Thrush is a yeast or fungal infection and most commonly occurs as vaginal thrush in women. It can be painful and embarrassing, and also has a tendency to re-occur.

It is also possible to get thrush in the mouth, regardless of sex or age. Men can also experience thrush in the genital area.

Click here to read more about thrush.

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Why does thrush occur?

The yeast which causes thrush thrives in warm places, hence why thrush occurs where it does. As a result of this it can also occur in places such as under the breasts or between the tops on the thighs in the groin area.

Causes of vaginal thrush

If the natural balance of candida in the vagina is disturbed and therefore multiplies, thrush can occur.

You’re more likely to get thrush if you:

  • Are 20-40 years old
  • Are pregnant
  • Experience vaginal dryness – thrush is not considered to be an STI but can be triggered by sex
  • Take antibiotics

Overall symptoms include:

  • Soreness
  • Itchiness
  • In the mouth – soreness with white patches which can be itchy

More specifically in women:

  • A ‘cottage cheese‘ discharge – generally odorless
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain during urination

If you have symptoms are you are not sure what they mean, click here to access the NHS’s Vaginal Symptoms Guide.


More specifically in men experiencing thrush in the genital area:

  • White patches, which are itchy

Thrush in babies

Babies can get thrush also, generally in their mouths.

If you are breastfeeding and your baby gets thrush in their mouth, you may have thrush in your nipple area and need to treat yourself also.

If you are bottle-feeding or use a comforter, ensure all bottles and dummies are sterilized.

Thrush during pregnancy

If you are pregnant and you think you may have thrush, click here to find out more. 


Most treatments are topical and therefore placed on the skin, or treatment can also be given as a pessary.

Read more about treatments for thrush here.

All forms of thrush can be treated by visiting the pharmacy for an over the counter treatment. A GP or nurse appointment is not necessary.

Word from our GP

  Thrush can be very unpleasant for woman particularly but occasionally causes few symptoms and can clear with time.

Watch out for the common symptom of a ‘cottage-cheese’ type discharge and soreness. If the discharge is different it may be something else, so see your GP.

Dr Justine Dawkins, Riversdale Surgery.

Things to remember

  • Thrush can affect anyone – men, women and children!
  • It is not necessarily a sexually transmitted infection, but vaginal dryness during sex can trigger it.
  • Thrush can re-occur so find a treatment that works for you by seeing your pharmacist.