Causes of Thrush to the Genitals

November 12, 2012

Causes of Thrush to the Genitals

Thrush is the common name for candida or a yeast infection. Thrush of the genitals is common, especially in women. In the UK, thrush is the second leading cause of unusual vaginal discharge in woman. (Bacterial vaginosis is the leading cause.) In adults, thrush can also occur in the mouth or the breasts of nursing mothers. Thrush is contagious, so anyone with genital thrush should refrain from having sex until he or she is cured. One of the causes of thrush is sex with an infected person. Symptoms of thrush include burning or stinging pain during urination, strange odorless discharge from the genitals and extremely itchy, swollen or red genital skin. Skin around the anus can also be affected. Women can experience pain during sex. These symptoms are similar to some sexually transmitted diseases or a urinary infection. It is best to let a medical professional diagnose your illness and not to assume that your symptoms are due to thrush. About Candida Candid species are the leading causes of thrush. Many species from the fungal (yeast) family Candida live in harmony with the human body. Normally, bacteria also present on or in the body helps keep Candida species under control. But sometimes these bacteria are killed off or are ineffective against over breeding by some species of Candia, including Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis and Candida glabrata.

There are many medical causes of thrush or reasons why the Candida fungal species will multiply rapidly in the genitals or skin. Some people may only need one to tip the internal chemical balance in Candida, but many people need at least two of these causes of thrush to occur simultaneously:

  • Extreme stress

  • Pregnancy

  • Sex with a person already infected with thrush

  • Malnutrition, which also causes stress

  • Having a compromised immune system from a severe illness like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, mononucleosis or cancer

  • Taking a medication that kills good bacteria.

Although pregnancy is one of the most common causes of thrush in women, thrush will not cause birth defects or damage the mother’s reproductive system. Doctors and obstetricians usually will not give oral tablets to pregnant women because of risks to the fetus or the pregnancy. If you are unsure that you are pregnant, please tell your medical professional before taking the pills. Medicines Many antibiotic medications kill off good species of bacteria, including the types that keep yeast in check. Chemotherapy drugs can also aggravate or contribute to chronic thrush, but do not stop taking the medications. Thrush may be aggravating but it is easily treatable. Cancer, however, is not. Other medications that are known causes of thrush are immunosuppressants or those that suppress the immune system; medicines made from hormones such as estrogen replacement therapies; fertility drugs; steroids; and a popular class of painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as naproxen or ibuprofen. Do not just stop taking your medications because this could cause side effects. Talk to your doctor about thrush treatment or if it is possible to reduce your dosage.

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