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Sexual health expert Dr. Catherine Hood answers a question on thrush in the company of Emma Howard.
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Emma Howard: Hello! We are answering questions on sexual health. I am joined by Dr. Catherine Hood. Hello!
Dr. Catherine Hood: Hello!
Emma Howard: Catherine, I have a question here from a young woman who says, I have contracted thrush three times in less than six months. Could this be a symptom of another condition?
Dr. Catherine Hood: Okay. The question -- yes she could. I mean the symptoms of thrush are very similar to symptoms of lots of infections. You get an increased discharge, irritation and soreness at the vulva area. Now, those symptoms could be described for lots of other things.
Emma Howard: Men can get thrush too, can't they?
Dr. Catherine Hood: Men can get thrush. They tend to get a rash over the top of their penis and under the foreskin, but it tends to go away quite quickly for men, sometimes it doesn't, and it can be usually treated. But for women, thrush is a real problem. It's just that women just get thrush, it's not necessarily sexually transmitted. It's caused by yeast that's normally present in the vagina, and just occasionally it grows out of control.
Now there are some women who are very, very prone to thrush and they can actually get it every single month, usually just before their period and the week leading up to their period. So to have it three times in six months doesn't make me panic. It doesn't make me think you probably want to do some treatment more regularly than just one-offs, and going to see a doctor can help with that so they can put you on a course of treatment that's a little bit more proactive than just going to the chemist and getting some cream.
Emma Howard: And there are lots of natural remedies that lots of women swear by for thrush like the natural yogurt with probiotic elements.
Dr. Catherine Hood: Yep, natural yogurt. You can dip a tampon in yogurt and flip it inside. Great for some people, some people find it a little messy. But it's -- you want to do. So I think the key thing is if you think you have got thrush, or you are getting a very thick discharge and you are getting itchy, go to the chemist and get yourself some treatment. You can either take a tablet or you can use a tablet that you insert into the vagina and some cream. If that doesn't work, and it keeps coming back or it doesn't actually solve the problem, go and see a doctor because it may not be thrush that's causing the symptoms.
Emma Howard: Very good advice, Catherine. Thank you very much indeed. Well, if you have a similar problem, we hope we might have given you some help. But remember, it's always best to go and see your own doctor for medical advice. Thanks for watching. We will be back with more health questions and answers.