usually vaginal thrush goes away by itself and treatment isn’t necessary. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take simple steps to prevent it in the first place, and avoid the need to be on medication. Consistently going on medication to treat an infection can cause your body to build resistance and make it less effective in the long term. With easy lifestyle changes, you can maintain a healthy vagina.
Make vaginal health a priority
While it's pretty hard to avoid vaginal thrush at least once in your life, it’s a very normal thing to experience and usually doesn't last too long.
But luckily, it’s also easy to take preventative actions, such as making simple lifestyle changes, to keep your vagina healthy (without the need to be on regular medication or consistent cycles of antibiotics!).
Vaginal health may feel like a taboo topic, but Arravite is proactively fighting the stigma to make women’s health a part of everyday conversation.
If you’re curious about taking probiotics to support your vaginal health, check out Probiotics Pro.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate. Do not use if cap seal is broken.