It’s time we start talking more openly about thrush. Thrush is an extremely common and normal condition affecting most women at least once in their lives, yet shame and embarrassment can prevent women from seeking out the right advice and treatment. For over 40 years, Canesten has helped Australian women overcome their embarrassment, and feel empowered to take control of their intimate health needs. As Australia’s Number 1 Women’s Intimate Health brand*, Canesten offers a range of products and solutions for preventing, diagnosing and treating thrush.
Ask your pharmacist — they must decide whether this treatment is right for you.
*IRi MAT $ to 23/05/20
Now you know all about what a vaginal yeast infection is and how to treat thrush if you get it (and chances are you will, with around 75% of women experiencing it at some stage), let’s talk about how to help prevent thrush through diet and lifestyle.
Picture this: it’s getting cold, winter is really setting in in Australia. You’ve smashed out an early-morning workout on your yoga mat but haven’t had the time to switch out of your nylon tights before the first (stressful) work call of the day. So you slip on a jumper, settle into your office chair and turn the heat up so you can keep that post-yoga glow lasting all day.
Hungry but too busy to eat, you grab a coffee for breakfast and follow it up later with some bread slathered in butter. The perfect warm and toasty environment… for you and your vaginal yeast.
Synthetic fibers, humidity, sweat, eating poorly and stress are all factors that could cause thrush, alongside hormonal changes, overuse of chemicals in or near the vagina, and lack of sleep or a poor immune system. Getting on top of these things can create a healthy, happy environment for your vagina — and for yourself, too.
Here’s what we recommend:
The very first thing is: stop thinking of thrush as something to be ashamed about. It’s totally common, doesn’t harm you or your partner, is easily treatable and is experienced by 3-in-4 women. Switch your thinking from fear, ‘I made this happen and it’s going to come back’ to control, ‘this happened to me, but now I’m going to make sure it doesn’t happen again’. You’ve got this.
Now you’re in the right mindset, here’s how you can create a healthy vagina through a variety of diet and lifestyle changes.
Eat well, and often: Get your green veggies in, make sure you’re eating good-gut foods like sauerkraut, berries and nuts, and enjoy fatty fish like salmon where you can. Stay away from sweets, glutinous breads or dairy if you find thrush flare-ups coincide with the ingestion of these foods.
Drink the right stuff: We may love an alcoholic tipple, however, too much of the stuff can actually cause yeast infections, because alcoholic drinks often contain yeast themselves. Instead, stick to herbal teas where you can, especially during a thrush flare-up.
Stress less: Easier said than done, but getting enough sleep and keeping a calm, clear mind can ensure your bacteria and yeast balance stays in-tune. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even on weekends) and identify what it is that makes you calm.
For me, meditation just makes me anxious that I can’t keep a thought, but I identified that sketching calms my mind as it’s so ‘in-the-moment’. What’s the thing that brings you to the present and calms your heart rate, and how can you weave it into your everyday routine?
Feed your gut good bacteria: If you’re on antibiotics or get heavy periods, speak to your doctor about a potential probiotic that could regulate your gut, and vaginal, bacteria. A simple tablet once a day could be all you need to settle your tummy, and a good, healthy gut can improve your mental health, too.
Rest easy: If you feel even slightly unwell, follow the Australian Government guidelines and take a day off to rest up. Getting your immune system back up to its full potential will help it fight off Candida albicans, the additional yeast in your vagina that can cause thrush.
Go natural: Make the switch to cotton or bamboo underwear, so your vagina can ‘breathe’, especially during these toasty winter months when we turn up the heat and the layers. There are some great options that look cute and feel great online, it just takes a little research.
Take it up a step and go ‘au naturale’: When underwear is not needed in private, why not take it off altogether? Sleeping naked (on linen, cotton or bamboo sheets) allows your vagina to breathe fully, especially if you’re a sweaty sleeper. Plus, it can feel really good.
Trust the process: Step away from the douches and put down the body wash. Anything fragranced or designed to ‘clean your vagina’ is so not necessary. Your vagina does a wonderful job of self-cleaning, and a little warm water once a day is all you need to help it on its merry way. Anything extra and you could be unbalancing the pH levels and stripping essential oils (not the kind you get from an MLM online!).
Love yourself: This tip may seem a bit ‘phooey’, but I honestly rate it as most important. Grab your hand mirror, go into the bathroom, and throw one leg up on the counter à la Leandra Medine. Now look at your vulva in all its glory. Get to know what it looks like healthy — the outer labia majora, the inner labia minora, your vaginal opening, the clitoris and clitoral hood… these are your most feminine parts and you should know them intimately. This way, not only may you feel more empowered right now, but if something goes awry and you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason down there, you’ll be able to have a quick look and identify what needs attention. How great is that?
Looking back through that list, aren’t all those tips good for us as women — thrush or not?! Let’s break the stigma of yeast infections, take control of our vaginal health, and better ourselves for the sake of our lady parts.
Visit Canesten.com.au to learn more about the common causes and symptoms of thrush and the different treatment options available. You can choose from oral capsules, creams and pessaries to suit your individual needs.
If you think you might have thrush, try the Canesten Vaginal pH Self Test to confirm in seconds from the comfort of your own home.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Ask your pharmacist — they must decide whether this treatment is right for you.