Unfortunately, we’re not talking about the little guy above. We’re talking about the other type of thrush, which is far less welcome in your (lady) garden.

Thrush is one of those things that most girls and women will go through at some point or other in their lives. Like thinking it’s a good idea to have a fringe, or kissing someone you already know is bad news.

Ok, but what actually is it?

Yeast naturally occurs in your vagina, but it’s a delicate balance. Put simply, thrush occurs when your vagina gets super excited and makes too much yeast.

To blast a popular misconception, thrush isn’t a sexually-transmitted infection – and nor does it only affect women. Virgins, nuns and men can all get thrush. We know it doesn’t make anything less itchy or uncomfortable, but it might help to know you’re not alone in this. A whopping 75% of women will experience thrush, with many (including the entire betty team, hiya) having thrush multiple times in their lifetime.

What does thrush look like?

If you have thrush you’ll generally feel itchy or sore around the entrance to your vagina (labia).

This pain might get worse when you go for a wee, and you might experience a burning sensation. Do not panic, nothing is on fire – it’s just some over-excited yeast.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Thrush is basically when your vagina gets super excited and makes too much yeast.
  • If you have thrush you’ll generally feel itchy or sore around the entrance to your vagina and you discharge might look thick and white.
  • Thrush isn’t a sexually transmitted infection that only affects women - virgins, nuns and men can also get thrush.
  • Luckily, thrush is super easy to treat. You can buy a treatment from the chemist, they’re generally behind the counter, so just ask the pharmacists who will be able to help you out.

Your discharge shouldn’t have a funky new odour (if you notice any unusual or fishy smells, it might be a common bacterial condition, so it’s probably a good idea to head to your GP) but it might look thick and white, a sort of… cottage cheese consistency. We’re sorry. But hey, at least it’s not a good cheese we’ve just ruined.

What causes thrush?

Sometimes thrush is completely unavoidable. For example, lots of women find that they develop thrush when they’re taking antibiotics (because that’s just what you need on top of being ill, sure).

However, if you find that you are getting thrush frequently, you might want to avoid using strongly scented soaps, bubble baths or shower gels anywhere near your vagina. You might also want to try wearing cotton knickers and changing your pad or tampons more regularly than normal, as thrush is more likely to occur when your vagina can’t breathe or is irritated by damp conditions.

And if you’re getting thrush more than once every six months – firstly, you poor thing, and secondly, it’s probably best to head to your GP for a quick chat.

Is it treatable?

Luckily, just like the garden bird, thrush is super easy to chase away. Mild cases of thrush often clear up on their own, but you can also buy a lot of great treatments from the chemist. They’re generally behind the counter, so just ask the pharmacist who will be able to help you out (if you’re confused, ask a person in a white coat. It’s a safe bet, unless your chemist is in a butcher’s shop).

You can get a cream that you use over the course of a few days, a one-time-only tablet or a combination of the two. Talk to the pharmacist about what will work best for you.

Now that’s sorted, maybe it’s time to draw up a pro and con list for the fringe.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds