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.
When To See Your Ob/gyn
Many times a simple yeast infection can be treated with over-the-counter medications like Monistat, which will kill the candida fungus and relieve symptoms like itchiness and pain. However, there are certain situations in which it is necessary to see a doctor.
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Diagnosing A Yeast Infection: Signs To Look For
Once a woman has had a yeast infection, its usually easier for her to identify another one when symptoms first appear. Common symptoms can include:
- Thick, white discharge
- Burning feeling especially when peeing or having sex
- Vaginal pain, redness and swelling
Sometimes there are no obvious symptoms, so its important to know what your bodys normal healthy state is. With a yeast infection, there is typically no odor. If youre not sure if you have an infection, you can use the MONISTAT® Symptom Checker to help guide you. Its just a few questions and should take you less than 1 minute to complete.
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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.
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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Can Vaginal Yeast Infections Be Prevented
For most girls, there’s 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. Don’t take leftover antibiotics or someone else’s antibiotics or medicine. They might be the wrong choice for your condition, and taking antibiotics when they’re not needed can make yeast infections more likely.
Yeast infections can be annoying, especially if they happen often. To help avoid them, follow your doctor’s advice, wear cotton underwear, and try to wear loose-fitting clothes. Your body will thank you.
Treatment Of Vaginal Yeast Infection
Yeast infections are treated with antifungal drugs. They may be used in the following ways:
Applied as a cream to the affected area
Butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole, and tioconazole are available without a prescription. Oils in these creams and ointments weaken latex-based condoms , so women cannot rely on condoms for birth control.
Antifungal drugs taken by mouth require a prescription. A single dose of fluconazole is as effective as the creams and ointments. However, if infections recur often, women may need to take several doses.
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Yeast Infections: When To See A Doctor
Most women will have a yeast infection at some point: 75 percent of women get at least one during their lifetime. While there are plenty of over-the-counter treatments, there are times when its wise to see a doctor.
But its important to note that just because you have one or more of those symptoms, it doesnt necessarily mean you have a yeast infection. Studies have shown that women frequently misdiagnose themselves.
When people have never had a yeast infection before, they only diagnose themselves right about 11 percent of the time, and when theyve had one before they diagnose themselves right only about 35 percent of the time, says Dr. Selk. Even if a doctor looks at it and thinks its yeast without actually doing a swab or a slide and looking under a microscope, its not really a very accurate diagnosis.
If you have symptoms, and youve never had a yeast infection before, Dr. Selk recommends seeing a doctor, who can do either a slide or a swab to get a solid diagnosis. She also recommends seeing a doctor if youve had a yeast infection before and you think its the same thing, but your symptoms do not get better with over-the-counter treatment.
Lots of people think they have a yeast infection and they dont have one, Dr. Selk says. Its really important to know, as opposed to just treating yourself. If you do treat yourself and you dont get better, please go and get seen.
Home Remedies For Yeast Infections
For those who want to try a more natural approach to treatment, things like tea tree oil, coconut oil, garlic, oil of oregano, or even yogurt have shown some signs of effectiveness. However, these treatments are spotty and you should still talk to your doctor about using a home remedy, as some herbs and natural supplements can interact with other medications you may be taking. In addition, its always helpful to receive a complete diagnosis from your doctor in case your condition isnt a yeast infection or is being caused by another underlying condition.
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All You Need To Know About Male Yeast Infections How To Treat Them And When To See A Doctor
Male yeast infections are more common than you think. The fungus Candida albicans causes this infection, which is sometimes called candidiasis or moniliasis. Although its not contagious, men with diabetes and weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of developing male yeast infections.
Many healthy men who have had a yeast infection before are able to treat their symptoms and get rid of the infection by using over-the-counter creams.
However, if you are experiencing severe pain or extreme discomfort due to your symptoms, or if you have tried several different treatments without success, itching, redness, or swelling may be a concern.
In that case, it is best to see a physician for further advice on what else could be causing your condition as well as treatment options available for managing any underlying conditions such as diabetes that may also need to be addressed simultaneously. You may instead choose to treat your symptoms effectively with topical medicines prescribed by your physician .
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.
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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.
How Are Vaginal Yeast Infections Treated
If you’re using a vaginal treatment and are sexually active, you should not have sex until the infection has been completely treated because these medicines can weaken condoms and diaphragms.
All these types of medicine can clear up your symptoms in a couple of days and cure the infection within a week. It’s important to take the medicine for the whole time its prescribed. If you stop taking it too soon, the infection could come back. If you’re not feeling better within a few days of finishing treatment, call your doctor.
Some medicines used to treat yeast infections are available without a prescription, but you see a doctor for your diagnosis before buying one. You could have another type of infection that might get worse if not properly treated. Also, over-the-counter medicine should not be used by anyone younger than 12 or girls who might be pregnant without talking to a doctor first.
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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.
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Living With Yeast Infections
Be sure to see your doctor the first time you have symptoms of a yeast infection. Its very important to make sure you have a yeast infection and not another more serious infection. The symptoms of a yeast infection are also the symptoms of other infections, such as some sexually transmitted infections . Treating yourself for a yeast infection when you actually have another type of infection may make the problem much worse.
Some women have recurrent yeast infections. This means they get more than 4 vaginal yeast infections in a year. This condition is called recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis . If you have multiple yeast infections each year, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a treatment that can help prevent the infection from coming back so often.
If you have been diagnosed with many yeast infections over the years, talk to your doctor about medicine you can buy without a prescription to relieve your symptoms and treat the infection.
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A note from Cleveland Clinic
Yeast infections are a very common fungal infection that most women or people assigned female at birth will have in their lifetime. Its highly treatable with medication, some of which are available to purchase at your local drug store without a prescription. Even though you may know the signs of a vaginal yeast infection, its important to get examined by your healthcare provider. They can recommend the best treatment based on the type of yeast infection you have and its severity.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/02/2022.
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When To Go To Urgent Care For A Yeast Infection
You may want to seek medical attention for your yeast infection if:
- This is the first time youâve had yeast infection symptoms
- Youâre not sure whether you have a yeast infection
- Your symptoms arenât relieved after treating with over-the-counter antifungal vaginal creams or suppositories
- You develop other symptoms
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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.
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How Do Doctors Treat Yeast Infections
Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat a vaginal yeast infection. For severe yeast infections or complicated cases, you may be prescribed a 14-day cream or suppository vaginal treatment. Fluconazole is a prescription tablet that often clears up a yeast infection in two or three doses. Prescription medicines often work much more effectively and quicker than over-the-counter medications. If youre especially uncomfortable, you may want to see your doctor to get back to your normal routine quicker.
You can prevent yeast infections by:
- Washing your underwear in hot water
- Avoid wearing tight pants, pantyhose or tights and leggings
- Replace your feminine products regularly
- Wear natural fibers, cotton or silk
- Dont use scented tampons or pads
- Avoid sitting in hot tubs or taking frequent hot baths
- Dont sit around in your wet bathing suit
What Are The Symptoms Of A Yeast Infection
Sometimes the itching and infection can be so intense that it causes the skin to break or bumps and lesions to arise. Many of my patients see lesions or skin breaks and automatically think it must be an STI like herpes. Though that’s possible, yeast can sometimes produce similar symptoms. I wish there were a definitive way to tell the difference between the two, but there isn’t. If the skin lesions are accompanied by a thick, white discharge, yeast may be the cause, but as I already mentioned, yeast can be present even without discharge.
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Natural Yeast Infection Remedies
1. Vinegar Baths
My favorite method of instant relief is a vinegar bath. Vinegar is great for bringing the skin back to proper acidity and killing yeast.
I only recommend organic, non-GMO vinegar and ask my clients to use organic raw apple cider vinegar with the mother from either a local health food store or online.
- Add 1 cup of raw apple cider vinegar to tub full of warm water. If you dont have a water filter, you can easily neutralize the chlorine using this method.
- Soak for 20 minutes, and then dry the area thoroughly. A hair dryer works well.
2. Coconut Oil
The lauric and caprylic acids in coconut oil are powerful antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial agents, and its a non-irritating protective layer. Its also much less messy that the white creams.
Coconut oil is also a great barrier against chafing for irritated, sensitive skin caused by the yeast overgrowth.
- Clean and dry the area thoroughly. Again, I like to use a hair dryer.
- Apply a thin layer of coconut oil to the affected skin as needed. Morning and evening before bed are usually the easiest.
I dont recommend anything for internal use unless directly recommended by your health practitioner. I find that external use is enough for most people.
Probiotics are the buzzword of good health these days and are the common name for beneficial bacteria and yeasts that live in and on our body.
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