Thrush – the common name for genital candidiasis – is a yeast-like fungal disease caused by candida albicans, a conditionally pathogenic flora.
In modern conditions, the disease has become quite common due to the widespread use of antibiotics, a decrease in immunity and the influence of an unfavorable ecology.
Candidiasis can affect the skin and mucous membranes, internal organs, and in especially rare and severe cases, there may be sepsis.
Thrush in everyday life is usually called the defeat of the mucous membranes of the genital organs.
The cause of thrush is the increased and uncontrolled growth of the fungi of the genus candida albicans by the immune system, which gives rise to the symptoms of the disease.
These fungi are permanent inhabitants of the skin, mucous membranes in the mouth and pharynx, genitals and digestive tract.
The settlement of these microorganisms occurs literally in the first hours of the birth field, along with other microflora of the skin and mucous membranes.
Also, candida albicans fungi live in the external environment – on the surface of vegetables and fruits, in water, in dairy and other products.
Onset of infection
In the case of thrush, it is not entirely correct to talk about infection as such, a person is a permanent owner of these microorganisms.
The growth and development of thrush restrains the health of the skin and mucous membranes, the normal functioning of systemic and local immunity, the correct metabolism and hormonal balance.
Thrush is provoked by such phenomena as:
- imbalance of hormones (estrogens, adrenal cortex hormones, corticosteroids),
- long-term and irrational use of antibiotics and antifungal agents,
- the presence of diabetes mellitus and associated metabolic disorders,
- long-term illnesses – tuberculosis, oncology, HIV.
The theory of exogenous (external) infection with thrush during sexual intercourse, during direct contact with patients and when using common objects is not supported by all doctors, although this is not excluded.
As mentioned above, thrush is the development of an infection in the genitals. However, candidiasis is a broader concept.
Local manifestations include:
- candidiasis of the mucous membranes of the mouth, lips (oral candidiasis),
- vaginal candidiasis in women,
- candidiasis of the urethra in men,
- nipple candidiasis,
- candidiasis of the skin, feet, hands, nails,
- intestinal candidiasis.
This article will focus on the symptoms of thrush, i.e. lesions of the vagina in women and the urethra in men.
The manifestations of candidiasis in each case largely depend on the degree of suppression of immunity. Of the general, characteristic symptoms, one can single out:
- itching and burning,
- swelling of the skin or mucous membranes,
- redness and some soreness in the affected area,
- the formation of a film, curdled, crumbly plaque, with a sour smell, white or milky.
Thrush usually manifests itself in both men and women:
- with frequent change of sexual partners
- in the presence of diseases of the genital area
- with frequent and long-term illnesses, with severe stress
- when taking antibiotics
Especially often, thrush occurs in pregnant women due to fluctuations in the level of sex hormones and changes in the vaginal environment.
Thrush in both women and men manifests itself in the same way:
- a feeling of itching and burning in the genital area,
- redness and swelling of the labia or urethra, which may worsen after washing and thermal procedures,
- the release of a tiny white or yellowish bloom with a sour smell.
Pain and cramps may occur during urination (in this case, cystitis must be excluded), as well as discomfort and soreness during intercourse.
Itching of thrush and discharge can be so severe that it disrupts the patient’s normal life.
The basis of the diagnosis is typical complaints and clinical manifestations of candidiasis, but the symptoms of thrush can be similar to many other diseases, therefore, laboratory confirmation of the belonging of the infection to candidiasis is necessary.
Most often, to isolate candida and determine its sensitivity to antifungal agents, they carry out:
- microscopy of a smear discharge from the vagina in women and from the urethra in men
- sowing from the skin, mucous membranes and intestinal contents (if other forms of candidiasis are suspected)
Also, PCR methods are carried out with the determination of the DNA of the fungus and immunofluorescence with the presence of candidiasis.
Gynecologists are involved in the treatment of thrush in women, and urologists in men.
It is unacceptable to treat thrush on your own, and especially with the use of antifungal drugs without consulting a doctor. Folk remedies are also ineffective in the treatment of thrush.
In addition, it is worth remembering that candidiasis is a disease closely related to the problems of immunity and hormonal metabolism, therefore, therapy should be carried out in conjunction with the treatment of the underlying disease.
The main methods of treatment are local action on the fungus and systemic therapy.
Solutions, ointments and creams with antifungal components are applied locally, they are applied to the affected surfaces as directed by a doctor.
Even if the visible signs of thrush have disappeared, it is necessary to undergo a course of treatment completely in order to destroy the spores of the fungus.
In the treatment of thrush, the following drugs or their analogues are used:
With severe and persistent symptoms, antifungal spectrum drugs can be used internally.
Today, there are powerful drugs that help cure thrush with just one tablet, but this method of treatment is not suitable for all patients and requires mandatory prior consultation with a doctor.
During the treatment, you need:
- a special low-carb diet,
- sexual rest,
- immunostimulating therapy,
- treatment of the underlying disease, which led to a decrease in the body’s defenses and, as a result, to candidiasis.
The prognosis for the treatment of thrush is favorable, the disease in most cases is cured completely, but relapses are possible with a decrease in immunity.