THRUSH could plague millions of Brits this week, a gynaecologist has warned.

The yeast infection "thrives" in warm and moist conditions – and temperatures have hit 32C.

Dr Anne Henderson, a consultant gynaecologist working with Canesten, said: "This higher risk is mainly due to increased sweating.

"Our PH levels can be thrown off balance when we sweat excessively, and this combination of moisture and warmth creates an ideal condition for thrush to thrive in.

"This is also why many women associate going to the gym with getting thrush."

A spokesperson for the brand added: "The heat and humidity we’re currently experiencing creates the perfect breeding ground down below."


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Thrush is a common yeast infection caused by a fungus called candida that affects both men and women.

It tends to grow in hot, wet environments and develops if the balance of bacteria changes (e.g. if your skin is irritated, you're taking antibiotics or you're pregnant).

While usually harmless, it can come with some pretty uncomfortable symptoms, according to the NHS.

In women, these tend to include:

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  • White vaginal discharge (that often looks like cottage cheese), which does not usually smell
  • Itching and irritation around the vulva and vagina
  • Soreness and stinging during sex or when you pee

In men, however, the most common signs are:

  • Irritation, burning and redness around the head of the penis and under the foreskin
  • A white discharge (that often looks like cottage cheese)
  • An unpleasant smell
  • Difficulty pulling back the foreskin

Thrush is most common in the nether regions, but it can also affect the armpits and between the fingers.

Thankfully, it is easily treated with anti-fungal medicine, but you should see your GP to rule out anything more serious.

There are also some simple things you can do to reduce your risk as the weather hots up, according to Dr Henderson.

First and foremost is choosing the right underwear.

"There is some evidence that tighter underwear, such as thong-style pants, can increase the risk of localised irritation, as well as infections such as thrush and cystitis," she said.

"However, this is obviously dependent on the exact style of pant and fabric used.  

"Looser styles, such as French knickers, may be beneficial for women with recurrent vulval-vaginal problems, but again, personal choice also plays a role.

"I would always recommend that women do not wear underwear at night unless there is a specific need, such as when menstruating, when it may be more comfortable to wear underwear whilst using sanitary products."


Undies should also, ideally, be made of natural fibres, such as cotton.

"This is preferable as they have the ability to 'breathe', whereas many synthetic fibres do not," Dr Henderson said.

And you should be changing your pants often enough, especially during warm spells, and showering frequently.

The reproductive expert said: "The frequency of changing your underwear during the day is partly based on personal choice, however I would advise most women to change theirs at least once every 24 hours to avoid the growth of organisms such as yeast or candida.

"If you feel you should change your underwear more often than that, consider your activity levels throughout the day.

"If you’re working out a lot in the morning, it may be best to change into a new pair of underwear after showering – as inevitably exercising will increase sweat production from the groin area."

Speaking about cleaning down there, she added: "Simply washing the intimate area with plain water or water on a flannel is best.

"Specialist cleaning products with antibacterial action are now available, but I would not normally recommend these for daily use – although they may be beneficial for using intermittently, say once a week or so.

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"There is no specific need to use biological washing agents as long as gym gear is washed after every use.

"Milder non-biological agent is a great option."

How to prevent thrush returning

THRUSH can be incredibly uncomfortable, especially if it keeps coming back.

But there are some things you can do prevent repeated returns.


  • Use water and an emollient (like E45 cream) instead of soap to wash the affected area
  • Dry properly after washing
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Avoid sex until thrush has cleared up if it is uncomfortable


  • Do not use soaps or shower gels
  • Do not use douches or deodorants on your vagina or penis
  • Do not wear tight underwear or tights

Source: NHS

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