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NHS Choices Condition

Content supplied by NHS Choices

You will notice the symptoms of vaginal thrush in your vulva. The vulva is made up of the:

  • outer part of the vagina,
  • clitoris, and
  • two pairs of lips surrounding the entrance to the vagina, called the labia majora (the outer pair) and the labia minora (the inner pair).

The symptoms of thrush can include:

  • vulval itching,
  • vulval soreness and irritation,
  • pain, or discomfort, during sexual intercourse (superficial dyspareunia),
  • pain, or discomfort, during urination (dysuria), and
  • vaginal discharge - although this is not always present. The discharge is usually odourless and can be a thin, watery fluid, or thicker, white, and a similar texture to cottage cheese.

Vulvovaginal inflammation

As well as the above symptoms of thrush, you may also have vulvovaginal inflammation. The signs of vulvovaginal inflammation include:

  • erythema (redness) - of the vagina and vulva,
  • vaginal fissuring (cracked skin) - in severe cases,
  • oedema (swelling from a build up of fluid) - also in severe cases, and
  • satellite lesions (sores in the surrounding area) - this is rare, but may indicate the presence of another fungal condition, or the herpes simplex virus (the virus that causes genital herpes).

Types of thrush

Thrush may be described as being:

  • uncomplicated, or
  • complicated.

Uncomplicated thrush

Uncomplicated thrush is where you have only had a single episode of thrush or less than four episodes in a year. Your thrush is described as uncomplicated if your symptoms are mild, or moderate, and caused by the Candida albicans fungus.

Complicated thrush  

Complicated thrush is where you have four or more episodes of thrush in a year or where you have severe symptoms of vulvovaginal inflammation (see above). Thrush may also be described as complicated if:

  • you are pregnant,
  • you have poorly controlled diabetes (a long-term condition that is caused by too much glucose in the blood),
  • you have an immune deficiency (a weakened immune system) - for example, because you have AIDS (the latter stages of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus), or
  • the thrush is not caused by the Candida albicans fungus.
view information about Thrush on www.nhs.co.uk »

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The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


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