In women thrush can cause: 

  • a thick white vaginal discharge
  • soreness and itching around the vulva, anus or inside the vagina
  • pain when passing urine, swelling and sometimes painful sex.

In men thrush can cause:

  • red patches on the head of the penis
  • burning or itching
  • a thick cheesy discharge under the foreskin
  • discomfort when passing urine.

Getting tested

If you think you have thrush you should tell your GP or visit a sexual health clinic. You will be asked to describe your symptoms and an examination may be needed. A swab from inside the vagina or under the foreskin may be taken so the doctor or nurse can be sure your symptoms are caused by thrush.


Thrush can be easily treated with either a tablet or anti-thrush pessaries that you insert into your vagina. Anti-thrush creams are also available to ease any soreness and itchiness. You may also be given a soap substitute to wash with.


Thrush isn’t a sexually transmitted infection but it can sometimes be passed on during sex. So, if you have thrush it’s best to avoid having sex until the infection has cleared up.

You can help to prevent thrush by:

  • not wearing tight fitting synthetic clothing
  • only washing the genital area with moisturising soap substitutes or plain water
  • (In men) always wash under the foreskin.