Diagnosis of yeast infection
Many women who have experienced a yeast infection before will know the signs and can often treat it themselves at home with over-the-counter medications. However, if you are at all unsure of your symptoms or feel your yeast infection is unmanageable on your own, it is best to see your doctor.
When you arrive at your appointment, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your medical history. You may also be asked whether you have had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past and about your sexual history.
Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to test for any signs of infection. They will check your cervix, vaginal walls, and your exterior genitals. There is a possibility that your doctor will take a sample of cells from your vagina to test for infection. This type of testing is typically done only for women who have an infection that won't go away, or women who tend to get yeast infections repeatedly.
When it comes to how to get rid of a yeast infection, your doctor is the best resource you have. There are a number of yeast infection treatment options aimed at restoring a healthy vaginal environment.
If you have uncomfortable symptoms but haven’t been diagnosed with a yeast infection, speak with your doctor. Many different types of vaginal infections have similar symptoms. An appropriate diagnosis is key to effective treatment.
How quickly a yeast infection will go away depends on its severity. With appropriate treatment, most yeast infections clear up in a few days. The most common treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter creams, ointments, or suppositories: Many antifungal treatments are available over the counter, including one-dose treatments, three- and five-day regimens, and week-long treatments. Ask your Dignity Health provider about the recommended treatment and use the product as directed.
- Prescription creams, ointments, or suppositories: Antifungal vaginal medications are also available by prescription. In some cases, prescription medication is cheaper than over-the-counter medication.
- Oral medications: A single prescription pill is sometimes enough to treat a yeast infection. Your doctor may prescribe multiple doses over a period of days or weeks to treat severe or recurring yeast infections.
Common medications used to treat a yeast infection include:
- miconazole (Monistat)
- clotrimazole (Canesten)
- butoconazole (Gynazole)
- terconazole (Terazol)
- fluconazole (Diflucan)
If you have a particularly severe infection or you have frequent infections, you may need to extend the period of treatment past a week or take multiple doses of oral antifungal medication. In the most severe cases, treatment may be the insertion of a boric acid capsule into your vagina to get rid of the infection (never take a boric acid capsule orally, as it could be fatal).
Keep in mind that if you keep having recurring infections, your sexual partner may also need to be tested and treated for a yeast infection.
When preparing for your diagnostic appointment, it is wise to schedule it when you are not menstruating, if at all possible, since you will have a pelvic exam. You should also avoid using a tampon or douching prior to your appointment. In addition, prepare any questions you have by writing them down, and be prepared to discuss your symptoms and medical and sexual histories.
There is no special preparation required for the treatment of a vaginal yeast infection.
In the majority of cases, a yeast infection clears up within a few days with the right course of treatment. This treatment will alleviate symptoms and restore the yeast balance in your body, allowing you to get back to normal. If you find you have frequent yeast infections, it is essential to learn to recognize your risk factors so you can take steps to prevent future infections.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.