How Yeast Infections Are Diagnosed
Symptoms of a yeast infection are very similar to the warning signs of other health issues, so you may be at risk if you diagnose it yourself. Find out when you should check in with your gynecologist.
Vaginal itching, redness, and discharge sound like sure signs of a yeast infection a fungal infection that’s as common as it is annoying. As apparent as the infection may seem, however, you may face some risks if you diagnose or treat it yourself. These symptoms can also be a red flag for other, more serious health issues. The only way to know for sure is to see your gynecologist especially if you’ve never been diagnosed with a yeast infection before.
Symptoms of a Yeast Infection
Vulvovaginal candidiasis, more commonly known as a yeast infection, develops when there’s an overgrowth of the Candida yeast normally found in the . The infection can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- A burning sensation in the vaginal area
- Vaginal discharge ranging from thin and watery to thick and curd-like
If you have a yeast infection, you might experience other warning signs such as painful urination, says Sarah Wagner, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill. “This is caused by urine making contact with an irritated vulva,” she says.
Why It’s Important to See Your Doctor for a Yeast Infection
Diagnosing Yeast Infections at the Doctor’s Office
Prescription Treatment for Yeast Infection
What Are The Treatments For Vaginitis
Vaginitis is usually easy to cure. The type of vaginitis treatment thats best for you depends on:
whats causing your vaginitis
how bad your symptoms are
whether you’re pregnant
If your vaginitis is caused by a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, or trich, your doctor may give you a prescription for creams, suppositories, vaginal tablets, or pills. You can also get medicated creams or suppositories for yeast infections at the drugstore without a prescription. Trich is the only type of vaginitis thats sexually transmitted. So if you have trich its very important for your sexual partners to get treated, too.
If your vaginitis is caused by an allergy or irritation, the symptoms will usually go away when you stop using whatevers causing the problem. Sometimes you might need to use a cream to help clear up your vaginitis. In rare cases of really bad allergic reactions, you may need emergency medical help.
If your vaginitis is caused by low levels of estrogen, your doctor may give you a prescription for creams, pills, or vaginal rings that release estrogen into your body.
No matter what type of vaginitis treatment you need, make sure you:
During your vaginitis treatment:
Should You See A Primary Care Provider Or A Gynecologist
Many primary care teams, especially family medicine providers, are well equipped to handle basic gynecology care. They can perform Pap smears and STI testing prescribe medicine or advice for UTIs, vaginal infections, and urinary tract infections and help you decide which birth control methods are a good choice for you.
However, certain concerns are best handled by a doctor who specializes in gynecology. For example, you should see a gynecologist if you have
- painful or irregular periods
- severe pelvic pain or pain during sex
- recurring vaginal infections, such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis
- recurring urinary tract infections
- experienced sexual assault.
Its also helpful to see a gynecologist about birth control if youd like to use long-acting methods, such as an intrauterine device or a birth control implant, or if you have health issues like high blood pressure or lupus that make some methods of birth control unsafe for you.
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What You Can Do To Treat A Yeast Infection Before Seeing A Doctor Straight From An Ob
An overgrowth of yeast is one of the most common causes of irritation down there in fact, an estimated three out of four women will have a vaginal yeast infection at some point in their lives. While candida albicans is the most likely culprit, there are other fungi that can be present and more difficult to treat. That said, as a practicing gynecologist, I believe it’s perfectly reasonable to try to find relief from a yeast infection at home before making an appointment with your doctor. First, you should know the risks and just how long you should wait for home remedies to work.
Do You Have A Yeast Infection
Feeling vaginal itchiness or discomfort? Experiencing burning or pain when you pee? Does it bother you during sexual intercourse? Are you noticing redness or a white cottage-cheese-like discharge? If you are experiencing these symptoms you may have a yeast infection.
Yeast infections, while uncomfortable to experience and uncomfortable to talk about, are actually quite common and occur for a variety of reasons from sexual intercourse to hormone changes to taking antibiotics.
If you suspect you may have a yeast infection, it is important to consult your OB/GYN doctor so they can confirm your diagnosis since there are other conditions and infections that have similar symptoms. Once diagnosed, treatment for a yeast infection typically involves over-the-counter medicinal cream or an oral pill.
For a consultation, or simply to learn more about the causes, symptoms, treatment and cautionary measures for yeast infections, we invite you to schedule an appointment with one of our gynecology experts!
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When To See Your Doctor
If any of these three situations sounds like yours, you need a doctor’s attention:
- It’s the first yeast infection you’ve ever had. See a doctor to be sure it’s not a more serious problem that needs a different treatment, such as a urinary tract infection or STI.
- You’re pregnant. Any medications, including over-the-counter vaginal creams, need to be approved by your doctor during pregnancy.
- You often get yeast infections. If you have four or more yeast infections in a year, doctors call it ârecurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis.â If you have it, youâll need treatment for up to 6 months with an antifungal medication. Frequent yeast infections can also be a sign that you have diabetes or another medical condition.
If you’re concerned about your symptoms or they’re different from past yeast infections you’ve had, you may want to see your doctor for your own peace of mind. They may recommend a prescription-strength vaginal cream to ease the itching and burning more quickly than an over-the-counter product would. There are also oral antifungal medications that might be prescribed.
Common Symptoms Of Yeast Infections
For those women who have not yet had a yeast infection, look out for these signs. In addition to burning and pain during urinating, women with yeast infections deal with itching, pain during intercourse, a thick discharge which can be similar to cottage cheese, redness and swelling of the vulva, and a watery discharge.
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Can Vaginal Yeast Infections Be Prevented
For most girls, theres no way to prevent yeast infections. You may feel more comfortable and have less irritation if you wear breathable cotton underwear and clothes and avoid vaginal sprays and douches. Wearing cotton underwear may also help prevent yeast infections.
If you have diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels stable also can help you avoid yeast infections.
If you think you have an infection, call your doctor for advice. Dont take leftover antibiotics or someone elses antibiotics or medicine. They might be the wrong choice for your condition, and taking antibiotics when theyre not needed can make yeast infections more likely.
Yeast infections can be annoying, especially if they happen often. To help avoid them, follow your doctors advice, wear cotton underwear, and try to wear loose-fitting clothes. Your body will thank you.
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What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of A Yeast Infection
Treatment may depend on the severity of the infection.
- In mild to moderate severity, antifungal medications, such as miconazole and terconazole, are prescribed for three to seven days.
- A few of these medications are over-the-counterdrugs.
- Antifungal medications are available as pills, creams, ointments, and suppositories.
The doctor may prescribe a single, oral dose of antifungal medication, such as fluconazole to control the infection.
You can prevent yeast infection using the following simple tips:
- Avoid tight-fitting, synthetic clothes and pantyhose
- Use cotton panties
- Keep the vaginal area dry after a shower
- Change wet clothes as soon as possible
- Avoid using sprays, scented sanitary pads, or tampons
- Maintain a good glycemic control
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Do Guys Get Yeast Infections
Guys who are not circumcised need to take extra care to clean properly beneath their foreskins. The warm, moist folds of the foreskin are the perfect environment for yeast to thrive. Keeping the area clean and dry may help prevent an infection. If symptoms do show up, a doctor can treat the infection.
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Symptoms Of A Yeast Infection
The symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection may be mild, moderate, or severe depending on how bad the infection is and your individual reaction to it. Some women experience only some of the below symptoms and have only mild discomfort, while others can have a different combination of symptoms and more discomfort. Common symptoms of yeast infections include:
- Redness and swelling in the vulva
- Vaginal pain and/or soreness
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Oral Medication Is An Option
Trying an OTC cream is a convenient and effective option to treat a yeast infection, but sometimes women have a sensitivity to the ingredients in the products and it makes irritation and symptoms worse, says Diana Atashroo, MD, a gynecologist at Stanford Pelvic Health Center in Redwood City, California. In that case, you may do better with a prescription single-dose of oral antifungal medicine.
How Long Should You Wait Before Seeing A Doctor
If your symptoms don’t improve within two to three days of at-home treatment, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. While a yeast infection isn’t dangerous, it can increase your risk for other dangerous infections. Tears in the skin that can happen with a prolonged or untreated yeast infection can make contracting a sexually transmitted infection much more likely.
Your doctor can rule out other types of infection and provide more effective, prescription treatments. If yeast infections are a recurring issue, they can also help you identify lifestyle or behavioral changes that could help reduce your risk. Either way, it’s a conversation worth having.
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Yeast Infections: Whats Normal And When Should You Call Your Ob/gyn
Vaginal yeast infections are a pretty common condition that a lot of women must deal with. While having a yeast infection is an annoyance and can cause unpleasant symptoms, it is not usually a serious condition that causes lasting complications. Many women can effectively treat symptoms and resolve the infection themselves using over-the-counter medication, but what if that doesnt work. When should you call your OB/GYN when you have a yeast infection?
Diagnosing And Treating Yeast Infections At Home
Did you know 3 out of 4 women will get a yeast infection in their lifetime? Many will get more than one. The good news for womenespecially those who experience more than oneis you may be able to diagnose and treat a yeast infection from home. If you have never had a yeast infection, youll want to go to your doctor or at least talk to them first and get their advice.
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How Can I Prevent A Yeast Infection
You can take steps to lower your risk of getting yeast infections:
- Avoid scented feminine products.
- Change tampons, pads, and panty liners every few hours.
- Wear cotton underwear .
- Change out of sweaty clothes after exercising and swimsuits after swimming.
- Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet.
If you think you have a vaginal yeast infection, call 479-482-9268 to set up an appointment with one of our health care providers at Creekside Center for Women.
But Dont Do That With An Otc Antifungal
On the other hand, you shouldnt use antifungals preventatively. Antifungal resistancewhich happens in a similar way to antibiotic resistanceis an emerging problem, according to 2018 research published in the journal Science. If you have a history of recurrent yeast infections, see a gynecologic specialist who may recommend suppressive medical therapy, says Megan Quimper, MD, an OB/GYN at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
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How Can You Make Yourself As Comfortable As Possible During Gyn Visits
It is normal to feel nervous. Youre discussing sensitive topics and may feel vulnerable and even uncomfortable during the exams. Here are a few strategies to try to maximize your comfort during these visits:
- If you are anxious or nervous at gyn visits, let your provider know.
- Ask all your questions before the start of the physical exam.
- Tell the provider if this is your first pelvic exam.
- If you have experienced in the past, tell your provider that these types of exams may be difficult for you given your history.
- Practice mindful breathing or other relaxation techniques during your exam.
Stages Of Healing For Yeast Infections
In most cases, the primary treatment for a yeast infection is an over-the-counter antifungal medication. These are available in oral form or as topical creams, ointments, or suppositories.
An OTC antifungal treatment should begin working within a few days. The symptoms should slowly improve over the course of a week.
Some people may experience recurrent yeast infections, which experts define as more than two yeast infections within a 6-month period. People who experience recurrent infections may need to continue taking antifungal medication for up to 6 months.
For people with a history of recurrent yeast infections, it is important to begin treating the infection as soon as it appears. This will help prevent it from getting worse.
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When Should I See My Doctor
If self-care doesnt treat the symptoms, you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider to see if you really have a yeast infection or if:
- Its the first yeast infection youve had. Yeast infections can mimic other infections, such as a urinary tract infection or STI.
- You are pregnant. Your doctor should approve all medications during your pregnancy.
- You have gotten several infections, four or more, in a year. Frequent yeast infections are a sign of another medical condition. You may need a 6-month treatment regimen to get rid of the yeast infection or have an underlying condition that needs to be treated.
If you have a recurring infection, your partner may also need to be checked for a yeast infection.
Treating Your Yeast Infection At Home
Here are some ways you can treat your yeast infection and also prevent another in the future:
- Apply vaginal creams. The most popular and effective way to get rid of a yeast infection is to use an OTC vaginal cream. Most creams require application for 1 to 7 days, depending on the dosage strength.
- Increase probiotics. Putting some good bacteria into your system can help to fight off the excess yeast and prevent future infections from occurring. Specifically, look for yogurt or capsules containing lactobacillus acidophilus.
- Avoid sugar. Yeast feeds on sugar, so if you are prone to yeast infections or already have one, cutting back your sugar and carb intake can help keep the yeast at bay.
Some other home remedies that have been known to help include: garlic, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. These foods contain natural antibiotic and antifungal properties that can clear up infection.
If this is the first time youve had a yeast infection or if you have any concerns, dont hesitate to contact your general practitioner or womens health doctor and schedule an appointment.
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How Often Should You See A Gynecologist
The ACOG recommends that you see your gynecologist at least once a year for a routine checkup, regardless of whether you receive a physical exam or not. You dont need a pelvic or breast exam for most birth control prescriptions or to get tested for sexually transmitted infections.
Dr. Greves also notes that you shouldnt wait to see your gynecologist if youre experiencing odd symptoms and want to get checked out. Even if its no big deal, confirming that you have nothing to worry about can be a weight off of your shoulders.
What Is A Yeast Infection
If things are out of balance, then an overgrowth of candida can occur or the fungus will penetrate deeper vaginal cell layers. This overgrowth and penetration lead to a yeast infection, which causes discomfort and other unpleasant symptoms.
There are several things that can contribute to or cause yeast overgrowth, including:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- A weakened immune system, due to chronic or acute illness or certain medication
- Increased estrogen levels caused by hormone therapy or birth control
- Douching or the use of scented feminine products
- Wearing tight-fitting pantyhose or underwear
- Wearing underwear without a breathable cotton crotch
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