Is It A Vaginal Yeast Infection Or Something Else
Every year, millions of cases of vaginitis affect women of all ages, but they are especially susceptible during the reproductive years.1 Fluctuating hormonal levels, bacteria, and sexual activities are just a few of the most common reasons women experience vaginal infections and discomfort. Knowing your body well and understanding your symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment options will help you decide upon a course of action that is right for you.
Tests That Help Determine Yeast Infection Presence
The two most common tests for a yeast infection are the vaginal wet mount and the KOH test.
For the vaginal wet mount, your doctor or a lab technician will mix a sample of your vaginal discharge with a salt solution, put it onto a glass slide, and look at it under a microscope.
If there are an abnormally large number of Candida microbes and white blood cells , you have a yeast infection.
The wet mount can also help rule out other infections, including bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.
Instead of using a salt solution, the KOH test uses potassium hydroxide.
If, after diagnosis, your infection doesnt get better with treatment or comes back several more times within a year , your doctor may order a culture test of your yeast.
A culture test will help determine if a Candida species other than C. albicans is causing your chronic infection some yeast species are resistant to the drugs used to treat a C. albicans infection.
Do You Need To See A Doctor Or Can You Self Treat
Always talk with your health care provider before treating yourself for a yeast infection. Heres why:
- Your infection may not be caused by yeast. The symptoms for sexually transmitted infections and bacterial vaginitis can mimic yeast infections, but require different treatments. If not treated correctly, these conditions can cause serious health complications.
- Frequent yeast infections could be a sign of something more serious going on in your body, like uncontrolled diabetes.
- You can develop a resistance to antifungal medication if you dont actually have a yeast infection. This can make actual yeast infections harder to treat in the future.
- Some antifungal medicines can weaken condoms and diaphragms, increasing your chance of getting pregnant or an STI when you have sex.
Once your provider has confirmed that the infection is caused by yeast, shell either write you a prescription or recommend an over-the-counter medication.
If you get more than four vaginal yeast infections a year, or if your infection doesn’t go away after using over-the-counter treatment, you may need to take regular doses of antifungal medicine for up to six months. Check with your health care provider.
I think women just need to be aware of their bodies, and be aware that not all infections and treatments are the same, Hudepohl explains. And that’s why talking to their provider about what is happening with their symptoms is most important.
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Treating A Yeast Infection
If you know that it is a yeast infection from past experience and are familiar with the symptoms, you want an effective and convenient medicine – one that works at the site of the infection. Try MONISTAT®, the #1 OTC antifungal.
MONISTAT® comes in 3 doses: highest dose MONISTAT® 1, regular strength MONISTAT® 3, and low dose MONISTAT® 7. Regardless of which product you choose, you should begin to experience some symptom relief after 3 days, and complete relief in 7 days.
Highest Dose MONISTAT® 1 may be the perfect solution for busy women with active lifestyles. This powerful single-dose product is available in the Ovule® form for use day or night and will stay in place during daily activities, even during exercise.
Regular Strength MONISTAT® 3 is a great option for women who want a less concentrated treatment that provides consistent treatment and relief at moderate dosage levels.
Low Dose MONISTAT® 7 has smaller doses of the active ingredient evenly distributed throughout the week at bedtime. Only 7-day topical yeast infection treatments are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the treatment of yeast infections in pregnant and diabetic women .
What Causes Groin Infections
Groin infections can be caused by a fungus. A fungal infection of the groin can often be irritating to the skin and may be very painful or itchy. Fungal infections may be passed on from person to person, but this is not always the case.
Fungi like moist, warm places to infect, such as folds of skin. To prevent fungal infections the area should be kept clean and dry. It is a good idea to avoid sharing towels, bedding or clothes.
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How Is A Yeast Infection Treated
Yeast infections are usually treated with antifungal medicine. See your doctor or nurse to make sure that you have a vaginal yeast infection and not another type of infection.
Your doctor or nurse can also give you a single dose of antifungal medicine taken by mouth, such as fluconazole . If you get more than four vaginal yeast infections a year, or if your yeast infection doesn’t go away after using over-the-counter treatment, you may need to take regular doses of antifungal medicine for up to six months.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Vaginal Yeast Infections
Vaginal yeast infections can cause:
- redness, swelling, or itching of the vulva
- a thick, white discharge that can look like cottage cheese and is usually odorless, although it might smell like bread or yeast
- pain or burning when urinating or during sex
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor or gynecologist. It’s easy to confuse the symptoms of a yeast infection with those of some STDs and other vaginal infections. Your doctor can make sure you are treated for the right type of infection.
If you have a vaginal yeast infection, your doctor can recommend treatment to clear up the symptoms and cure the infection quickly.
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Changes In Your Sex Life
While a yeast infection is not an STI, having sex more frequently than usual or with a new partner can change the vaginas pH and introduce new bacteria and fungus, explains Dr. Cackovic, altering the Candida levels and causing an infection.
Speaking of sex and yeast infections, if youve ever wondered whether its safe to have sex when you have one, weve got you covered. Everything you need to know is here.
Why Would A Yeast Infection Come Back
Sometimes yeast infections come back for of a variety of reasons â it could be a symptom of an underlying condition , because of persistent lifestyle habits, or another reason.
You should see a doctor if your symptoms return within two months.6 If you’ve had more than four yeast infections within a year, you should see a doctor for treatment that might include other kinds of prescription medication since it may be that the yeast infection is not limited to your nether regions and could be a systemic infection where a more thorough solution may be required.
Looking for healing and preventative measures? I strongly recommend a change in your diet as a good place to start. Read below for some diet pointers.
Eating healthy foods low in sugar may help you from getting a yeast infection.
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How Do You Know You Have One
According to Hudepohl, the most noticeable symptom is itching , along with a thick, white discharge.
Sometimes, that itching can be just overwhelming, she says. It can be very, very uncomfortable.
In some cases, you could also experience:
- Burning, redness and irritation of the vaginal area
- Pain upon urination as the urine passes over sore tissues
- Pain during sex
How Is Yeast Infection Treated
Your healthcare provider will consider your age, overall health, how widespread the infection is and other factors to determine your treatment.
Yeast infections can be easily treated with ointments or other anti-yeast creams.
- Yeast infection in the mouth may be treated with a medicated mouthwash. Or it may be treated with lozenges that dissolve in the mouth.
- If you have a severe infection and have a weak immune system, you may need to take an oral anti-yeast medicine.
- Esophageal yeast infections are usually treated with oral or intravenous anti-yeast medicines.
- Yeast infections of the nails are treated with an oral anti-yeast medicine.
- Yeast infections in the skin folds can be treated with anti-yeast powders.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of A Yeast Infection
You can often prevent vaginal yeast infections by making a few lifestyle changes. These changes can include:
- Not douching douching can kill bacteria that actually control fungus.
- Avoiding the use of feminine deodorants.
- Not using scented tampons or pads.
- Changing out of wet clothing, like bathing suits or gym clothes, as soon as you can.
- Wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes.
- Using water-based sexual lubricants.
- Keeping your blood sugar levels in a normal range if you have diabetes.
The symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are similar to other conditions. If you have any questions, a physical exam by your healthcare provider will help.
Is It Safe To Use Over
Yes, but always talk with your doctor or nurse before treating yourself for a vaginal yeast infection. This is because:
- You may be trying to treat an infection that is not a yeast infection. Studies show that two out of three women who buy yeast infection medicine don’t really have a yeast infection.2 Instead, they may have an STI or bacterial vaginosis . STIs and BV require different treatments than yeast infections and, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems.
- Using treatment when you do not actually have a yeast infection can cause your body to become resistant to the yeast infection medicine. This can make actual yeast infections harder to treat in the future.
- Some yeast infection medicine may weaken condoms and diaphragms, increasing your chance of getting pregnant or an STI when you have sex. Talk to your doctor or nurse about what is best for you, and always read and follow the directions on the medicine carefully.
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Is It Possible To Have A Yeast Infection With Only Burning And Itching
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Yeast Infection After Sex
While its possible to develop a yeast infection after sex, a yeast infection itself is not an STI. Instead, there are other factors at play that can throw off Candida balance in the vaginal area. Vaginal intercourse, as well as penetration via sex toys and fingers, can introduce bacteria.
most common type of vaginal infection in women between the ages of 15 and 44. Its primary causes are bacterial imbalances from douching and sex its not a fungal infection like a typical yeast infection. BV is said to have a strong fishy odor, too.
BV has similar symptoms as a yeast infection, including discharge, burning, and itching. This can make distinguishing between the two infections difficult. But while a vaginal yeast infection doesnt cause long-term complications, untreated BV can.
Among the complications include fertility issues and premature delivery , and a higher risk of contracting STIs.
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What Doctors Look For When They Suspect A Yeast Infection
At your doctors office, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and your overall medical history, including past vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
Your doctor will then conduct a gynecological exam to check for redness, swelling, discharge, and odor.
Your doctor will also examine your cervix for swelling and redness, and your vaginal walls for dry, white spots.
To get a concrete diagnosis, your doctor will likely take a sample of your vaginal secretions and examine it under a microscope.
What Should I Do If I Get Repeat Yeast Infections
If you get four or more yeast infections in a year, talk to your doctor or nurse.
About 5% of women get four or more vaginal yeast infections in one year. This is called recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis . RVVC is more common in women with diabetes or weak immune systems, such as with HIV, but it can also happen in otherwise healthy women.
Doctors most often treat RVVC with antifungal medicine for up to six months. Researchers also are studying the effects of a vaccine to help prevent RVVC.
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When Should I Make An Appointment To See My Provider
The first time you experience the symptoms of a yeast infection, you should see your doctor to rule out any other conditions. Even if youve had a yeast infection before, you should consult your physician if the condition isnt improving despite using medication, or if you experience four or more yeast infections per year. You might need something stronger than whats available over-the-counter. Finally, if your discharge has a bad odor, if you have a fever, or if you have other serious medical problems, you should definitely seek medical attention.
What Are Good Monistat Alternatives
Although you can keep using the creams along with the diet change to speed up the recovery, I would recommend that you go for a more permanent, natural solution instead of the creams.
I tend to prefer more “natural” methods where I can use them. That said, Monistat works for many womenâremember to check with your doctor if it’s your first time experiencing what you think is a vaginal yeast infection to make sure you get the appropriate treatment.
In the long run, it’s always best to find a solution that will correct the problem instead of just temporarily treating it. Changing your diet is a great way to start, and hopefully, it will help restore balance in your body.
I hope this article helped you understand your yeast infection more and hopefully this helps minimize the pain in the healing process.
Here’s to your health! 🙂
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Does Yogurt Prevent Or Treat Yeast Infections
Maybe. Studies suggest that eating eight ounces of yogurt with “live cultures” daily or taking Lactobacillus acidophilus capsules can help prevent infection.4,5
But, more research still needs to be done to say for sure if yogurt with Lactobacillus or other probiotics can prevent or treat vaginal yeast infections. If you think you have a yeast infection, see your doctor or nurse to make sure before taking any over-the-counter medicine.
What Increases My Risk Of Getting A Yeast Infection
Certain factors make you more likely to get a vaginal yeast infection.
Certain factors can increase your risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection. Some of those are:
Certain lifestyle risk factors also increase your risk of a vaginal yeast infection, such as:
- Sitting in a wet bathing suit.
- Not changing out of sweaty clothes.
- Wearing scented tampons or using a vaginal deodorant.
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Yeast Infection: Explanation And Causes
A yeast infection is basically an imbalance in your body between the yeast and good bacteria. A healthy person has a good balance of yeast and good bacteria in their body. As soon as either goes off balance , your body reacts.3
Basically: If there’s too much yeast, you have a yeast infection. If there’s too much bacteria, you have a bacterial infection. Here are some reasons you might be having a yeast infection:
- Using antibiotics? Why are we prone to yeast infections after using antibiotics? Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in your bodyâboth the good and bad. Since they kill the bad bacteria, they also skew the ratio between the good bacteria and the yeast heavily toward the yeast. This increases the odds of a yeast infection.
- Pregnant? High estrogen levels can encourage excess growth of yeast.
- Diabetic or eating a diet high in sugar? High blood sugar can provide a welcome environment for the growth of yeast.
Also, being overweight, stressed out, lacking sleep, having an impaired immune system, and using corticosteroids can also increase your chances of getting a yeast infection.4
Can I Get A Yeast Infection From Breastfeeding
Yes. Yeast infections can happen on your nipples or in your breast from breastfeeding. Yeast thrive on milk and moisture. A yeast infection you get while breastfeeding is different from a vaginal yeast infection. However, it is caused by an overgrowth of the same fungus.
Symptoms of thrush during breastfeeding include:
- Sore nipples that last more than a few days, especially after several weeks of pain-free breastfeeding
- Flaky, shiny, itchy, or cracked nipples
- Deep pink and blistered nipples
- Shooting pain in the breast during or after feedings
If you have any of these signs or symptoms or think your baby might have thrush in his or her mouth, call your doctor. Learn more about thrush in our Breastfeeding section.
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When You Should See A Doctor
Leaving an infection untreated can lead to serious complications, like organ damage or premature birth so when in doubt, it’s best to see your doctor.
Haque says that, in particular, you should see a doctor if:
- You’ve never had the symptoms before.
- You’re not sure what’s causing the symptoms.
- Your symptoms don’t get better with an over-the-counter treatment.
- Your symptoms come back or you have more than two episodes in one year.
- You’re pregnant.
- Your symptoms come with pelvic pain and/or fever.