Why Thrush Is Completely Normal and Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

I am all about health literacy. Knowing the ‘why’ behind your symptoms and treatments, rather than just the ‘how’. The more we know about our bodies and how they work, the better we can optimise them — or just treat them a little nicer — to ensure we’re feeling our best as often as possible.

This is why I think it’s time thrush had a bit of a marketing makeover. We used to be afraid to talk about self-pleasure or periods, however now these things have become normal, destigmatised, and only in recent years since women started talking to each other about their experiences. Now, it’s thrush’s turn.

First of all, thrush is nothing to be embarrassed about. As with any health item, the more informed you are on the topic, the more you can make informed decisions. In this case, educating yourself about thrush will help you realise it’s totally common. More women in your circle will have had thrush at some point in their history than you may think. In fact, 3-in-4 women experience thrush at some point in their lifetime. Pretty common for something we don’t talk about, huh?


3-in-4 women experience thrush at some point in their lifetime.


When you first experience thrush, you may mistake it for something different, like a sexually transmitted infection (STI). This is because it can share symptoms with conditions that have had a bad rep and also because our sex education in high school pretty much covered off how to slip a condom on a banana and that was it. Rarely would your sex educator talk about other conditions than STIs or pregnancy. Yet there’s a lot more going on down there.

Of course, everyone is different and has varying levels of comfort discussing their reproductive organs and sexual history with their girlfriends or family. That’s completely fine – you do you, however please if you take just one key thing from this article, let it be that you’ll stay informed of your own health conditions. Information = power. I can tell you that there is nothing more freeing than discussing your sexual health with a like-minded woman who can give you advice and let you know you’re not alone when something lumpy, bumpy or burning shows up. Whether that person is your best friend, your mum or your GP is up to you. Just find her and never let her go!

I liken thrush — or as it’s also known, a yeast infection — to gut bacteria. About five years ago, good gut health became popular. Everyone was dishing out a little bit of fermented sauerkraut to the side of their plate, talking about colonics and taking probiotics to ensure their ‘good bacteria’ was maintained in our tummies so that the effects were felt throughout our whole body, including mental health, skin conditions and bloating. The daily water with lemon has been replaced with a kombucha and it’s all because we started talking — to each other — about gut bacteria.


There’s nothing more freeing than discussing your sexual health with a like-minded woman.


Well, vaginal health deals with the same components as gut health — bacteria and yeast. And just like how your gut bacteria get out of whack when you fill your body with bad things or get stressed, so too does this happen with your vagina.

Thrush is caused by a range of lifestyle and diet choices. Poor sleep, stress, hormones, glutinous foods, alcohol, and synthetic fibres in the area can all impact the balance of bacteria and yeast in your vagina, resulting in an increase of yeast known as Candida albicans, which can cause thrush. Getting your lifestyle and diet under control can have a great impact on your overall health, including of course your vagina.

However, if you’ve gotten a thrush outbreak and want to talk cure rather than prevention, this is what you need to know: Treatment is easy and can be done using medicines available at your pharmacy. Your healthcare professional may recommend an oral tablet, or a cream that is inserted into your vagina to stop the itchiness and redness that comes with thrush. And you don’t even need a doctor’s note, that’s how little a deal it is. However, if this is your first time experiencing thrush, it may be best to go to the GP for a quick check to understand that a yeast infection is all you have. 


Getting your lifestyle and diet under control can have a great impact on your overall health.


Thrush doesn’t have an odour but does often have a thick, white discharge — not unlike cottage cheese. For this reason only, it’s best to stay away from sexual penetration while you are treating the yeast infection. This typically takes between 3-5 days, though varies person-to-person. Remember, although thrush is not an STI, the yeast can sometimes be passed on to your sexual partner during sex. 

Knowing that a) thrush is quite common, b) is easily treated, c) can be prevented next time, and d) is simply caused by a yeast imbalance, don’t you feel better already about reducing the stigma of this condition? Now, run and tell your friends.