Think you have a yeast infection? It may be tempting to try to diagnose yourself. But it's important to see your doctor to find out for sure, especially if it's the first time you've suffered these symptoms.
Symptoms of a yeast infection can include vaginal and vulvar itching or soreness; a reddish, inflamed, or dry vagina; a thick, white, cheesy discharge; and pain during sex or urination.
But unless you have a medical degree, you may want to leave off diagnosing your own yeast infection. You could be making a big mistake. In fact, it is quite common for women to misdiagnose themselves with yeast infections.
Why should I see a doctor?
- Many conditions can cause symptoms that mimic yeast infections. Some of these conditions, such as urinary tract infections or vaginal bacterial infections, will need to be identified and properly treated as soon as possible. If you don't see a doctor, you won't get the treatment you need.
- Something as surprising as detergent or menopause can cause vaginal itching or irritations, in which case a yeast infection treatment you buy for yourself at the pharmacy won't make you feel any better. In fact, up to two-thirds of these treatments are bought and used by women who don't really need them. Overuse of these drugs is leading to resistant yeast infections that are harder to treat.
- Your doctor can confirm the presence of a yeast infection with a pelvic exam or a vaginal swab. That's something you can't do at home. If you do have a yeast infection, your doctor can help you choose the best treatment for you.
- Your doctor can monitor you for possible complications, like secondary infection caused by irritation and scratching of the vaginal area.
- If you experience yeast infections regularly, you may think you're an expert on your own symptoms by now. But if you seem to be getting a lot of yeast infections, it is even more important to visit your doctor. Recurring infections can be a sign of an underlying condition such as diabetes or a weakened immune system.
What treatment is available?
The good news is that yeast infections are easy to treat. Antifungal treatments taken orally or applied directly to the vagina are safe and have a high success rate of curing yeast infections. See your doctor for the treatment that is right for you.
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