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Vaginal Yeast Infections (cont.)

Vaginal Yeast Infection Diagnosis

To help determine the cause of vaginal infection or irritation, the doctor usually asks the woman about her symptoms and performs a physical and pelvic examination. The doctor usually also tests the woman's urine and samples of vaginal discharge. Before the exam, sexual intercourse and douching should be avoided for one to two days if possible to avoid complicating the diagnosis.

The doctor may also ask the following questions:

  • When did this condition begin? Has the discharge changed during the condition?
  • What does the discharge look like? What is the color and consistency? Does it have an odor?
  • Do you have pain, itching, or burning?
  • Does your sexual partner, if you have one, have discharge from his penis?
  • Do you have many sexual partners?
  • Do you use condoms?
  • What helps relieve the discharge?
  • Do you take frequent baths?
  • Have you tried over-the-counter medications?
  • Have you used a douche product?
  • What other medications do you take?
  • Have you changed detergents or soaps recently?
  • Do you often wear tight underwear or pants/jeans?
  • Have you had similar symptoms in the past?

During the pelvic examination, the doctor inspects the woman's vaginal canal and cervix for discharge, sores, and any local pain or tenderness. The doctor may insert a speculum into the vagina to examine the cervix. This may be uncomfortable because of pressure on the vaginal tissues.

Most Candidal infections can be diagnosed without laboratory tests. The following diagnostic tests the doctor may be administer at the time of examination.

  • The doctor may take culture swabs of any vaginal discharge to determine if the infection is fungal (yeast), protozoan (trichomoniasis), or bacterial (bacterial vaginosis). The doctor may also view a discharge sample under a microscope to look for organisms that cause vaginal yeast infections. Examination of the discharge under a microscope is the simplest and least costly method used for diagnosis of yeast infection, but this test may be negative in up to 50% of women who have a yeast infection.
  • In some cases, the doctor may administer a Pap test to rule out the possibility of cervical dysplasia or cancer. The test is then sent to a laboratory, and results typically take one week.
  • The doctor may recommend a colposcopy or biopsy if the woman's cervix appears abnormal. Colposcopy involves a lighted microscope to examine the surface of the cervix. A biopsy involves taking a tissue sample for testing.
  • The doctor may use a blood test to assess for antibodies associated with Candida albicans. This test is normally used only to determine a widespread (systemic) infection has developed.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/19/2013

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