What is the treatment for recurring thrush?
If you have repeated (recurrent) bouts of thrush then one option is simply to treat each bout as and when it occurs. Another option that your doctor may suggest is as follows:
- Use one of the treatments described above (topical treatments or tablets) - but for longer than usual. Your doctor will advise exactly how long to use the treatment for. For example, this may be for 10-14 days for topical treatments.
- Then use a topical treatment or take a fluconazole tablet once per week. (Sometimes other tablets may be prescribed; follow the instructions given by your doctor.) This is called maintenance treatment, which often prevents thrush from coming back.
- Continue maintenance treatment for six months and then stop.
Most women remain clear of thrush during maintenance treatment. After treatment is stopped, many of those treated remain free of thrush, or only develop the occasional bout again. However, some women return to developing recurrent thrush. In such cases, if necessary, the treatment plan can be repeated, and maintenance treatment continued for longer.
See your doctor if you develop thrush whilst on maintenance treatment. This may indicate that you have a resistant strain of Candida spp. which may require an alternative treatment.
If you have recurrent thrush, your doctor or nurse may also discuss your current method of contraception with you and suggest a change. There has been talk in the past about the combined oral contraceptive (COC) pill (the pill that contains both oestrogen and progesterone hormones) possibly making recurrent thrush more likely. However, the evidence around this is a little unclear.
Did you find this information useful?
- Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care; Royal College of General Practitioners and British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (Apr 2013)
- Candida - female genital; NICE CKS, November 2016 (UK access only)
- Martin Lopez JE; Candidiasis (vulvovaginal). BMJ Clin Evid. 2015 Mar 16 2015. pii: 0815.
- British National Formulary; NICE Evidence Services (UK access only)
- Abad CL, Safdar N; The role of lactobacillus probiotics in the treatment or prevention of urogenital infections - a systematic review. J Chemother. 2009 Jun 21(3):243-52.
- Fischer G, Bradford J; Vulvovaginal candidiasis in postmenopausal women: the role of hormone replacement therapy. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2011 Oct 15(4):263-7. doi: 10.1097/LGT.0b013e3182241f1a.
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