(Q) I’m continuously getting thrush and my boyfriend has it too. What can I do?
(A) Thrush is a common infection caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast or fungal organism which normally inhabits the intestines and vagina. For women, the most common symptoms of thrush are vaginal itch and discharge. With men, the penis may become irritated and red, especially after sex.
Thrush can commonly occur after a course of antibiotics. Eating large amounts of sugar can trigger an attack, so too can a heavy night on the booze. In addition, many women experience thrush prior to menstruation, when there is a change in vaginal pH.
What to do: Antifungal creams are helpful and available from chemists, but I find the old-fashioned douche works well. The latter-day version of the douche bag is a squeezable plastic sauce bottle, sans sauce. It sounds a little kinky, but it’s inexpensive and it works. Once mastered, the douche routine is simple. For four consecutive days, before you shower (night or morning) lie down in the bathtub, lifting your hips a little. Insert the nozzle of the douche bottle into the vagina and squeeze. Shower or bathe as usual.
Douche recipe: To 200ml of warm water add: one teaspoon of acidophilus powder (available from pharmacies) or contents of two capsules (to replace good microflora); three to five drops of tea-tree oil (a good antifungal, but optional if you are sensitive); 30ml of apple cider vinegar (to improve the pH balance of the vagina).
Thrush is easily transferred to and from sexual partners. Herbalist James Green suggests men perform a penis soak. Using the same ingredients as the women’s douche recipe, the male soaks his member in a glass and hangs in there for about five to 10 minutes.
In addition to the douche, reduce your sugar and alcohol intake. Take two capsules of acidophilus each morning, two garlic tablets after dinner (antifungal) and for a while avoid washing with soap, using tampons and wearing G-strings.
The best port of call, though, is always your GP, who will be able to advise a correct treatment plan for you.