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A close-up illustration of the Candida Albicans yeast on a petri dish
Illustration of Candida Albicans yeast

Thrush is caused by a yeast called 'Candida Albicans' and is also known as also known as a 'yeast infection', 'candida', or 'monilia'.

How you get it

Your skin, including your vagina and penis, and the inside of your mouth may normally have a mixture of different bugs including 'yeasts' living there normally and causing you no trouble. However sometimes these yeasts start multiplying and make the part of the skin where they are - penis, vagina, mouth - very, very itchy.

A common reason for this happening is when you take antibiotics which kill of some of the normal bacteria on your skin and because these have been  killed off it allows the yeasts to grow more instead (yeasts are not normally killed off by antibiotics). People with diabetes are also more likely to get thrush because the yeasts like the sugar that is in the urine of people with diabetes. You can see from this that you do not need to have sex in order to get thrush! But you can also get thrush from having sex as well.

What goes wrong

Your penis or vagina gets really itchy and sore. A woman's normal vaginal ;discharges go lumpy like cottage cheese. It's very common and easy to sort out.

It's caused by

A yeast called Candida Albicans growing inside you. Yeasts infections can be passed on through sex, or it can happen when your body is out of its normal balance from:

  • taking antibiotics
  • having diabetes
  • being generally unwell

What to do

If there is any risk that you got thrush by having sex - see your Doctor as you ought to get checked out for other sexually transmitted infections. If it is the first time you think that you have got thrush - go to the Doctor to make sure that thrush is what it is. If it's not the first time, and you know what it is, then go to the pharmacist and buy a cream. Clotrimazole is the most popular.

If it doesn't clear up after a few days with this treatment then go and see your doctor. He or she won't tell anyone else - not even your mum. Sometimes girls when getting treatment wil need to use a special sort of tablet called a 'pessary' which she puts into her vagina, or a tablet that she needs to swallow. If the thrush keeps coming back, try to avoid nylon undies and tight trousers - just to keep the temperature down there nice and cool.