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{3} march 15, 2009




ALTHOUGH THRUSH IS AN EXTREMELY COMMON CONDITION, (75 per cent of women experience it at least once) many of us don’t know much about it. Thrush, also known as “candidiasis”, is caused by an overgrowth of the yeastlike fungus, candida albicans. While it is normal for our bodies to harbour this fungus, when it overgrows as a result of an imbalance in the microbial environment, symptoms such as itch, soreness, and a thick white discharge may occur. Many cases resolve quickly and without treatment, but if symptoms persist there are THE DOCTOR a number of treatments including antifungal vaginal creams, pessaries and oral medication. See your Dr Cindy Pan doctor for confirmation of the diagnosis and to assess for possible underlying conditions that may predispose you to thrush. Risk factors include diabetes, pregnancy, being immune suppressed, taking antibiotics or steroid medication and the oral contraceptive pill. Excessive washing or douching can also upset the normal balance of bacteria, increasing the chance for candida to overgrow. Thrush is not considered an STI (sexually transmitted infection) so partners do not need treatment unless they are identified as having the condition.

Dr Cindy Pan has had over 10 years of clinical practice. Her books include Pandora’s Box: Lifting The Lid On Life’s Little Nasties (HarperCollins) and Playing Hard To Get (HarperCollins). She appears on television, lectures and speaks about all aspects of health, relationships and wellbeing.

THRUSH IS MORE LIKELY TO DEVELOP IN WARM, MOIST environments such as the genital region. There are many simple strategies to prevent and treat thrush. The premise of support is to encourage the body to find its natural bacterial balance. Contributors such as antibiotics, poor diet, stress and poor hygiene can all interfere with this delicate balance. Regardless of where symptoms occur, the condition is systemic (the bacteria throughout the body has been disrupted). All of the following can encourage this imbalance and allow bad THE NATUROPATH bacteria to proliferate. Dietary: too much sugar, alcohol, yeast and fermented foods. Sexual: Leah Hechtman flavoured condoms; synthetic lubricants and poor sexual hygiene. Hygiene: scented toilet paper and soap, shampoo, body washes, washing detergent and cleaning products. Clothing: underwear made from nonbreathable fibres (wear 100 per cent cotton where possible and keep the area dry). Probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus, garlic preparations and vitamin C are also very effective in aiding prevention and treatment.

Leah Hechtman is a naturopath and fertility specialist. She is a lecturer, author, researcher and industry consultant and has her own clinical practice in Sydney, NSW. She specialises in fertility, reproductive and psychological health. For more information visit

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