Causes of thrush in women

Vaginal candidiasis or thrush in women is a common gynecological disease that can be encountered at any age. The main reason is a decrease in the natural defense of the body, which allows the opportunistic pathogens living in the vagina to actively develop.

That is why even those women who are not sexually active face the infection.

By what signs can a woman suspect that she has candidiasis

What is thrush ladies know by uncomfortable sensations in the intimate area. This is a strong itching and discharge from the vagina, at first transparent, but after a few days turning into white, thick, cheesy.

It was the latter characteristic that gave candidiasis its popular name. In addition to the bright signs that appear a few days after the activation of the fungi, the patient is worried about the general deterioration in well-being, to which she cannot find an explanation.

The disease also affects men, but due to the physiological structure of their genital organs, its manifestations are less pronounced and they tolerate the disease more easily.

Thrush is subject to mandatory treatment, because. the neglected form is able to take a chronic course and disturb with frequent relapses, which affect the quality of life of the patient.

All manifestations of the disease

What the main signs of thrush in women may look like is known to everyone who has ever encountered it, but the symptoms are diverse, although not all are always observed at the same time.

Manifestations What are associated
Pain during sex The simplest microorganisms – Candida fungi, most often begin active growth on the mucous membrane of the vagina. As a result, erosions and sores, inflammations can appear on it, which cause pain during intercourse.
Swelling of the labia The inflammatory process always affects the blood vessels that permeate the intimate organs. In an effort to remove the toxic substances released by pathogens, the blood rushes more strongly to the site of the lesion.
Curdled discharge, white coating on the walls of the vagina Plaque is a rapidly growing colony of fungi. Discharge is a vaginal secret, the synthesis of which is enhanced in response to pathological processes in the genitourinary system. The type of kefir, curdled milk is given to them by the waste products of Candide, leukocytes (cells that protect the bloodstream), destroyed mucous epithelium.
Itching. burning sensation The food of fungi is glycogen carbohydrate, which, when broken down by pathogens, produces an acid that irritates the mucous membrane of intimate organs. In an effort to reduce sensations, ladies carry out water procedures, but after contact with water, the discomfort only intensifies. Drying the genitals with paper napkins helps to reduce irritating sensations.
Rashes on the external genitalia Fungi attack all components of the genitals, but on the skin, inflammations have other manifestations: affecting the epidermis, Candida forms acne filled with liquid. When they burst or are injured, the contagious contents spill onto healthy tissues and the rash spreads further.
Injury to adjacent parts of the body Together with sweat and secretions, fungi spread throughout the inguinal zone, continuing to multiply in suitable places. They find conditions for life in the inguinal, intergluteal folds. More often this complication affects patients with overweight.
Deterioration of the physiological and psycho-emotional state Symptoms of thrush tend to intensify at night, after an active day, during menstruation. In addition to manifestations in the genitourinary system, fever, fever, fever, chills can be observed. All these signs can affect the usual rhythm of life, psychological health, causing severe stress – girls become irritable, tearful, they are tormented by insomnia, lack of sleep, and deterioration of mental performance.
Complications The penetration of pathogenic microorganisms into the urethra leads to the development of infectious processes in other parts of the excretory system – the bladder, urethra. As a result – the occurrence of complications (cystitis, urethritis), pain in the lower abdomen.

Reasons for the development of the disease

Thrush in women and men has identical symptoms, but the reasons why it can occur are slightly different. In guys, the infection occurs from an infected partner during unprotected intercourse, there may be a reverse path – from a man to a woman, but it is rarely diagnosed.

Usually, the appearance of candidiasis is associated with a weakening of the immune system and an imbalance in the microflora of the genital organs.

Why else can thrush develop? The list of factors includes:

Internal causes

  1. Decrease in the body’s natural defenses as a result of past diseases: STDs, chronic pathologies, severe infections.
  2. Hormonal disruptions caused by:
    1. pregnancy
    2. menopause;
    3. breastfeeding;
    4. restructuring of the body in adolescents;
    5. diseases of the endocrine system.
  3. Taking certain medications: antibiotics, contraceptives, cytostatics , corticosteroids for menopause, infertility and other pathologies.
  4. Dysbacteriosis of the gastrointestinal tract – if the intestinal microflora is disturbed, fungi can affect the internal organs, and then move from the anus to the vagina;
  5. Dysfunctions of metabolic processes.
  6. Lack of vitamins, micro and macro elements.


  1. Changing climatic conditions – both female and male organisms are subject to fluctuations with a sharp change in the environment. Therefore, thrush is often encountered on vacation in southern and exotic countries;
  2. Incorrect selection of intimate hygiene products: shower gels and shampoos not intended for washing the genitals can upset the balance of microflora, provoke the growth of Candida;
  3. The use of panty liners – some of them prevent proper ventilation of the genital organs, which increases the humidity in the intimate area, which is considered a favorable environment for the growth of pathogens;
  4. Wrong underwear. If you walk for a long time in tight, rubbing underwear or things made of synthetic fabrics, small wounds will appear on the skin. Humidity and sweat will be an excellent environment for the development of bacteria and protozoa;
  5. High carbohydrate foods. Carbohydrates are food for fungi, and the more they are taken, the higher the likelihood of developing thrush. The list of undesirable products includes:
    1. bakery and confectionery products;
    2. strong coffee;
    3. sweet soda;
    4. sweet pastries;
    5. shop sauces;
    6. spicy and fatty foods.
  6. Excess weight. The skin folds that accompany overweight people are an excellent breeding ground for representatives of pathogenic microflora.
  7. Bad habits – smoking and alcohol abuse significantly affect the strength of the immune system.
  8. Vaginal dryness, sex toys, too active sex can provoke microtrauma of the mucous membrane of intimate organs, in which pathogens can develop.
  9. The deterioration of psycho-emotional health also affects the state of the body’s defenses.

The main consequence of the impact of these factors is a decrease in the number of beneficial microorganisms, lactobacilli, which form a protective coating that does not allow pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria and protozoa to multiply. The less lactobacilli, the more alkaline environment occurs in the intimate area, it leads to the activation of harmful cells.


Vivid symptoms of the disease make it possible to establish a diagnosis already at the first examination by a doctor, but a clinical examination is still necessary.

This is due to the fact that the signs of thrush, especially in the initial stages, are similar to the manifestations of other dangerous diseases that can be transmitted sexually. Therefore, it is important to accurately identify the pathogen.

Candidiasis is a serious blow to the body, it can provoke the development of dangerous sexually transmitted diseases. If candidiasis has developed again in a short time, a doctor’s consultation is mandatory, this is a sign of its transition to a chronic form.

Diagnostic methods

smear on flora

Designed to help in the study of the composition of the microflora of the vagina, the search for pathogenic bacteria – mycoplasmas, chlamydia, ureaplasmas , Trichomonas and others.

It is good if the result of the analysis shows single specimens of Candida and gardnerella and 90% of lactobacilli, it is bad when pathogenic microorganisms are detected.

Bacteriological culture

More reliable way.

  1. A swab taken from the vagina is placed in a special environment favorable for the growth of pathogens.
  2. After a certain period, they study the type of pathogen that has founded the colony during this time.
  3. Having identified the carrier pathogen, the specialist will also establish its sensitivity to drugs in order to select a medication for its destruction.


Another informative method is that a chemical solution is applied to the walls of the vagina, which stains the fungi in a different color. When examining the affected area with a special device – colcoscope , their colonies are clearly visible and look like grains of semolina.

During the diagnosis, it is important to determine the presence of candidiasis and its cause, which is why the doctor will definitely prescribe:

  • STD research;
  • analysis of feces for dysbacteriosis;
  • immunogram to assess the strength of natural protection;
  • checking blood sugar levels (diagnosing diabetes).

If candidiasis is neglected, with frequent relapses, it will be necessary to establish a chronic pathology that provokes such an uncomfortable complication. This will require expert advice.

Manifestations of candidiasis

Allocations with thrush are typical for the intimate zone, and for other parts of the body where there are mucous membranes.

Damage to the genitourinary system

This is a classic type of disease that can affect an adult, a small child, and even a newborn baby.

The reason for the infection of babies, especially early years and months of life, is non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene of parents. This is a dream in one bed, the use of a common towel by all family members and others.

Oral thrush

This pathology is better known as stomatitis – inflammation of the oral mucosa. Where does it come from? Usually, infection occurs during childbirth, if the pregnant mother has not cured the disease before the baby is born.

It manifests itself in the form of a white coating on the cheeks, gums, tongue, anterior parts of the throat, after the removal of which ulcers and erosion remain.

In addition to visible signs, a characteristic “milky” smell is heard from the mouth of a newborn, he is anxious, whiny, sucks poorly, which makes breastfeeding difficult.

Candidiasis of smooth skin and skin folds

It manifests itself in the form of extensive inflamed areas strewn with papules, pustules and vesicles with liquid. Capable of hitting:

  • large skin folds (under the breast, in the groin, between the buttocks);
  • interdigital space of hands and feet;
  • hair follicles of the armpits, mustaches, beards, less often hair on the head;
  • skin under plaster bandages;
  • perineum in breasts.

Visceral candidiasis

Systemic disease of the urinary and reproductive system, which can affect:

  • lungs, bronchi;
  • gastrointestinal tract;
  • heart and blood vessels;
  • brain;
  • spleen;
  • soft tissues of the musculoskeletal system.

It develops as a complication of classic thrush, which the patient did not treat or violated the doctor’s instructions. Each type has its own symptoms, the common ones are:

  • fever, fever;
  • small red spots on the skin, covered with scales;
  • change in the nail (thickening, yellowing, cracking);
  • cheesy plaque on the mucous membranes of external organs;
  • inflammation and narrowing of the circumference of the foreskin in men (phimosis).

Chronic generalized candidiasis

Another complication of classic thrush, affecting the main internal organs of the patient, but differing from the visceral one in that such pathologies serve as an impetus for its appearance:

  • viral infections – mononucleosis, AIDS, HIV;
  • malignant processes;
  • diseases of the endocrine system that provoke a violation of metabolic processes;
  • deficiency of essential micro and macro elements (avitaminosis);
  • a long course of potent medications (antibiotics, immunosuppressants).

The bad habits of the patient – drug addiction, alcoholism play a big role.

intestinal candidiasis

Fungal infection of the genus Candida in the lower gastrointestinal tract. It appears as:

  • stool disorders (severe diarrhea);
  • increased gas formation;
  • pain syndrome in the abdominal cavity of a different nature;
  • ulcerative colitis;
  • fungal sepsis.

Candidiasis is a very contagious disease that can quickly affect the mucous membranes of different parts of the body that are close to the source of the pathology, but also the smooth epidermis. The first thing to do when the very first symptoms of candidiasis appear is to immediately consult a doctor.

Treatment of candidiasis

This is a complex process, an error in which can lead to the development of a chronic form of the disease and the loss of sensitivity of fungi to popular and effective drugs. How to properly treat thrush? Only by methods chosen by the urologist or gynecologist.

Tablets for thrush

Oral drugs (tablets, capsules) have an advantage over topical agents – they relieve the manifestations of the disease during the first three days of treatment.

The second plus is that they will ensure the destruction of pathogens in all internal organs, and not just in the intimate area, which will reduce the risk of relapse. With a mild course of the pathology, it is enough to take one drug, with a severe course, a combination of several drugs should be carried out.

The most effective fight against Candida is carried out:

  • Fluconazole ( Forkan , Diflucan , Flucostat , Difluzol ) – a single pill is indicated;
  • Ketoconazole ( Nizoral );
  • Pimafucin ( Nitamycin );
  • Miconazole ( Micatin );
  • Nistanin .

On average, the regimen involves 1-4 tablets per day, the course is designed for 5-14 days. It should be noted that both partners must be treated for thrush, otherwise the infection will be transmitted again with each unprotected sexual contact.

These drugs are contraindicated for women in all trimesters of expecting a baby. They are able to influence the development of the fetus or the course of the most delicate situation: pregnancy can freeze or spontaneously terminate, go into premature birth.

Topical preparations

Local remedies for thrush are gels, vaginal tablets, solutions and suppositories. Most of them are allowed during pregnancy, because. has a low toxic effect and does not have a systemic effect on the body. The list of popular candles for candidiasis includes:

  • Natamycin is the safest but most expensive medicine allowed for expectant mothers;
  • Clotirimazole is an inexpensive drug that allows you to forget about thrush for a week;
  • Isoconazole is a highly effective remedy that eliminates the symptoms and cause of the pathology in 3 days;
  • Miconazole is a drug with a mild effect, therapy is designed for 2 weeks, but is possible during pregnancy;
  • Nystanin – vaginal tablets, designed for a ten-day course of therapy.

Candles and tablets are inserted deep into the vagina before going to bed, after hygiene procedures. If you enter the suppository to the middle of the vagina, there is a risk of relapse and complications of the disease. After the procedure, it is recommended to lie down for 30-60 minutes.

In severe cases of the disease, it is recommended to treat the mucous membranes of the genital organs with antiseptic solutions – Miramistin , Sodium Tetraborate (borax) to enhance the effect of local preparations.

Folk recipes

On many forums on the Internet dedicated to the fight against candidiasis, you can find non-traditional methods of treating thrush and reviews of girls who have used them on themselves.

Traditional medicine also gives good results in the treatment of an unpleasant pathology, but not all traditional recipes can be effective for a particular patient.

The wrong choice of technique can cause the development of the chronic stage of the disease and such complications of the reproductive system as:

  • failure of the menstrual cycle (delay or increase in bleeding, its intensification);
  • the inability to become pregnant as a result of such a failure or fungal infection of the fallopian tubes, the appearance of adhesions, cysts, neoplasms in them.

Therefore, before embarking on such a relatively safe and free treatment, you need to assess what price you will have to pay in the end. Any prescription should be discussed with the treating specialist.

Popular home remedies include:

  1. Soda baths. A handful of sodium bicarbonate is dissolved in warm water and dipped into it for 10-15 minutes or washed with the resulting solution;
  2. Healing herbs are effective for any disease. Equal parts will help from thrush:
  • oak bark ;
  • chamomile;
  • knotweed;
  • nettles.

Of these, a decoction is prepared in 1 liter of water and washed with it twice a day.

  1. Sea buckthorn oil swabs made from sterile cotton can replace ointment or antiseptic solution and enhance the effect of suppositories and vaginal tablets.
  2. You can lubricate the affected mucosa with a solution of honey with boiled water in a ratio of 1 to 10.

For the entire duration of therapy, cosmetic products for intimate hygiene should be abandoned, it is better to replace them with laundry or tar soap. Douching for any course of thrush is not recommended, because. fluid pressure promotes the penetration of fungi into other parts of the genitourinary and reproductive system.

Nutrition and diet

Recommendations of doctors, incl. people’s doctor Elena Malysheva are unambiguous – exclusion from the diet will help to cope with the disease faster:

  • flour and rich products;
  • sweets;
  • spicy, sour, salty foods;
  • fatty and fried foods;
  • sweet carbonated drinks;
  • caffeine.

Factors provoking the aggressiveness of the fungus

Normally, fungi of the genus Candida are found on the mucous membranes of every person, but their growth is inhibited by the immune system. The aggressiveness of opportunistic microflora is provoked by factors that weaken the defenses:

  • hypothermia;
  • taking strong drugs;
  • long illness in an acute form;
  • malnutrition and vitamin deficiency;
  • bad habits.

Complications of thrush with improper treatment

Violation of the rules of therapy or refusal of treatment leads to the development of:

  • chronic form of candidiasis;
  • dysfunctions of the reproductive system (menstrual irregularities, infertility);
  • the development of severe forms of candidiasis – systemic, generalized;
  • during pregnancy – premature birth or self- abortion , infection of the child.

Preventive measures

Prevention of thrush is:

  • compliance with the rules of personal hygiene and cleanliness of intimate relationships;
  • strengthening immunity;
  • smoking cessation, alcohol abuse.

You should also attend preventive examinations more often in order to identify all diseases in the early stages and completely cure them, as well as consult a doctor at the first unpleasant symptoms, and not self-medicate.

What do gynecologists say

Albina Romanova, gynecologist

Thrush is the most popular gynecological disease of our time, every fourth woman in our country has encountered it, in a third of patients the disease becomes chronic.

Dmitry Lubnin , obstetrician-gynecologist, MD

Candidiasis – bright white discharge, similar to granular cottage cheese, accompanied by severe swelling and redness of the external genitalia, cracks in them. Itching with candidiasis is very strong and is felt both outside and inside the vagina. At the same time, similar symptoms are characteristic of other STDs.


Although candidiasis is not a sexually transmitted disease, its danger to health is great. He is also able to be transmitted to a sex partner, and the complications provoked by him are not always possible to cure. Therefore, it is extremely undesirable to delay the visit to the doctor, as well as to violate his recommendations for combating the disease.

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