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Canesten Combi is a dual treatment used to effectively treat thrush at the source of the infection. Canesten Combi has a 2 step treatment:
- a pessary to treat the internal infection
- a 10g tube of cream to treat the external symptoms
The active ingredient in both the pessary and cream is clotrimazole, an antifungal medication.
Need thrush treatment immediately? No problem! At ZAVA we run a 24 hour service guarantee, which means a doctor will review your assessment details within 24 hours.
Canesten Combi is a branded medication that is manufactured by Bayer plc.
Pessary + External Cream - £15.99
About Canesten Combi
Canesten Combi is a dual treatment product that combines the actions of a pessary and antifungal cream to treat thrush.
Vaginal thrush is a fungal infection caused by a fungus called Candida. Candida naturally lives in your body in several places, like your mouth, throat, skin and vagina. An overgrowth of Candida causes thrush. This overgrowth can happen due to different factors like pregnancy or contraceptive pills.
If you have these symptoms, you may have thrush:
- white, odourless vaginal discharge
- a stinging sensation when passing urine or having sex
- soreness or itching of the vagina
It’s easy to get confused between different vaginal infections. If you have vaginal discharge that smells or is thin and watery, you may have bacterial vaginosis.
When using Canesten Combi, check the instructions for each step of the treatment. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on how to use Canesten Combi properly.
The Canesten Combi Pessary is a single dose clotrimazole 500mg pessary. It’s best to use the pessary at night when you’ll be most comfortable. Avoid using the pessary when you are on your period.
To use Canesten Combi Pessary:
- wash your hands before and after handling the pessary
- remove the plastic applicator from the foil and pull the plunger out until it stops
- take the pessary out from the package and put it into the applicator by gently squeezing both sides of the applicator and inserting the pessary
The pessary is small, white and oblong shaped. It should fit tightly into the applicator. To insert the pessary:
- lie down on your back and bend your knees upwards
- place the applicator as deep as you find comfortable into the vagina
- slowly press the plunger until you feel it stop
- the pessary should be in place inside the vagina
You can dispose of the applicator in your household waste but make sure you do not flush it down the toilet.
You might notice undissolved pieces of pessary on your underwear if you have vaginal dryness. The pessary requires moisture in your vagina to absorb effectively. If you think the pessary has not dissolved properly in your vagina, speak to your doctor.
Canesten Thrush External Cream can be used 2 to 3 times a day until your symptoms disappear. The treatment duration is usually 1 to 2 weeks but your doctor will advise what is the best duration for you.
To use Canesten Thrush External Cream:
- pierce the foil at the end of the tube with the opposite side of the lid
- squeeze out a small amount of cream on your fingertips
- gently rub the cream into the affected areas on your vulva (outside of your vagina) until it is completely absorbed
You should not put Canesten Thrush External Cream into your vagina or swallow it as this cream is only intended to be used on your external skin.
Avoid using tampons, vaginal douches or deodorants when using Canesten Combi.
Both the pessary and cream in Canesten Combi contain clotrimazole. Clotrimazole works by stopping fungi from producing ergosterol, a key part of their cellular function. Without ergosterol, Candida cannot live and will eventually die away.
This means the level of Candida in your body will return back to the normal balance as the thrush infection is treated. Your immune system will try and fight the infection, but sometimes you need medication to support your body's natural defences.
Canesten Combi is effective in treating the cause of the infection within a couple of hours. You should start to see an improvement in your symptoms within 1 to 2 days after using the pessary.
You should use Canesten Thrush External Cream until your symptoms clear up or as your doctor has advised.
If your symptoms are not improving within 7 days of using Canesten Combi, speak to your doctor.
You may get some side effects when using Canesten Combi, but not everyone will experience them. You can speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you are concerned about any side effects.
When using Canesten Thrush Combi Pessary, you may get:
- stomach or pelvic pain
When using Canesten Thrush External Cream, you may experience:
- burning sensation
- peeling of the skin
These side effects should resolve within a few hours. If they persist, speak to your doctor.
If you have any signs of a severe allergic reaction after using Canesten Combi, stop using the medication and contact 999 immediately. These symptoms include:
- breathing difficulties
- swelling of your face, throat or tongue
- feeling extremely weak
- feeling sick
For further information on the side effects of Canesten Combi, you can read the patient information leaflet.
You can use Canesten Combi if you are a woman with thrush symptoms aged between 16 and 60 years old.
In some cases, you should not use Canesten Combi at all. This includes if you are allergic to clotrimazole or other ingredients found in Canesten Combi. You should also not use Canesten Combi during your period.
Speak to your doctor before you use Canesten Combi if you:
- are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
- are breastfeeding
- are under 16 years old or over 60 years old
- think this is the first time you have had thrush
- have had thrush more than three times in the past year
- have abnormal vaginal bleeding or blood stained discharge
- have diarrhoea
- have foul smelling discharge from your vagina
- have pain when you try to pee
- have lower abdominal pain
- white discharge or residue on the penis
- irritation or soreness around the head of the penis
- finding it difficult to pull back the foreskin
Your partner can use Canesten Thrush External Cream to treat their symptoms of thrush.
Canesten Combi contains lactose monohydrate. If you are allergic to lactose or have an intolerance, speak to your doctor before using Canesten Combi.
Canesten Combi may interact with other medications you are taking. Generally, Canesten Combi is safe to use with most prescription medications.
Speak to your doctor if you are taking tacrolimus or sirolimus. These are immunosuppressant medications used after an organ transplant.
You should let your doctor or pharmacist know if you are taking any medications or over the counter products.
Canesten Thrush External Cream can damage condoms and diaphragms. You should try to avoid having sex when you have the symptoms of thrush as you can pass the infection on to your partner.
You can treat thrush using a few different Canesten products depending on what type of treatment you prefer.
If you would rather take an oral medication, you can use Canesten Duo. Canesten Duo comes with a Canesten Oral Capsule and Canesten Thrush External Cream.
You can also request Canesten Thrush External Cream on its own if you would like to treat the external symptoms only.
Remember to wear loose fitting underwear and trousers while you are being treated for thrush. This will make sure the infection does not get worse. You should also wash your vagina (or penis) with only water and dry yourself completely.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 04 Feb 2022
Canesten Thrush Combi Pessary & External Cream, Patient Information Leaflet, EMC [accessed February 2023]
Canesten® Thrush Combi Vaginal Pessary & External Cream, Bayer [accessed February 2023]
Thrush in men and women, National Health Service [accessed February 2023]
Common questions about clotrimazole for thrush, National Health Service [accessed February 2023]
Clotrimazole, StatPearls [accessed February 2023]