AWARE Women's Health Snapshot: Vulvovaginal Thrush!



Such a common problem but rarely discussed! Here are some useful facts.

“Uncomplicated Thrush”:

  • “Thrush” is an infection caused by the Candida organism. It’s worth knowing that Candida can be present in some women without causing an infection or any symptoms at all.
  • When there is an infection, Candida causes inflammation of the vulva and vagina resulting in discharge, itch or burning. Ouch!
  • Thrush is easily diagnosed by having a vaginal swab taken.
  • 75% of women will experience a thrush infection sometime in their lives.
  • Infection usually responds quickly to “over-the-counter” treatments available at pharmacies but sometimes treatment will need to be repeated.
  • Oral treatments and vaginal treatments are equally effective.

“Complicated Thrush”:

  • 10-20% of women have symptoms which are severe, do not go away after treatment, or keep coming back. This is the time to visit the doctor!
  • Some health conditions make women more prone to getting thrush- for instance diabetes or pregnancy.
  • Recurrent episodes are treated with prescription treatments and longer courses of treatment, except during pregnancy.

When it’s NOT Thrush it could be:

  • Eczema or allergic dermatitis, most often from soaps or hair removal products
  • Contact dermatitis, from sanitary or continence pads
  • Skin conditions such as lichen sclerosus


AWARE Women’s Health