Thrush is something that most people – particularly women – will experience at some point or another. It is unpleasant and uncomfortable, but in most cases, it is easy enough to treat.

Trush is the general term used to describe a common yeast infection in the vagina. It happens when there is an overproduction of Candida albicans in the vagina, and your body cannot keep it under control. Because the vagina is a moist area, it can be perfect conditions for fungus to develop.

Itching, soreness, and redness around the edges of the vagina, as well as a thick, creamy white, odourless vaginal discharge, are common signs of vaginal thrush.

How can thrush be treated?

ClotrimazoleClotrimazole is the main treatment for vaginal thrush. It works by killing the yeast fungus causing the infection.

Clotrimazole is commonly used to treat thrush in two ways. To treat the infection, a pessary or internal (intravaginal) cream is injected high into the vagina. Then, to alleviate the itching and soreness, a cream (usually containing 2% clotrimazole) is spread around the outside of the vagina. Many of the thrush treatments available come as a combination pack, with both of the above included. 

Clotrimazole is available on prescription and can also be purchased without a prescription from a pharmacy if you have been diagnosed with vaginal thrush by your doctor.

Other fungal skin infections can be treated with clotrimazole cream of a lower strength.

Does the treatment for thrush have any side effects?

Clotrimazole is unlikely to have any adverse side effects.  When used for the first time, it can cause some minor irritation occasionally. If you have any other symptoms, talk to your doctor for more details.

How to get the best out of your thrush treatment

Use clotrimazole exactly as instructed by your doctor or on the package. Keep in mind that finishing the course of treatment will help to prevent the infection from returning. If your symptoms do not improve after seven days, consult your doctor for the next steps.

A pessary can dissolve in the vaginal moisture overnight. If you have vaginal dryness, you may find any pessary bits that have not fully dissolved the next morning. This is nothing to be worried about but may mean that there has not been the full dosage.

The latex in condoms and diaphragms can be damaged by clotrimazole, so it is important not to rely entirely on these forms of contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. For at least five days after using the treatment, avoid sex or use alternative contraception. It is also important to remember that you can infect your partner if you have vaginal sex while you have thrush.

If your symptoms return after seven days, you can purchase another course of clotrimazole from a pharmacy. If you have more than two cases of thrush in a six-month span, you should seek medical advice. A different treatment option could be better for you. 

Although all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it should not be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please speak to your doctor.

Authored Jun 02, 2021 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
Reviewed Jun 02, 2021 by Prabjeet Saundh, MPharm