What is candidiasis?
Candidiasis (or thrush as it is often called) is an infection caused by a yeast called Candida Albicans. Candidiasis is not usually sexually transmitted, so partners normally don't require treatment.
What are the symptoms?
In women an abnormal white or creamy yellow vaginal discharge. It's quite thick, with a slight yeasty odour. The skin around the vagina may become red, inflamed, itchy and may extend to around the anus. Men can also develop thrush on the foreskin and head of the penis as an itchy rash. This is called balanitis.
It's normal for men and women to have small numbers of this yeast in the genital area but a range of factors may cause the yeast to overgrow and symptoms can develop. Some of these factors include: recent antibiotics, diabetes, pregnancy soaps and detergents used in the genital area, tight clothing that promotes excessive sweating.
How is it diagnosed?
Most candidiasis can be diagnosed by a simple genital examination, but can also be confirmed if necessary, by a swab from the affected area.
How is it treated?
Most symptoms of candidiasis may be relieved with antifungal creams and pessaries (tablets which are inserted into the vagina).
Some women may experience severe or recurrent candidal infections. This problem should be discussed with a doctor or clinic nurse who will investigate and manage any underlying condition and explore other treatment options.
Some of the following suggestions may be helpful:
wear cotton underwear
avoid tight fitting underwear or pants
avoid wearing pantyhose or tights
uncircumcised men should wash (with water only) and dry under their foreskin daily
avoid excess use of antibiotics or request candida treatment when prescribed antibiotics
pay careful attention to drying wet or sweaty body creases
What about treating partners?
Partners don’t normally require treatment however; if a partner has symptoms both should be assessed and possibly treated.