Treat vaginal thrush with Canesten Cream.
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Canesten Cream is used to relieve the external symptoms of thrush in women. You can apply it to the affected areas 2 to 3 times a day.
It contains the active ingredient clotrimazole (each gram of Canesten Cream contains 20mg of clotrimazole). Canesten Cream is the brand name for clotrimazole cream.
20 g tube(s) - £10.99
About Canesten Cream
You might need to start treatment with Canesten Cream if you get:
- itching and irritation around the vulva
- soreness and stinging during sex or when you pee
- white discharge, looking like cottage cheese, which usually does not smell
If you’re not sure whether you may need a thrush treatment you could to buy a test kit. You can easily order a Canestest kit online or simply buy it in a supermarket or pharmacy. The test is made by the same company that markets Canesten Cream, and it’s reliable and easy to use.
The test will help you to understand if the symptoms you're experiencing are because of thrush or bacterial vaginosis. If the test shows that you're positive for bacterial vaginosis, you can also order a treatment from ZAVA. If the test is negative and you wish to get tested for other STIs, you could order our Extended STI Test Kit and take the test in comfort at home.
You can get Canesten Thrush External Cream 2% without a diagnosis from a face-to-face assessment, especially if it’s not the first time you’re getting these symptoms and you've used treatment before.
But it’s a good idea to get medical advice before starting to use it if:
- it’s the first time you experience symptoms of candidal vaginitis
- you've had more than 2 infections of candidal vaginitis in the last 6 months
- you or your partner have had an STI in the past
- you're pregnant or suspect pregnancy
- you're aged below 16, or over 60
- you have a known allergy to antifungal products
You can use Canesten Cream 2 to 3 times a day depending on how strong your symptoms are.
To apply Canesten Cream:
- squeeze a strip of cream onto your finger
- spread a thin layer on the affected areas outside of your vagina
- rub the cream gently into your skin until it is fully absorbed
Your doctor will tell you how long to use Canesten Cream for. The usual length of treatment can be between 1 to 2 weeks depending on your symptoms.
You should avoid using any other vaginal creams or perfumes at the same time as Canesten Cream unless prescribed by a doctor.
Do not swallow Canesten Cream or insert it into your vagina, as the cream is designed for external use only.
To treat the thrush infection completely, you should also use an internal treatment. This could be a soft gel pessary, oral capsule or internal cream.
Canesten Cream is used to treat external thrush symptoms.
Thrush is a yeast infection caused by the fungi Candida. Your body will naturally have some Candida in different areas, such as your gut lining, your vagina and even on your skin. An overgrowth of Candida can cause a thrush infection.
The symptoms of thrush include:
- white discharge from your vagina that does not have a smell
- irritation or itchiness around your vagina
- feeling sore when you pee or have sex
It can be confusing to know if you have thrush or another vaginal infection, like bacterial vaginosis. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you are unsure, or read our guide to find out more.
Thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) but you can transfer it to your partner during sex. Men can also get treated for thrush, though they will need a different dose of clotrimazole cream.
You can use Canesten Cream on your vulva (the outer part of your vagina) to relieve irritation and soreness.
You can use Canesten Cream in combination with other Canesten products to treat the internal infection. The cream will not treat the infection inside your vagina. You can choose to use a pessary or capsule to work alongside the cream.
Canesten Cream contains 2% w/w clotrimazole, an antifungal medication. Clotrimazole is part of a group of medicines called imidazoles.
Clotrimazole controls the overgrowth of Candida in thrush. It does this by stopping fungi from making an important part of their cell structure. Without this molecule, the fungi cannot function properly and will eventually die.
Clotrimazole can also be used to treat fungal skin infections such as athlete's foot, nappy rash or ringworm. These infections are usually treated with clotrimazole 1% cream.
Canesten Cream is an effective treatment that soothes the external symptoms of thrush. You may feel relief as soon as the first day of treatment. It’s important to continue using Canesten Cream for as long as your doctor has prescribed, otherwise the infection can come back. You should also use an internal treatment to treat the infection inside your vagina.
If your symptoms remain 7 days after you have finished using Canesten Cream, speak to your doctor.
You may have recurring thrush if you get thrush more than 4 times in 12 months. This can happen for various reasons, such as pregnancy or uncontrolled diabetes. Speak to your doctor to find out how to manage recurring thrush.
Canesten Cream is a safe medication that has very few side effects. If you are allergic to clotrimazole or any of the other ingredients in Canesten Cream, you should not use it.
You can recognise an allergic reaction if you have:
- facial swelling
- breathing difficulties
Contact 999 immediately if these symptoms occur after using Canesten Cream.
Once you apply the cream, you may feel some itchiness or burning. If this does not disappear after an hour or so, speak to your doctor.
For more information on potential side effects, you can read the patient information leaflet.
You can use Canesten Cream if you are a woman aged between 16 and 60 years old.
If you think you have thrush as well as any of the following symptoms, do not use Canesten Cream:
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- bloody discharge
- discharge that has a bad smell
- ulcers or blisters around on your vagina or vulva
- pain when you pee
- feeling sick or being sick
Speak to your doctor before using Canesten Cream if you:
- have had more than 2 occurrences of thrush in the past 6 months
- are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
- have a history of STIs
You should also let your doctor know if you are younger than 16 or older than 60. Thrush does not commonly occur in these age groups so you will need to be treated under medical supervision.
Canesten Cream interacts with very few other medications. As you will use Canesten Cream on your skin, it is safe to use with other medications. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you are unsure about using Canesten Cream.
You should avoid using any vaginal products, such as deodorants, perfumes or washes, when using Canesten Cream. These products can affect the balance of Candida in your vagina, so it’s best not to use them at all if you want to prevent getting thrush in the future.
Canesten Cream can damage latex condoms. If you use these for contraception, you should use another form of birth control for at least 5 days after you use Canesten Cream. Alternatively, you can avoid sex until after the infection clears up.
Canesten products are extremely effective in treating thrush but they might not work for everyone.
If you cannot use Canesten cream, clotrimazole, or similar products, you can try to:
- avoid wearing tight trousers or underwear
- avoid having sex if it feels uncomfortable
- only use water to wash your vagina, or non perfumed soap
- dry your vagina with a clean towel after washing
If you do not have external symptoms but can feel a stinging sensation inside your vagina, you may benefit from taking a single dose of fluconazole.
Speak to your doctor if you feel your thrush symptoms are not improving.
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