Medical Q&As

Vaginal discharge - thrush?

I have been getting frequent bouts of thrush. I have been at pains to prevent this. My partner has been treated and I have had both oral medication and pessaries but every six weeks over the last six months I get thrush. This usually happens a week before a period. Sometimes I just experience irritation but I often get a green discharge. I had a smear test four months ago which has just come back negative. I thought that this might identify some underlying cause.

I wonder if you do have thrush after all. The discharge from thrush is usually creamy white and people often describe it as looking like cottage cheese. The green discharge that you refer to sounds more like a bacterial infection, which is also quite common. I think you need to have a swab taken, which simply involves taking a sample of the discharge with a cotton bud. Your GP could do this for you and the sample could then be sent to the microbiology laboratory for further analysis. This would allow proper identification of the cause of your infection and appropriate antibiotic treatment could then be given. The smear test you refer to would not really have helped in the evaluation of your complaint because the focus of attention with that test is the condition of the cells that line the entrance to the cervix. Sometimes the technician might identify some thrush on the slide as a coincidental finding but the test is not really designed for giving information about the general state of the vagina and cervix. In summary I think a swab test is the best next step for you to take.