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?
Yeast Infections All You Need To Know About Causes Symptoms And Treatments
Did you know that 75% of women have experienced a vaginal yeast infection at least once, according to the Centers for Disease Control , but its not something often discussed.
Even though theyre common, we get it, yeast infections can feel taboo. Oftentimes, confusion can create a lot of unnecessary stress. So what causes them, what are the symptoms, and how do you get relief?
Can Yeast Infections Be Prevented Or Avoided
Here are some things you can do to help prevent a yeast infection:
- Dont wear tight-fitting clothing or clothing made out of synthetic material.
- Wear cotton panties.
- Dont wear pantyhose or leotards every day.
- Use your blow dryer on a low, cool setting to help dry your genital area after you bathe or shower and before getting dressed.
- Change out of wet swimsuits or other damp clothes as soon as you can.
- Avoid using colored or perfumed toilet paper.
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.
What To Do When A Yeast Infection Wont Go Away
Certain yeast infections are more serious than others, and others can be resistant to medications typically used to treat them. So if your yeast infection isnt going away on its own or with over-the-counter treatment, see a gynecologist or other healthcare provider. You might need further testing and a secondary course of prescription antifungal medication.
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Treatments For Yeast Infections And Bv
Doctors usually diagnose vaginal infections by taking your history and checking a vaginal swab.
BV is treated with antibiotics that are only available with a prescription. You should see improvements in your symptoms within a day or two of starting treatment.
In either case, if your symptoms arent improving within a week of starting medication, follow up with your doctor, as he or she may need to reexamine the diagnosis or try a different treatment.
If you suspect a yeast infection that doesnt get better quickly or BV, talk to your primary care doctor or OB-GYN. If youd like to make an appointment with an OB-GYN, you can find one here.
What Will Happen When I See The Doctor
We will start with a consultation for your symptoms to assess the severity of the problem as well as determine if there is an underlying cause.
This discussion will include questions on your past medical history, potential sexual exposures, and other risk factors for infection.
The doctor will perform a physical examination as appropriate this may be to check for any tenderness or swelling in the genital area, enlarged lymph nodes, prostate enlargement, or skin changes like ulcers or rashes.
We will then advise you on the appropriate testing, which may include swabs or a urine sample, and blood testing if we are concerned about other associated infections or diseases.
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How Much Tea Tree Oil To Use
Melaleuca oil suppositories can come in different forms, as well as in different dosages.
Although the common vaginal yeast infection treatment suppository is sold in a six-pack. You are typically advised to take it in six days . However, this may vary depending on the products brand. In this case, when deciding on how much oil should be used, adhering to the guideline for using the specific product you chose will be the best way to go.
Different products also come with additional factors and cautions to be mindful of. So its best to research what your suppository of choice recommends you to do.
How Do You Know When A Yeast Infection Is Gone
Once your symptoms resolve and youve completed the duration of your treatment, your yeast infection has cleared. If your symptoms resolve before you complete the full course of treatment, keep using the medication until you have finished it as directed.
If your symptoms persist, or if youre worried about the yeast infection recurring, talk to your doctor.
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Can Yeast Infections Go Away Ontheir Own
Theres a possibility that a yeast infection can go away on its own. The probability varies from person to person.
If you decide not to treat the infection, however, it might get worse. Theres also the possibility that youve misdiagnosed your condition, and what you thought was candidiasis was a more serious problem.
What Should I Do If I Have Frequent Yeast Infections
If you get more than four vaginal yeast infections per year, have a discussion with your healthcare provider. Your provider may:
- Test to confirm that you have a vaginal yeast infection.
- Order a blood sugar test for diabetes.
- Test for HIV/AIDS.
- Discuss any possible hormonal changes .
Your healthcare provider will use your test results to make sure you receive the right treatment. It can be important to treat the underlying cause while treating your yeast infection. Controlling the reason for the infection can help prevent future vaginal yeast infections.
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Risks Of Using Tea Tree Oil For Pregnant Women
Essential oils are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks of using melaleuca oil during pregnancy that can cause harm to you and your baby.
One of the risks of using this oil if you are pregnant is the potential of your endocrine levels being disrupted. This means that using this oil might interfere with the system that regulates the endocrine hormone. Given that pregnancy heightens sensitivity to hormonal shifts, the impact of the oil is unlikely to be welcomed by the body.
Another reason this oil may be unsafe for pregnant women is that essential oils are not FDA-regulated. Consequently, its impossible to say whether or not this oil is safe to use during pregnancy. Although its use in a highly diluted form may be considered low risk in some instances, any level of risk that could endanger the unborn is not advised.
Putting a fetuss health in danger is never a good idea, no matter how minor the risk is.
Do I Have To Go To The Doctor If I Have Vaginitis
If you have symptoms of vaginitis, its a good idea to see your nurse, doctor, or local Planned Parenthood health center. Vaginitis isn’t usually a major health problem, but if you dont get it treated it can become serious.
There are many different causes of vaginitis, and STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia can have symptoms that are really similar to vaginitis. Seeing a doctor is the best way to find out exactly whats going on, so you can get the right treatment.
To see whats causing your vaginitis, your doctor may do an exam, look at a sample of your vaginal discharge under a microscope, or do other tests, like a urine test.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with a vaginal yeast infections before and youre having the same symptoms, you can try an over-the-counter yeast infection medicine. But if youre not sure, see your doctor or go to a Planned Parenthood health center. And if you used an over-the-counter medicine but your symptoms dont go away, see a doctor.
Stopping The Cycle Of Genital Yeast Infections
The genital area naturally contains Candida. Once this balance is disrupted, though, Candida overgrowth can happen.
For some people, being prone to yeast infections is simply hereditary. Overgrowth of yeast can also happen as a result of:
Genital yeast infections are also more common in people with compromised immune systems and who have diabetes. Sexual activity and high estrogen levels are other risk factors.
There are also studies suggesting chronic yeast infections may be due to hypersensitivity to Candida.
A genital yeast infection can cause burning and itching sensations. You may also notice a red rash, especially around the vulva or anywhere . When you urinate, you may see a cottage cheese-like discharge and feel burning on the surrounding skin.
Over-the-counter suppository medications can usually treat vaginal yeast infections. However, if this is your first yeast infection or first recurring yeast infection, you may want to see your doctor. They can rule out the possibility of other infections.
Once treated, you can help keep genital yeast infections from returning by keeping good hygiene habits and promoting normal vaginal bacterial balance. Here are some tips:
- Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing.
- Take daily showers.
Diagnosis Of Yeast Infection
Many women who have experienced a yeast infection before will know the signs and can often treat it themselves at home with over-the-counter medications. However, if you are at all unsure of your symptoms or feel your yeast infection is unmanageable on your own, it is best to see your doctor.
When you arrive at your appointment, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your medical history. You may also be asked whether you have had a sexually transmitted infection in the past and about your sexual history.
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What Is A Vaginal Yeast Infection
A vaginal yeast infection, also known as candidiasis, is a common condition. A contains bacteria and some yeast cells. But when the balance of bacteria and yeast changes, the yeast cells can multiply. This causes itching, swelling, and irritation.
Treating a vaginal yeast infection can relieve symptoms within a few days . In more severe cases, it may take longer.
Vaginal yeast infections arent considered a sexually transmitted infection , commonly known as sexually transmitted disease . Sexual contact can spread it, but women who arent sexually active can also get them.
A specific kind of yeast called Candida albicans causes most yeast infections. These infections are easily treatable.
If youre having recurring yeast infections or problems getting rid of a yeast infection with conventional treatment, a different version of Candida might be the cause. A lab test can identify what type of Candida you have.
What Can I Do To Prevent Yeast Infections
As a rule of thumb, it would be better to wear underwear with a cotton crotch that doesnt fit too tightly. Always wash your panties with warm water and avoid scented feminine products this includes pads, tampons and even bubble baths. It would help to avoid hot tubs too.
Try not to go on antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.
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How To Get Rid Of A Yeast Infection
The only foolproof way to get rid of a yeast infection is by taking a short course of antifungal medication. These are available as over-the-counter or prescription oral pills, topical antifungal creams, and suppositories.
OTC treatment options include the cream clotrimazole and miconazole , which comes as a cream or suppository. The most widely used prescription treatment option is fluconazole , an oral medication that you take for two or three days .
If you experience chronic or recurrent yeast infections, your doctor may prescribe a longer course of medication to take for several weeks or months. This will ensure the infection clears up completely and does not return.
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.
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Transmitting The Infection Back And Forth
Candida infections can happen on other areas of skin and in the mouth. They can spread via skin-to-skin contact. This is most common between breastfeeding moms and their babies.
The key to prevent recurring transmissions is to make sure both mom and baby are completely cured of yeast infections. You may have to pump your breast milk and bottle-feed while the infections clear up.
Treatments: What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of A Yeast Infection
The most common treatment for a penile yeast infection is antifungal cream, such as miconazole or clotrimazole, that you apply to the infected area once daily for one to three weeks or as directed by your healthcare provider. These treatments are typically available over-the-counter .
Some types of antifungal treatments can also be prescribed by a healthcare provider. If your symptoms are particularly severe or your yeast infection returns, a healthcare provider might prescribe oral fluconazole and topical steroids .
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Prevention Of Vaginal Yeast Infection
Women who are at high risk of a yeast infection may need to take an antifungal drug by mouth to help prevent yeast infections. Such women include those with the following:
A need to take antibiotics for a long time
Repeated yeast infections, particularly in women with a weakened immune system
Keeping the vulva clean and wearing loose, absorbent cotton clothing that allows air to circulate can reduce moisture, which encourages the growth of yeast, and thus help prevent yeast from growing.
Remedies And Treatments For Yeast Infections
The most effective treatment for yeast infections is a dedicated course of antifungal medication. However, you can also try several home remedies if you are waiting to see a doctor for a diagnosis and prescription. Here are six treatments for yeast infections.
Many yeast infections occur when your immune system is busy or damaged. Itâs common to experience yeast infections while on antibiotics because your bodyâs normal bacteria die off.
Yogurt is another healthy source of probiotics. Just make sure that you eat the yogurt. It doesnât offer any benefits when applied topically, and the sugar thatâs present in all yogurt may cause other infections as well.
Apply Saltwater Rinses
Yeast infections can sometimes be reduced and soothed by rinsing the area gently with saltwater. Mix a half teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. For oral thrush, you can gently swish the mixture around in your mouth. For other areas of your body, you can soak the infected area for several minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Apply Coconut Oil
Coconut oil seems to act as an antifungal agent both in the lab and in people.
You can gently apply a thin layer of coconut oil to the site of the yeast infection. This may help kill off some of the yeast and may soothe irritated, dry, uncomfortable skin, allowing it to heal.
Use Tea Tree Oil
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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.
Which Doctor To Consult For Penile Infection
If you are suffering from a penile infection, you may wonder which doctor to see. Its important to know that some of these symptoms are common to other conditions. For example, you might be suffering from a yeast infection if you have a painful passage when passing urine. There are also some other causes for urethral infections, such as poor hygiene or underlying conditions. In any case, if youre worried that you have a yeast infection, you should see a professional right away.
A doctor can diagnose penile infection based on your symptoms and other conditions. In many cases, a patient may be suffering from a mild case, but its possible that you could be developing a serious medical condition. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your GP may decide to refer you to a specialist. Your GP may want to wait and see if your symptoms improve or if you need to visit a urologist.
In most cases, your GP will refer you to a specialist, unless your symptoms are serious and require surgical intervention. However, some men may have more serious conditions that require a specialist. A doctor may decide that you need to undergo a circumcision. The procedure is usually painless, but if the condition is severe, you may need a medical procedure. For this reason, your healthcare provider should evaluate you and determine if you have diabetes.