Too much alcohol and sweet treats on Valentine's Day could bring on a yeast infection which results in itching, swelling and redness in the genitals.

The cause is candida albicans, a natural microflora which lives in our bodies and can be found in the vagina, the mouth and the gastrointestinal tract.

Most of the time it causes no issues, but occasionally overgrowths and infections could happen, especially if you’ve recently been on antibiotics.

Dr Diana Gall, from online doctor service Doctor-4-U, said: “This normally harmonious balance, can be disrupted if a person consumes too much sugar and refined goods which sends candida albicans into overdrive causing thrush."

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She continued: "This is especially the case if a person has recently taken antibiotics, as antibiotics can cause an overgrowth of candida. Thrush is an opportunistic infectious agent as far as the digestive pathway is concerned.

“And a diet with too many refined foods, loaded with sugar – such as chocolate and wine – can fuel thrush as it increases sugar in our urine. This overload of sugar feeds the yeast in the genitals.”

Candida albicans is the most prevalent cause of fungal infections in people. In infections like thrush, it can create white patches.

In addition to managing your chocolate and wine intake, Dr Gall suggests staying away from fermented foods in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.

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She added: “If you are prone to outbreaks of thrush you can manage it by watching what you eat and avoiding other trigger foods. This includes bread, blue cheeses, vinegar, soya sauce, Marmite and mushrooms.”

Instead the doctor recommends eating soda bread which is yeast free.

It’s estimated around 75% of women suffer from thrush at some stage during their productive years.

Dr Diana continued: “In women the symptoms of vaginal thrush include itching, irritation, discharge, soreness, redness and swelling of the vagina and vulva.

“Although less common, in men thrush can cause irritation and redness particularly on the head of the penis.”

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