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Female Genital Problems (cont.)

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Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.
Vaginal Yeast Infection: Should I Treat It Myself?

Check Your Symptoms

Home Treatment

A vaginal infection may clear up without treatment in 2 or 3 days.

  • If you could be pregnant, do a home pregnancy test. Any pregnant woman with abnormal vaginal symptoms should talk with her doctor about her symptoms before considering using any home treatment measures or nonprescription medicines. For more information, see the topic Pregnancy-Related Problems.
  • Avoid sex so that irritated vaginal tissues can heal.
  • Do not scratch the vaginal area. Relieve itching with a cold water compress or cool baths. Warm baths may also relieve pain and itching.
  • Make sure that the cause of your symptoms is not a forgotten tampon or other foreign object. For more information, see how to remove an object in the vagina.
  • Wear loose-fitting, cotton clothing. Stay away from nylon and synthetics, because they hold heat and moisture close to the skin, which makes it easier for an infection to start. You may want to remove pajama bottoms or underwear when you sleep.
  • Do not douche unless your doctor tells you to.
  • If you have gone through menopause, try using a vaginal lubricant, such as Astroglide, to reduce irritation caused by having sex.

Vaginal yeast infections

If you have symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection and have been diagnosed and treated by your doctor for this condition in the past, you may want to try using a nonprescription medicine, such as tioconazole (for example, Vagistat), clotrimazole (for example, Gyne-Lotrimin), or miconazole (for example, Monistat) to treat your symptoms.

If your symptoms do not improve with home treatment, contact your doctor. Vaginal symptoms that may be related to another type of vaginal infection or a cervical infection need to be evaluated.

Women who take the blood-thinning medicine warfarin (Coumadin) and use a nonprescription vaginal yeast-fighting medicine, such as Monistat, may have increased bruising and abnormal bleeding. Consult with your doctor before using a yeast-fighting medicine if you take warfarin.

Click here to view a Decision Point.Vaginal Yeast Infection: Should I Treat It Myself?

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Symptoms of a vaginal infection develop.
  • Unexpected vaginal bleeding develops
  • A fever develops.
  • You have moderate to severe pain.
  • Your symptoms become more severe or frequent.
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