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Vaginal conditions can be a challenge to diagnose correctly

Vaginal thrush

Vaginal thrush is one of the most common fungal conditions affecting the vulva and/or the vagina of everyone with a female anatomy.

Understanding vaginal thrush

Vaginal thrush

Vulvovaginal Candidiasis or thrush is one of the most common fungal conditions affecting the vulva and/or the vagina of female-anatomied people. It is believed to affect up to 70% of all women at least once in their lifetimes (1). Of that number between 5 and 9% of those women will go onto experience it recurrently or chronically, meaning they have experienced a flare up at least four times in a year. Interestingly, although sounding a small percentage, recurrent thrush globally impacts around 138 million women annually (2).

Thrush is caused by species of the Candida genus of fungi, most commonly Candida albicans. While these fungi live in most vaginas during adulthood without causing problems, when conditions are right the fungi can overgrow, causing thrush.

Thrush is one of the most common causes for vulvovaginal irritation and infection and can easily be mistaken for conditions such as bacterial vaginosis (BV), vulval dermatitis or aerobic vaginitis. Testing via swabbing is a key diagnostic that must be undertaken so the correct treatment can be used to regain control in this area.

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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