What is thrush?

Thrush is a vaginal infection, caused by an overgrowth of yeast that causes irritation, discharge and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva (vaginal opening).1 The fungus Candida albicans is responsible for most vaginal yeast infections. 2

Other causes may include hormonal changes e.g. pregnancy, certain antibiotics, medical condition e.g. diabetes, oral contraceptives or hormone therapy that increase oestrogen levels, cancer and cancer treatments.1,2  Thrush is also called vaginal candidiasis. Many women experience at least two episodes of thrush at some point in their lifetime. 1

Symptoms of vaginal thrush may include: 2

  • Vaginal itch, discomfort or irritation
  • Cottage cheese-like looking discharge
  • Redness and/or swelling of the vagina or vulva
  • Stinging or burning when passing urine


There are various topical (intra-vaginal) and oral medications to treat vaginal yeast infections. e.g. fluconazole, clotrimazole and miconazole. 1,3  If you have recurrent yeast infections, four or more within a year, you may need a longer treatment course and a maintenance plan. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for further medical advice.1

To reduce your risk of vaginal yeast infections, wear underwear that has a cotton crotch and doesn’t fit too tightly. It might also help to avoid: 1

  • Tight-fitting pantyhose
  • Douching, which removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protect you from infection
  • Scented feminine products, including bubble bath, pads and tampons
  • Hot tubs and very hot baths
  • Staying in wet clothes, such as swimsuits and workout attire, for long periods of time

It is important to see your doctor if you’re not sure if you have a yeast infection. By treating a yeast infection with the incorrect medication, you can actually prolong the real problem. You may even have bacterial vaginosis, in which case your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to help clear the infection. 4

Speak to your pharmacist or healthcare provider should you have any questions.

DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional

Name and business address of the holder of the certificate of registration: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd., Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07, 15e Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za. For further information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. IN2971/18


  1. Mayo Clinic. Yeast infection (vaginal. Overview. [online] 30 October 2018 [Cited] 5 November 2018. Available from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/yeast-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20378999?p=1
  2. SA Health. Government of South Australia. [online] 4 June 2016 [Cited] 5 November 2018. Available from URL: https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+conditions+prevention+and+treatment/infectious+diseases/thrush/thrush+-+including+symptoms+treatment+and+prevention
  3. Owen MK and Clenney TL. Management of Vaginitis. Am Fam Phys 2004;70(11):2125-2132.
  4. Do I Have a Yeast Infection, or Something Else? [online] 10 January 2018 [Cited] 12 November 2018. Available from URL: https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/do-i-have-a-yeast-infection?print=true 1/