Let’s Talk Intimate Heath

*This is a collaborative post but all opinions and views are my own*

Hey lovely people! It’s another health taboo-breaking post here, I’m working with Canesten on their Let’s Talk Health Campaign to encourage women every where to open up about intimate health and break the taboo of problems that we have down below. Most women have vaginas, and we all suffer from issues, problems, or illnesses that our sexual organs can and usually do contract at least once in our lifetimes. Like Canesten, I believe in opening up conversation between both men and women about intimate health, especially when it comes to a common health condition like thrush, conversations around which are still very much on the taboo end of the health spectrum.

So why is it such a no-go when it comes to intimate health conversation? We’re much more likely to admit when we’ve had a cold sore than a thrush infection and… that makes zero sense to me. Let’s beat the taboo! Having an intimate health infection, flare up, or discomfort is totally normal, as women we have such complicated bits n’ pieces down there that health problems can be a regular occurrence and it really does depend on your own body and what’s normal for you.

Thrush is actually very common issue amongst women, with 3 in 4 women you meet having experienced thrush and it’s symptoms at least once in their lives. Not only that but many women suffer from reoccurring thrush and therefore intimate health can play a massive part in day-to-day life for these periods.

FYI, thrush is ~ more likely ~ to affect people who fit into these categories:

– If you are pregnant
– If you have finished a course of antibiotics
– If you have diabetes
– If you are on your period
– If you take birth control pills
– If you have an HIV infection
– And it is *not* a sexually transmitted disease

Thrush is a common yeast infection, which can be experienced by both men and women, caused by an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus, called Candida albicans. This is completely natural, and is found on the skin of healthy people all the time. However, when the natural balance of the skin flora isn’t met, this is when thrush is triggered and symptoms start to appear.

It wouldn’t be a conversational spark on intimate health if I didn’t share my own personal experience with thrush now would it? Some of you will probably know this already, but I just reached the 6 month milestone of coming off the contraceptive pill for multiple health reasons and it has made quite the impact with my intimate health. During the last year of using the contraceptive pill, I had the worst thrush flare ups and had zero idea of why it was happening. I had only had thrush once in my life as a young girl when I popped a cheap, dodgy bath bomb in my weekly bath only to emerge a day later with the sorest nether-regions going and vowing to never buy cheap, heavily perfumed bath products ever again.

Anyway, at 23 years old, I had no idea of why it had started happening suddenly and I was very stressed about the suddenness of the situation. Immediately, intimate health became a very important part of my life. I was juggling my blog, uni, exams, coursework… and now this, thrush… brilliant. It made me a right grouch to boot as I was continuously bothered by it on a day-to-day basis, but I couldn’t excuse my moody-ness and bad attitude with “Sorry, got a bit of the thrush guys….”

After some umm’ing and ahh’ing (and pre-appointment embarrassment) I saw my local GP who told me that it’s quite common for women to get reoccurring flare ups of thrush if you’re stressed or have been on the contraceptive pill for a long period of time (or in my case, both). I remember thinking to myself: *phew* It’s totally normal, what the hell was I stressing about?

The GP then prescribed me with an immediate treatment and then told me I’d be able to get any “top up” treatments over the counter at any pharmacy. You’ll have probably seen adverts on TV for Canesten as they are well known in the intimate healthcare world for their Thrush Treatment, and this is the easiest treatment to purchase at any pharmacy if you need it immediately and discretely.

I would definitely suggest seeing a GP if it’s the first time you have experienced symptoms as thrush can be mistaken for BV (bacterial vaginosis) which has similar symptoms but v. different treatments. But after you know what your symptoms are (and what to really look for) you can pick up a Canesten treatment at any pharmacy which are easily found and available to anyone. This is especially important to know since thrush can actually affect men also!

If you’re looking for some more advice on thrush, open up the conversation and try to ask your mum, aunt, sister, friend, partner… about their experiences with thrush and they may be able to give you some piece of mind whilst helping to shift the negativity around talking and creating conversation around feminine & intimate health problems.

Do you make an effort to create conversation around “taboo” health topics like intimate health?

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