Candidiasis, or thrush, is caused by an overgrowth of a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida. It is not caught or transferred by sexual activity.
80% of women will have thrush at some stage of their life, and most women will develop thrush without any identifiable cause. However, antibiotics, pregnancy and some medical conditions such as diabetes, can cause thrush to occur.


The main symptoms for women are itching and irritation of the vulval skin and vagina. There may be a thick, white vaginal discharge and discomfort with sex and when urinating. Symptoms may be worse the week before menstruation, or made worse by having sex.
Men may notice itching, redness, and white discharge on the head of the penis and the foreskin.


Diagnosis is made from a combination of symptoms, examination findings and specific cultures for Candida.


Candidiasis may be treated with an antifungal medication, usually in the form of vaginal creams or pessaries. Partners only need to be treated if they have symptoms.

This page was last updated at 2:58PM on June 2, 2022.