Thursday, February 3, 2011


Have you ever experienced a lady who hesitantly approached the counter and asked for a treatment we can recommend for vaginal irritation? Oh, I believe in some cases, the male Pharmacist will hand over this situation to his fellow female Pharmacist on duty. Yeah, I know it’s a bit off topic for male, but unfortunately this is one of the many cases we should be familiar with.

If you want to recall thrush I am talking about, here it is...

Thrush is an infection caused by yeast called Candida. Small numbers of Candida lives on the skin and around the vaginal area. Aside from vagina, other areas of the body including mouth, groin, and nappy areas in babies are prone to Candida. Common inquiries in the pharmacy are oral thrush and vaginal thrush.

 Oral thrush is a Candidal infection in the mouth.

Who usually gets Oral Thrush?
Candida commonly lives on healthy skin and in health mouth but due to certain conditions that promote overgrowth of Candida, oral thrush occurs.
1.      babies in their first few weeks of life
2.      older children
3.      adults who have completed their treatment with antibiotics
4.      adults undergoing steroid tablets or inhaled therapy
5.      Diabetic
6.      people wearing dentures
7.      people who lacks in iron, folic acid or Cobalamin (Vit B12)
8.      anyone having poor immune system
9.      smokers
10.  people with dry mouth due to lack of saliva

The usual symptom is white patches that become plaques when form larger spots. The colour can be yellow or grey. But in different conditions stated above, symptoms may vary.

Vaginal thrush can be externally or internally with a creamy white discharge or can be watery sometimes. The outside of the vagina (vulva) can be very itchy, painful, and swollen with redness and can cause discomfort. Symptoms can be slight and can clear up on their own. In case the discharge has different colour, the patient should be recommended to visit the GP.Thrush does not harm the vagina. It does not spread to injure the uterus (womb). It does not harm baby of pregnant woman.
Who are prone to Vaginal Thrush?
Vaginal Thrush can be common to the following woman but in most cases it is develop for no understandable reason.
1.      Pregnant
2.      Diabetic
3.      Woman who have taken antibiotics.
4.      People with poor immune system like those undergoing chemotherapy.
5.      Woman who are taking high dose of steroids.

·         For oral thrush in babies between 6 weeks and 2 years should be seen by Pediatrician.
·         For vaginal thrush, the use of an anti-fungal cream, power, solution, vaginal tablets/pessaries or vaginal suppositories is recommended.
·         Use of few drops of tea tree oil in the bath water can also be useful in the treatment of vaginal thrush.
Other conditions may be similar to thrush so if it the person suffers thrush for the first time, it is always recommended to confirm the diagnosis with the doctor. This is also true for pregnant women.

Practical Points (We can use this in counselling our customers.):
·         In order to prevent recurrence of oral thrush, oral hygiene is very important. Consider the use of a good mouthwash after recovery from the condition.
·         Taking of vitamins and other organic supplements can be very helpful in the treatment and prevention of thrush.
·         Regularly sterilize all the feeding equipments especially feeding bottles, dummies and mouth toys of babies.
·         Avoid using of soap, perfumed toiletries and disinfectants during vaginal or nappy thrush infection. Use of non-soap preparation like Oilatum and Cetaphil is recommended.
·         In prevention of vaginal thrush, always use cotton underwear. Synthetic underwear can promote warm, moist conditions in which fungus increase numbers.
·         After the symptoms of oral thrush have cleared, continue treatment for 2 days. For vaginal thrush continue treatment for 5 days.

Do you have anything to share about this topic? Feel free to comment.

These are just prevention tips, practical points and not substitutes for doctor’s opinion. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment. 

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