It can be irritating, disturbing, and sometimes very traumatic. And for a woman who is experiencing it for the first time, it could be very scary, not to talk of a virgin, who experienced it and became alarmed. This young girl, by the name Chioma, became concerned when she noticed she was having an irritating and itching discharge from her private part. What troubled her more was the fact that she had never had sex before, and from what she heard, one can only get such discharges from sexually transmitted diseases. She was soon informed at the hospital that what she was suffering from was vaginal thrush, also called candidiasis, and if well treated, leaves no room for worry.
Vaginal thrush, according to medical experts, is an inconvenient, irritating and a common problem which most women experience. It affects at least 25 per cent of women at some stage in their lives. A yeast called candida albicans causes thrush. Candida albicans can be a normal occurrence in the vagina and frequently causes little or no problems.
Experts say the woman’s body produces bacteria that help keep candida in check. But when the candida, which is yeast-like, multiplies and exceeds the body’s ability to control it, vaginal thrush can occur. “This can happen if you become ill or come under a lot of stress,” the experts affirm.
The chance of a vaginal yeast infection is increased if one takes antibiotics or uses contraceptive pills containing estrogen. Using contraceptive diaphragms, coils and sponges can also possibly increase the irritation.
Occasionally there can be an overgrowth of candida albicans and the above described symptoms of thrush can then occur. Frequently the symptoms can be managed easily by a combination of lifestyle changes and medication available from the pharmacy. Sometimes it may not respond to these measures and a visit to the doctor for a definite diagnosis and treatment is necessary.
The causes of this overgrowth vary from woman to woman. Diet, clothing, exercise, perfumed toiletries, immunity problems and sexual activity have all been implicated. Some people will find that excess sugar in their diet may precipitate an attack of thrush. For others, toiletries or chlorinated swimming pools may be the culprits. These chemicals may alter the normal pH balance of the vagina and allow thrush to occur. With the onset of the harmattan weather and lower temperatures those who are prone to thrush will need to be a little careful.