Canesten is a treatment for thrush which is a bacterial yeast infection in the vagina. The pessary is inserted into the vagina in order to soothe the symptoms and treat the thrush infection. The pessary tablet is placed into an applicator shaped like a long plastic stick. This is then inserted into the vagina, pushing up to release the tablet the same way you would with a tampon applicator.
Thrush is caused by the Candida fungus. This is produced naturally in the vagina but it causes thrush to occur when the fungus increases or if your immune system is lower than usual, producing less good bacteria to keep it under control. The clotrimazole contained in Canesten kills the fungus to clear up the infection.
The Canesten pessary is a one-off treatment which usually begins to work overnight. You can expect your symptoms to be gone after a week. In addition to the pessary, you’ll also need to use the Canesten cream which treats the external itching and irritation.
Clotrimazole is the active ingredient within the Canesten pessary.
The inactive ingredients in the Canesten pessary are: lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, lactic acid, maize starch, crospovidone, calcium lactate pentahydrate, magnesium stearate, colloidal anhydrous silica and hypromellose.
Take your time to read through the instructions carefully before use. Wash your hands before you begin and carefully take the pessary out of the packet. Place the tablet in the holder, which is the wider end of the plastic applicator. When you’re ready, get into a comfortable position where you can easily slide the applicator into your vagina. Place it inside just like you would with a tampon, getting it as high up into the vagina as you can. Slide the plastic end upwards in a similar way to using a tampon applicator to release the tablet and then gently remove the empty applicator. It’s recommended to use the pessary at nighttime to allow it to work overnight. You’ll usually get a chalk-like discharge from the tablet but this is completely normal. Continue to apply the Canesten cream 2-3 times a day until the itching, redness and irritation disappears.
The Canesten pessary contains a 500mg dose of clotrimazole which is for single use only.
The Canesten pessary is for one use only. If you are also using Canesten cream, the cream can be used until your symptoms have disappeared.
It’s unusual for the Canesten pessary to cause side effects but it can happen, as with any other type of medicine. Possible side effects include itching, burning, redness, discomfort or irritation in the vagina. If this happens you should see your doctor for advice.
Canesten should be avoided if you have an allergy to clotrimazole or any of the other ingredients. It should be used with caution if you have any of these additional symptoms:
These could be signs of a sexually transmitted infection and should be assessed and treated accordingly.
Other medications won’t affect a Canesten Pessary
There is no need to avoid alcohol while using Canesten.
It’s recommended to seek advice from your midwife or doctor before using Canesten to treat your thrush to make sure that it is safe.
Canesten is likely to damage the latex in condoms and diaphragms but it won’t have any effect on hormonal forms of contraception. It’s advised that you do not have sex while you are being treated for thrush. While it’s not a sexually transmitted infection, it can be passed on during sex so you risk reinfecting yourself or exacerbating your symptoms.
Your fertility will not be affected by Canesten.
For vaginal thrush, the pessary is needed to fully treat thrush in combination with the cream to soothe the external symptoms and discomfort. In men, or for treating other fungal infections, only the cream is needed. The Canesten pessary comes in two different forms: as a gel or tablet. Both work in the same way and are for use inside the vagina. Internal Canesten cream is also available if you feel uncomfortable with using a pessary, and it also comes in the applicator format.
Canesten cream can be used for other fungal infections but the pessary is for the treatment of vaginal thrush only.
Canesten is an anti-fungal medicine, it’s not an antibiotic. Antibiotics are designed to fight bacterial infection, not fungal infections such as thrush.