Cystitis, thrush and BV: the lowdown

No more suffering in silence, thanks to our straight-talking guide to vaginal health including BV, cystitis and thrush remedies
Photography: Alamy, Lieselot Dalle/Unsplash, Plain Picture

bacterial vaginosis stat



Is it cystitis?

The clues:
– an urgent need to wee
– a burning or stinging feeling when urinating
– pressure or pain in the lower abdomen
– urine that’s cloudy or has a strong odour

Avoidance tactics:
– drink plenty of water
– pee frequently
– wipe from front to back when you go to the toilet

cystitis survival kit

Your cystitis survival kit

For pain relief, consider Boots Ibuprofen 200mg (16 caplets), always read the leaflet.

Consider Boots Cystitis Relief (6 sachets), for symptom relief.
Contains sodium citrate dihydrate: always read the leaflet.

Hold Boots Chocolate Fur Hot Water Bottle against your tum.
(Be careful with direct contact against the skin.)

UTI stat


Cystitis test

Our Cystitis Test & Treat Service* allows you to test for a UTI and, where appropriate, treat it with prescription medication without necessarily needing to see a GP. Not sure if it’s BV or thrush? The Boots Women’s Intimate Self-Test (2-pack), could be a good place to start.


Did you know?

Thrush can affect men as well as women. It isn’t classed as a sexually transmitted
infection (STI), but it’s possible for it to be passed on through sexual intercourse.



Thrush Symptoms


• White vaginal discharge (like cottage cheese), usually odourless
• Irritation or an itching sensation around the entrance of the vagina
• Soreness and stinging during sex or when you pee


• A discharge similar to women’s, but it may have an unpleasant smell
• Sorry, guys, but you’ll also tend to get an irritation on the penis foreskin
or on its tip – possibly with redness, too
• Difficulty pulling back the foreskin



Thrush Action Plan

• Dry the affected area properly after washing
• Wear cotton underwear (bye-bye, nylon!)
• Take showers instead of baths

• Wash your genitals with soaps or shower gels
• Use deodorant on your vagina or penis
• Wear tight underwear or tights
• Have sex, until the infection has cleared

If you have thrush or are struggling to get rid of it, or it keeps recurring, speak to your pharmacist about suitable over-the-counter treatments**. You’ll need to see your GP if you’ve had it more than twice in six months.



Q: Is it true you can only get thrush around your genitals?

A: No. Thrush can affect other areas, such as armpits, groin and between the fingers, causing a red, itchy or painful rash. You can also get oral thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth) – some medicines can cause this, such as certain asthma inhalers and antibiotics. See your GP if you have symptoms



Baffled by BV?

Well, the experts are, too. The full causes are not known, but we do know that one of them is a
change in the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. You’re also more likely to get it if:

• you’re sexually active (but women who haven’t had sex can also get BV)
• you’ve had a change of partner
• you have an IUD (contraception device)


… women get BV during their lifetime. In fact, it’s the most common vaginal infection in women of reproductive age. It’s not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but it can increase your risk of getting an STI, such as chlamydia. If you have an unusual discharge that has a strong fishy smell, particularly after sex, and it’s greyish-white and watery, it might be time to make an appointment to see your GP.


*For women aged 16-64 who have symptoms of an uncomplicated UTI; in selected stores, subject to availability; eligibility and charges apply; compatible smartphone required to download the free app. **For those who are pregnant or over 60, or haven’t had thrush previously, speak to your GP.