Candida organisms naturally live on the skin, but breakdown of the outer layers of skin promote the yeast's overgrowth. This typically occurs when the environment is warm and moist such as in diaper areas and skin folds. Superficial candida skin infections appear as a red flat rash with sharp scalloped edges. There are usually smaller patches of similar appearing rash nearby, known as "satellite lesions." These rashes may cause itching or pain.
The first time you experience the symptoms of a yeast infection, you should see your doctor to rule out any other conditions. Even if you’ve had a yeast infection before, you should consult your physician if the condition isn’t improving despite using medication, or if you experience four or more yeast infections per year. You might need something stronger than what’s 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.
Boric acid is a powerful antiseptic that some women claim is useful for treating yeast infections that are resistant to other remedies. According to a 2009 study, topical boric acid showed encouraging results as a treatment for vaginal infections. Some health websites claim boric acid vaginal suppositories may also be effective in treating vaginal yeast infections.
Topical antibiotic (antifungal) treatments (applied directly to the affected area) are available without a prescription. These include vaginal creams, tablets, or suppositories. Regimens vary according to the length of treatment and are typically 1- or 3-day regimens. Recurrent infections may require even longer courses of topical treatment. These topical treatments relieve symptoms and eradicate evidence of the infection in up to 90% of those who complete treatment.
It could also mean you’re experiencing recurrent yeast infections (more than four yeast infections a year), according to the Mayo Clinic. Your doctor can work with you on identifying your triggers and provide more effective treatments to help manage the yeast overgrowth, such as a longer course of drugs or a preventive antifungal regimen to use even when you don’t have any symptoms.
Another possibility: Your “yeast infection” is persisting because it’s actually a different condition, such as bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis. This is why it’s especially important to prioritize heading to the doctor ASAP if you’re pregnant and your self-treated yeast infection comes back. Some issues that can masquerade as yeast infections can be dangerous during pregnancy. For example, bacterial vaginosis can increase the risk of preterm labor, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Short-course vaginal therapy. Antifungal medications are available as creams, ointments, tablets and suppositories. An antifungal regimen that lasts one, three or seven days will usually clear a yeast infection. A number of medications have been shown to be effective, including butoconazole (Gynazole-1), clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin), miconazole (Monistat 3), and terconazole (Terazol 3). Some of these are available by prescription only, while others are available over-the-counter. Side effects might include slight burning or irritation during application. You may need to use an alternative form of birth control. Because the suppositories and creams are oil-based, they could potentially weaken latex condoms and diaphragms.
A yeast infection is simply an overgrowth of candida, a fungus found naturally in your vagina, says Pari Ghodsi, M.D., an ob-gyn and women’s health expert practicing in LA. A fungus? In your lady bits? Yep, it’s all part of the delicate microbiome of organisms that keeps things running smoothly downstairs. When all is working properly, the bacteria in your vagina keep the fungus in check, but if something throws off the balance you can end up with an overgrowth of bacteria (bacterial vaginosis) or candida (a yeast infection), she explains.
A health care provider will use a cotton swab to take a sample of your vaginal discharge. The sample is put on a slide along with a drop of a special liquid. Your health care provider or a person working in a lab will then look at the sample under a microscope to see if you have an overgrowth of yeast. There are other office based tests for evaluating vaginal discharge. Your health care provider may also do a culture of the discharge, particularly if you have had yeast infections that keep coming back.