Thrush is not an STI but a yeast infection. It is caused by excessive growth of a harmless yeast in the vagina. Many women have this yeast in their bodies without noticing it. Treatment is only necessary if you develop symptoms.


  • Itching
  • Lumpy, smelly discharge that may look like cottage cheese
  • Swollen labia with a white coating
  • Pain when you have sex or pee

Men may have redness and dry skin at the tip of the penis. 

Thrush and pregnancy

A yeast infection in the vagina doesn’t have a negative effect on a pregnancy. It is likely to occur or return more often, particularly during the last months of the pregnancy.

How do you get it?

It is not clear why some women get thrush and others don’t. Thrush is mostly a vaginal infection. Sometimes the symptoms appear suddenly, for example when your body’s resistance is low because of stress, diabetes or using certain antibiotics or medication. Often the symptoms increase right before your period.

Some things increase the chance to get thrush symptoms:

  • If you use soap, or vaginal douching products to clean your vagina. (To clean your vagina, it is enough to rinse with water under the shower.)
  • When you leave your tampon in for too long, wear tight pants or underwear made of synthetic fabric.

Some women get thrush around the same time of their cycle every time you can pass thrush on to your partner when you’re having sex.


Thrush is easy to treat and you only have to get treatment if the symptoms bother you. Usually, you will be prescribed a cream to apply to your vagina or penis.  You may be given tablets to insert in the vagina. If the infection returns repeatedly pills may be prescribed.

Remember! Some vaginal creams and tablets may contain fats or oils. These can damage condoms.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your treatment contains any fats or oils.