Thrush, women - Symptoms of vaginal thrush
NHS Choices Medical Reference
You will notice the symptoms of vaginal thrush in your vulva. The vulva is made up of the:
- outer part of the vagina
- 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)
vaginal discharge, although this is not always present. The discharge is usually odourless. It can be thin and watery, or thick and white, like cottage cheese.
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
- 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 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 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)
- the thrush is not caused by the Candida albicans fungus
The vagina is a tube of muscle that runs from the cervix (the opening of the womb) to the vulva (the external sexual organs).
A woman's external sexual organs, made up of the outer part of the vagina, the clitoris and the two pairs of lips surrounding the entrance to the vagina (the labia majora and the labia minora).
Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.
Discharge is when a liquid such as pus oozes from a part of your body.
Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling that your body produces as a warning sign that it has been damaged.