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I’m a pharmacist and these conditions are most likely to strike women down there – especially this summer

AN EXPERT is warning women of the symptoms to look for down there, especially in the summer weather.

The vagina is a delicate balance of flora, and two conditions commonly strike when things go off-course.

Keep alert to symptoms like itchiness this summer

Thrush affects three quarters of females in the UK at least once in lifetime.

And bacterial vaginosis (BV) affects one-third.

This makes the two conditions extremely common, yet not something to be brushed off.

Both need treatment, but thankfully over-the-counter medication is available.

High-street store Boots is the first to launch a double-action treatment to target both irritating conditions.

Boots Dual Action Thrush and BV Pessaries are now available online and in over 1,400 stores, priced at £11.99 (or £9.99 for Boots Advantage Card holders).

It can be used for either condition alone or to treat both at the same time (as sadly, you can get both concurrently).

The symptoms of thrush and BV are different, but easily confused.

Thrush typically causes an itch, stinging during urination and sex, and white vaginal discharge that the NHS says looks like cottage cheese.

BV, on the other hand, causes a more grey-white watery discharge that may smell fishy. Half of women have no signs, however. 

A GP or a pharmacist in store can help identify which one you have and get the best treatment, such as a double-whammy pessary.

Heating up

As the weather warms up, Bina Mehta, Boots Pharmacist, said women should be wary that thrush is more likely to strike in the summer.

She said: “Thrush tends to grow in warm, moist conditions and develops if the balance of bacteria changes. 

“During the summer season, the condition can be more common, so this is something to be wary of as you do summer workouts, swim, and sweat more in general. 

“To help avoid thrush in the summer, I would advise wearing breathable clothing, cotton underwear and trying to avoid staying in wet swimwear for too long and dry off properly after.”

BV can be triggered by sex with men and can be passed from one woman to another during sex (although is not considered an STI).

It’s particularly more likely if a woman gets a new sexual partner. 

Thrush can occasionally come on after sex, too.

So if you’re “single and ready to mingle” this summer, it may cause some upset down there.

Bina said: “Thrush and BV can be really uncomfortable, and it’s one of the last things we want to have during summer when we are outside enjoying ourselves, or on holiday relaxing.”

Your period and hormonal contraceptives may also increase the likelihood of both thrush and BV.

And be warned that, if you have an IUD, you are more likely to get BV.

BV also increases the risk of catching an STI, “possibly because the infection makes your vagina less acidic and reduces your natural defences”, Bina said.

Round and round

BV and thrush usually go away with treatment, but sometimes they make a come-back or even become recurrent.

In these cases, a GP or sexual health clinic can help reccomend what’s best, as you may need treatment for longer.

Some things are always recommended to avoid for both conditions. Never use soaps, bath bomb or perfumed deodorants around your vagina, and do not douche.

Stopping smoking may prevent BV, while wearing looser clothing will prevent a warm moist environment that thrush thrives on.

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