Dealing With Recurrent Vaginal Thrush

Dealing With Recurrent Vaginal Thrush

Recurrent vaginal thrush – referring to four or more episodes of vaginal thrush in the past 12 months – can be incredibly annoying and uncomfortable. Symptoms include itching, burning, thick discharge, redness and swelling.

While 75% of women experience vaginal thrush at least once in their lifetime, recurrent vaginal thrush is less common, affecting around 5% of women. If you think you are experiencing this condition, be sure to book a consultation with one of our friendly doctors to get appropriate help.

Women with recurrent vaginal thrush tend to pack “emergency supplies” to deal with the condition when they are out and about. Some have reported that the condition affects their self-esteem, ability to enjoy sexual intercourse (due to pain) and quality of relationships.

Recommended treatments

Suppression and maintenance therapy

While there has been no studies reporting a sure-fire cure to treat all women, some research suggests that “suppression and maintenance” therapy is an effective treatment for some women. This treatment involves suppressing the thrush symptoms using a high dose of anti-fungal medication followed by a weekly or monthly maintenance dose to prevent remission (for up to six months).

Due to the lack of research, available guidelines for doctors are limited. This can lead to inconsistent treatment between medical practitioners. Additionally, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) does not currently cover the recommended long-term treatment costs (around $600-900 for six months), which can make getting help unaffordable for many women.

Long-term use of anti-fungal medication can also have negative side-effects such as abdominal pain. At the end of the day, if you are experiencing some degree of genital itching, get in touch with one of our doctors for advice.

Alternative therapy

Whilst there is no strong evidence to suggest that yoghurt is effective for treating thrush, research suggests that tea tree oil and garlic may be of some benefit. Tea tree suppositories and garlic tablets or creams are available in certain stores, though they may come with a risk of allergic reactions and burning sensations.

Simple remedies such as wearing cotton underwear, applying an ice pack to the area with the itchy rash for ten minutes, and avoiding feminine hygiene products may also help with the condition.


It is important to speak to a health professional that is aware of the complexities of recurrent vaginal thrush in order to receive appropriate treatment and management strategies. You may also be able to get a referral to a vulval disorder specialist. Most women respond well to long-term therapy, so stay positive!

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by Instant Consult