Plus, everything your pharmacist wants you to know about how to help prevent and treat these vaginal infections this summer
- With so many similar symptoms, it can be hard to know whether an infection is thrush or BV
- Existing products are designed to treat one or the other, but Boots Dual Action Thrush and BV Pessaries are clinically proven to treat both
- Boots pharmacist reveals EYNTK on how to help prevent and treat thrush and BV
Boots has launched the UK’s first ever treatment for both thrush and bacterial vaginosis (BV), now available at boots.com and over 1,400 stores priced £11.99 or £9.99 for Boots Advantage Card holders as part of Price Advantage.
Vaginal infections affect one in ten females in the UK each year. Three quarters of females in the UK develop thrush at least once in a lifetime, and one-third develop BV. With several similar symptoms, it can be hard to identify the difference between thrush and bacterial vaginosis. Boots Dual Action Thrush and BV Pessaries offer clinically proven, effective treatment for both fungal and bacterial vaginal infections.
With summer around the corner, here is everything Boots Pharmacist Bina Mehta thinks patients should know about how to help prevent and treat thrush and BV, alongside common misconceptions.
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. While these vaginal infections are common and nothing to be embarrassed about, there’s a lot of misconceptions about what these infections are and how to treat them. So here is everything I want my patients to know about thrush and BV.”
It can be easy to miss important differences in symptoms
“Thrush is a common yeast infection that is usually harmless but can be uncomfortable. Symptoms include white vaginal discharge that often looks like cottage cheese. It does not usually make your vagina smell, but does cause itching and irritation around the vagina, soreness and stinging during sex or when you pee. Like thrush, BV can sometimes cause occasional discomfort, intense itching or even a burning sensation. But the main symptom of BV is a thin, watery discharge that is often grey in colour and can have a fishy odour, especially after sex or during a period. Half of those with BV do not experience any symptoms at all.”
These vaginal infections are not STIs
“Thrush is not classed as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can occasionally be triggered by sex. If you have thrush and sex is uncomfortable, you should avoid it until the thrush has cleared up. BV is not an STI either. It is caused by change in the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. However, BV can be triggered by sex with men and you are more likely to get it if you’re sexually active, have had a change of partner, or have an IUD contraceptive device. It can be passed on from one woman to another during sex. You are also more likely to get an STI if you have BV, possibly because the infection makes your vagina less acidic and reduces your natural defences against infection.”
But thrush can affect men, too
“Both men and women of all ages can develop thrush. For women, thrush may present in itching, soreness and redness around the vagina, vulva and anus, and an unusual vaginal discharge is also common along with the possibility of pain while urinating and experiencing pain during sex. For men, it’s also irritation, burning or itching around the penis and a possible discomfort passing urine, plus discharge under the foreskin. Males with thrush should come and speak to their pharmacist, who can recommend specific creams that can help. In terms of BV, this can only affect people with vaginas.”
Yoghurt does not to treat thrush
“I have seen this recommended by social media users a lot, but there is no research to suggest that eating pro-biotic yoghurt, or inserting it into your vagina, will help to treat thrush. If you think you have thrush please speak to a pharmacist like me, who can recommend the best clinically-proven solution for you.”
“Over-washing or douching your vagina can actually be a trigger for thrush and BV. Douching should also be avoided, as well as using perfumed soaps or antiseptic products as these can upset the natural pH balance of the vagina and cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. If you have a vaginal infection or would like to prevent one, you should use water and unperfumed soap and take showers instead of baths.”
Wear cotton undies and avoid lounging in your wet bikini bottoms for too long
“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.”
Don’t be embarrassed to speak to your pharmacist
“Your local pharmacist can help you identify whether you have thrush or BV, answer any questions you have, and identify the best treatment for you. You should speak to your GP if your treatment has not worked, you are getting either infection more than four times in 12 months, if you are under 16 or over 60, if you are pregnant or breast feeding or breastfeeding or if you have a weakened immune system.”
Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer and has the nation’s biggest range of health and wellness products and an expanding range of healthcare services on boots.com and in its 2,200 stores.
 Customers can enjoy Price Advantage on this product online and instore until 12th July 2022.
 Walgreens Boots Alliance, Health of the Nation Study, 2021. Based on a survey of 3,510 individuals aged 18+ between October and November 2021.
 As above.