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Thrush is an fungal infection usually caused by Candida Albicans. Candida naturally occurs in the vagina but if the acidity in the vagina changes. It can result in an overgrowth of candida, which then in turn can lead to symptoms.
Although it is more common in women, men can also develop thrush on the penis, more commonly in uncircumcised men. Thrush can be passed on through sexual intercourse, it is not classed as an Sexually transmitted infection. It can also be normal or passed on via skin to skin contact.
Many women will suffer with thrush at some point in their lives, with about 5% of those that will suffer with recurrent episodes. It is important to note that having thrush doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a problem with your immune system, although in recurrent or difficult to treat episodes, we would recommend testing for HIV and diabetes, just to be on the safe side. However, If you have any of the above two conditions thrush can be more serious.
- Recent antibiotic use
- Oral contraceptives
- Sexual activity
- Vaginal irritation, itching or soreness of vagina
- A thick white discharge
- Painful urination.
- A red patch or spots on the head of the penis
- Excessive smegma (the white stuff under the foreskin)
- Visual inspection
- Swab test from the affected site.
Usually straightforward with creams or a one off dose of antifungal tablets
Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
BV is the commonest cause of abnormal vaginal discharge in women of childbearing age. It is not necessarily a sexually transmitted infection. It is caused by an overgrowth of organisms such as Gardnerella vaginalis and Mycoplasma hominis in the vagina, which causes an imbalance in the vaginal flora.
Although not a serious condition, it can cause unpleasant symptoms, and may increase the risk of picking up other STI’s including HIV. These vaginal bacteria are the first line of defence, when it comes to warding off unwanted viruses and other bacteria. Besides any disturbances which can lead to symptoms and potentially increased risk of other infections. Furthermore, some women have frequent BV and it is also more common in some ethnic groups, women who use IUD’s for contraception and also in smokers. Although not classed as a sexually transmitted infection, it is more common in sexually active females.
Balanitis is an infection of the foreskin, caused by bacterial or fungal infection. Symptoms can include a red, itchy penile head or foreskin with or without swelling of the foreskin. In some cases difficulty in retracting the foreskin. As well as a discharge, usually with a strong odour
I have over 14 years experience providing sexual health screening and I offer a completely confidential, professional, non judgemental service from start to end. If you are not sure if you have been at risk, then I offer a normal consultation to discuss the possible risks and whether screening would be appropriate. We discuss and agree all costs beforehand so you know exactly where you stand and I will always provide you with clear and accurate advice based on current British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH )guidelines.