Gemma Collins has truly redefined “oversharing” by scratching her nether regions and asking her stylist to sniff her fingers.
“I feel like I’m getting an infection... it stinks doesn’t it? It just smells of bread,” the GC said during episode two of her new reality show, Diva Forever.
Collins had returned to her hotel room after a day of filming when she proclaimed that her “vagina is on fire, man”. Her stylist replied: “It’s the yeast, we need some Canesten [thrush treatment].”
While we’re unsure about her methods, she’s raising awareness of something that affects us all. And the good news is that there are ways of telling you’ve got a yeast infection without putting your hands in someone’s face.
Here’s what you need to know:
What Is A Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection, otherwise known as thrush, is a common infection that can affect both men and women. It’s caused by a fungus called candida, which develops if the balance of bacteria in the body changes.
This can happen as a result of having sex, taking antibiotics, having diabetes that isn’t well controlled, or if the skin around the genitals becomes irritated or damaged.
In women, becoming pregnant or going through the menopause may also lead to thrush. Those with a weak immune system, such as people having chemotherapy or people with HIV, are also at risk.
“Keeping good vulval care is essential: wearing cotton underwear, avoiding tight fitting clothes and wearing no underwear at night can be very helpful.”
What Are The Symptoms Of Thrush/Yeast Infections?
In women, the three main signs of thrush are:
White discharge (like cottage cheese), which doesn’t usually smell
Itching and irritation around the vagina
Soreness and stinging during sex or when urinating.
In men, the main signs of thrush are:
Irritation, burning and redness around the head of the penis and under the foreskin and difficulty pulling back the foreskin
White discharge (like cottage cheese)
An unpleasant smell.
The signs of thrush in women are easy to confuse with symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV), which again, occurs when bacteria in the vagina are disrupted.
Unlike thrush in women, discharge with BV does tend to smell, and is usually associated with a fishy odour. BV doesn’t usually cause itching or soreness.
What Is The Treatment?
Anti-fungal medicine is recommended by pharmacists and can be purchased over-the-counter to treat thrush. This can be a tablet you take, a tablet you insert into your vagina (pessary) or a cream to relieve the irritation, states the NHS.
Thrush should clear up within a week, so visit your GP or GUM clinic (sexual health clinic) if symptoms persist – or if it becomes a recurrent problem.
BV is treated with antibiotic tablets, gels or creams that are prescribed by a GP or sexual health clinic. A doctor might examine you or request that you take a swab to confirm BV and rule out any other infections.
If you’re unsure which infection you have or think you may have another infection such as an STI, visit your GP or GUM clinic.