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Studies find up to an 89 percent error rate in self-diagnosis of yeast infections. Thus, if you think that you have a yeast infection, there's a high chance you're wrong. If your symptoms don't ease after a few days of self-treatment with OTC medicine, or if they return promptly, see your health care professional. Keep in mind, however, that vaginal and vulvar irritation may persist for two weeks.
If this is your first yeast infection, you may have to go see your gynecologist. “Patients will call and say, ‘I’m not sure what’s wrong; can you diagnose me?’ But it’s difficult to make a diagnosis over the phone unless a patient has a documented pattern of recurrent yeast infections,” Dr. Atashroo says. Find out the 10 foods you should eat for a healthier vagina.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j Pappas PG, Kauffman CA, Andes DR, Clancy CJ, Marr KA, Ostrosky-Zeichner L, Reboli AC, Schuster MG, Vazquez JA, Walsh TJ, Zaoutis TE, Sobel JD (2016). "Executive Summary: Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Candidiasis: 2016 Update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America". Clin. Infect. Dis. 62 (4): 409–417. doi:10.1093/cid/civ1194. PMID 26810419.
The most telltale sign of a yeast infection is thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge, which is often described as looking like cottage cheese. It may or may not be accompanied by watery discharge as well. Sounds confusing? This is why it’s so important to know what’s normal for you and your vag. Some women naturally have more vaginal fluids than others so if yours changes suddenly—in color, amount, or odor—it’s time to get it checked out, Ghodsi says.
A Pap smear (Pap test) is a medical procedure to screen for abnormal cells of the cervix. A woman should have her first Pap smear (in general) three years after vaginal intercourse, or no later than 21 years of age. The risks for women at increased risk for having an abnormal Pap smear include: HPV (genital warts), smoking, a weakened immune system, medications (diethylstilbestrol), and others. Some of the conditions that may result in an abnormal Pap smear include: absence of endocervical cells, unreliable Pap smear due to inflammation, atypical squamous cells (ASCUS), low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL), high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), and carcinoma in situ.
For vaginal yeast infection in pregnancy, topical imidazole or triazole antifungals are considered the therapy of choice owing to available safety data. Systemic absorption of these topical formulations is minimal, posing little risk of transplacental transfer. In vaginal yeast infection in pregnancy, treatment with topical azole antifungals is recommended for 7 days instead of a shorter duration.
Aside from sex with a partner who has a yeast infection, several other risk factors can increase your odds of developing a penile yeast infection. Being uncircumcised is a major risk factor, as the area under the foreskin can be a breeding ground for candida. If you don’t bathe regularly or properly clean your genitals, you also put yourself at risk.
Researchers believe that certain methods of birth control may be to blame for recurrent yeast infections. Spermicidal jellies and creams increase a woman's susceptibility to infection by altering vaginal flora, allowing candida (yeast microorganisms) to take firmer hold. It seems that the estrogen in oral contraceptives causes the vagina to produce more glycogen (sugar), which feeds the yeast. Vaginal sponges and intrauterine devices (IUDs) may also make you more prone to infection, and diaphragms are thought to promote colonization of candida.
Diagnosis of a yeast infection is done either via microscopic examination or culturing. For identification by light microscopy, a scraping or swab of the affected area is placed on a microscope slide. A single drop of 10% potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution is then added to the specimen. The KOH dissolves the skin cells, but leaves the Candida cells intact, permitting visualization of pseudohyphae and budding yeast cells typical of many Candida species.
Wait, what? Yes, women can have an imbalance of yeast but not get any yeast infection symptoms. Your doctor may say something about the abundance of yeast after a routine exam or Pap smear, which can leave you confused and alarmed about what’s going on. But as long as you have no symptoms, you don’t need to be concerned or treat it, says Diana Atashroo, MD, a gynecologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem. There’s no reason to take medication your body doesn’t need. Find out the 13 things gynecologists wish their patients knew about yeast infections.
Applying plain yogurt to the area may help to restore balance and reduce irritation. Using only plain yogurt with active cultures, once or twice a day, rub a few tablespoons’ worth around the outside of the vagina to quell irritation, or insert the same amount into the vagina. You can also dip a tampon in the yogurt, let it soak for a few minutes, and then insert it.
It’s possible that eating one cup of yogurt (which contains acidophilus bacteria) a day is helpful in preventing yeast infections. However, eating yogurt alone will not cure or prevent vaginal yeast infections. If you have to take antibiotics and are getting lots of yeast infections, talk to your health care provider about using an anti-yeast cream or pill.
Yeast infections are treated with a pill that you swallow, or with a vaginal cream or vaginal suppository (a partially solid material that you insert into your vagina, where it dissolves and releases medicine). Your health care provider will explain to you what your choices are and if one is better than another for you. The pill is especially good if you don’t want to put cream inside of your vagina. Some anti-yeast vaginal creams are sold over-the-counter (without a prescription) in pharmacies. Other anti-yeast vaginal creams need a prescription. If you use a cream, then you should not use tampons during the treatment since it will absorb the medication and make it less effective.
The MONISTAT® 7 suite of products is the original prescription formula (100 mg of miconazole nitrate per dose), with smaller doses of the active ingredient evenly distributed throughout the week at bedtime. MONISTAT® 7 meets CDC Treatment Guidelines for pregnant women and is appropriate for women with diabetes. (Consult a healthcare professional before use.) Use as directed.