Trade Sexual Health

Free, confidential health advice, information,
services & support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual
and trans communities of Leicester,
Leicestershire & Rutland

Make a donation



Thrush (also called candidiasis) is more a problem for women, who can give it to the men they have sex with. Gay men can get it but it’s rare unless you have HIV.

What causes thrush?

Thrush usually occurs when too much of your body’s own natural fungus grows in your mouth, vagina, anus, or on your penis. Sometimes it is sexually transmitted but often occurs on its own.


There may be no symptoms, but there could be:

  • Itching and a rash or inflammation
  • Pain during sex or when urinating
  • Sticky white patches on your skin or in your mouth
  • Redness and soreness in or around your vagina, anus, or penis
  • For women, a thick white discharge

How it is transmitted?

Although thrush often occurs on its own, you can also get thrush through unprotected anal or vaginal sex and fingering. There is a small risk of thrush being passed through oral sex.

Do you think you may have thrush?

If you think you may have thrush you can go to your nearest GUM Clinic. You can also see your local GP.

By law, sexual health clinics cannot tell anyone about your visit to the GUM; these rules do not apply to your GP who can tell other people about your appointment.


Thrush can be treated with anti-fungal creams or tablets.

If you have thrush any regular partner(s) should be checked. They could have it without showing symptoms and give it back to you.

Protect yourself and others

Using a condom, if using sex toys or having penetrative sex can help protect against getting and passing on thrush or other sexually transmitted infections. Dental dams can also be used during oral sex and rimming for safer sex. You can order free safer sex packs from Trade here.


Sexual health