Vaginal Yeast Infections (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
Your doctor may be able to diagnose your vaginal symptoms based on your medical history and a vaginal exam.
If your vaginal symptoms are not typical of a vaginal yeast infection, your doctor can look for signs of yeast or other organisms using a wet mount test of vaginal discharge.
You may have other tests if you have vaginal yeast infections that are severe or that keep coming back (recur), such as:
You have a number of treatment options for a vaginal yeast infection, including nonprescription vaginal medicine, prescription oral or vaginal medicine, or nonprescription vaginal boric acid capsules.
Only use nonprescription vaginal yeast infection treatment without a doctor's diagnosis and advice if you:
The risk of self-treatment is that your symptoms may be caused by another vaginal infection, such as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), that requires different treatment. If you may have been exposed to an STI, it is best to discuss your symptoms with your doctor before using a nonprescription medicine. Your doctor may recommend testing for STIs if you have risk factors for these infections.
For more information about self-treatment, see:
Yeast infection during pregnancy
Vaginal yeast infections are common during pregnancy, likely caused by elevated estrogen levels. If you are pregnant, don't assume you have a yeast infection until it is diagnosed, and don't use nonprescription medicines without discussing your symptoms with your doctor.
Vaginal medicine is used to treat a vaginal yeast infection during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, do not use antifungal medicine pills that you take by mouth. Also, do not use vaginal boric acid treatment.
Recurrent yeast infection
For a vaginal yeast infection that recurs within 2 months of treatment, or four times in 1 year (recurrent vaginal yeast infection), see your doctor. Further testing or a different treatment may be needed. If you have been using a nonprescription medicine for your vaginal symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor. This information could affect what treatment is recommended.
Recurrent vaginal yeast infection can be treated with prescription oral medicine, nonprescription vaginal medicine, or vaginal boric acid capsules, followed by less frequent suppressive or maintenance therapy over 6 months to 1 year to prevent reinfection.1
A vaginal yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI). After having unprotected sex with a partner who has a yeast infection, you may have more than the normal amount of yeast in your vagina. But if after having sex you develop a yeast infection that causes symptoms, it is most likely because other factors are also involved.
What to think about
It is important to complete the entire recommended treatment to cure a yeast infection.
Vaginal infections caused by types of yeast other than Candida albicans may be more difficult to cure with standard antifungal medicine. For treatment-resistant infections, a culture of vaginal discharge is done to identify the type of yeast causing the infection.
Boric acid is usually effective for treating Candida albicans (C. albicans) infection, and non–C. albicans yeast infections that don't respond to antifungal medicine.1
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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