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Thrush is contagious – and 5 other vagina myths you should NEVER believe, according to top doc

ALMOST every woman will experience concerns around their vaginal health at some point in their life.

One expert has now revealed the six vagina myths you should never believe after a study found that almost a quarter of women think thrush is highly contagious.

Getty - Contributor
Almost quarter of women surveyed said they thought thrush was contagious [/caption]

Gynaecologist Dr Sarah Welsh said there is a shocking lack of education surrounding female health and said the stigmas need to be “smashed” when it comes to female sexual wellness.

Dr Sarah, who is also the founder of HANX, said many women can feel embarrassed when it comes to talking about the health of the vagina.

A survey commissioned by HANX revealed the top six myths surrounding vaginal health.

1. “Thrush is highly contagious”

Of those surveyed by Hanx a whopping 21 per cent of people said they believe that thrush is highly contagious.

Vaginal thrush is a common yeast infection that affects most women at some point in their lives.

It can be uncomfortable and itchy but is usually relatively easy to treat.

Dr Sarah said “thrush is not highly contagious” and added that you won’t give someone your yeast infection from holding hands with them.

“However, they have the potential to be passed on in intimate situations to certain people.

“Thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection, but very occasionally can be passed on through sex.

“This is not common, so if you think you have symptoms of thrush after sex, then see a sexual health clinic as it may be something more common that you have.”

What is vaginal thrush

Vaginal thrush is a common yeast infection that affects most women at some point in their lives.

It can be uncomfortable and itchy but is usually relatively easy to treat.

Some women however struggle with thrush systematically and find it difficult to get ride of.

For those perpetual sufferers it can be very difficult and uncomfortable.

What are the symptoms?

  • Soreness and itching around the vagina entrance
  • A thick white or thin and watery discharge which is usually odourless
  • Discomfort during sex
  • A burning feeling when passing urine

2. “Cleaning with soap protects you from infections”

Whilst we all want to make sure we keep it clean down there, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be smelling of roses.

The survey revealed that 22 per cent of people think you’re less likely to get vaginal health conditions, including bacterial vaginosis, cystitis and thrush if you clean your vagina with soap.

Dr Sarah said that washing your vagina with soap “is a big no no”.

She added: “Vaginas are self-cleaning, so just wash your vulva with unscented soap as you would the rest of your body.

“People who clean their vagina are more susceptible to infections such as bacterial vaginosis and thrush, as well as cystitis.

“Such products often also contain artificial scents and synthetic ingredients that irritate the vagina and disrupt its natural balance.”

Dr Sarah stated that discharge is a normal way for the vagina to protect itself from nasty bacteria.

“If we mess with this then there could be an overgrowth of bacteria that could cause a nasty infection.”

Getty - Contributor
Dr Sarah said that washing down below with soap is a big no no [/caption]

3. “Having sex is the main cause of thrush”

Over 19 per cent of respondents to the survey said they believed that having sex was the main cause of vaginal thrush.

Dr Sarah said that sex is not the main cause, but added that it can be triggered by sex.

She added: “The fungus (called candida) is normally harmless, but in thrush, it is overgrown and causes symptoms such as itching and discharge.

“Candida grows in warm and moist environments, and if the balance of bacteria is altered somewhat.

“Therefore, there are things that would make you more susceptible to this including taking antibiotics (it changes the bacterial ecosystem), having poorly controlled diabetes, being pregnant or going through the menopause.”

Getty Images - Getty
Thrush can be triggered by sex – but it is not the main cause [/caption]

4. “Bacterial vaginosis is always treated with antibiotics”

Bacterial vaginosis – BV is a common cause of unusual vaginal discharge.

Of those who responded to the survey 20 per cent believed that the only way to treat the condition was through antibitoics.

Dr Sarah said this is simply not the case.

“BV can be treated with antibiotics, such as metronidazole, however, this is not the only treatment out there.

“Vaginal gels are available to lower the pH in the vagina and therefore discouraging the growth of bacteria that grow in this environment.

“One of the main bacteria that are often present in BV is Gardnerella, causing a change in the bacterial balance (or rather an imbalance).”

She added that this is not considered the cause of bacterial vaginosis, but it is a major species present in bacterial vaginosis as its presence alters the vaginal microbiome and this is associated with an overgrowth of many bacteria species.

“However, Gardnerella can also be isolated from women without any signs or symptoms of vaginal infection”, Dr Sarah added.

Getty Images - Getty
Antibiotics can be used to treat BV but there are other remedies available [/caption]

5. “Bacterial vaginosis is only transmitted through sex”

HANX members, who responded to the survey in conjunction with the launch of its new service HANX Fix – which allows people to get help from a doctor by answering just a few questions online, also believed BV can only be transmitted through sex.

Of those who responded, 15 per cent believed the above myth to be true.

Dr Sarah added: “BV is not an STI, although having it can increase your chances of catching one.”

6. “Antibiotics are always the answer to treat cystitis”

Of those who responded to the survey, 17 per cent believed that antibiotics are the only way to treat cystitis.

Dr Sarah added: “Cystitis is very common amongst women, and antibiotics are not always needed.

“Mild cystitis will usually clear up on its own within a few days, and the symptoms can be managed with cystitis relief (sodium citrate) such as the HANX offering.

“These cystitis relief sachets work by neutralising the acidity of the urine, making the symptoms much more manageable.

“Other things you can do include taking simple pain relief, drinking plenty of water and avoiding sex until after the symptoms have cleared.”

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