Could it be a yeast infection?
Do I have a yeast infection?
It is estimated that 75% of women will have a yeast infection at some time in their lives. And half of all women will have more than one. (Source: US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.) Though itchiness is a main symptom of yeast infections, it's important to see your doctor to get a diagnosis.
Yeast infection symptoms can be very uncomfortable, but are usually not serious. The main symptom is itchiness, though it's not the only one. And it's important to get a diagnosis from a doctor, to make sure the treatment is right for you, and to rule out a more serious infection.
Yeast infection causes
Vaginal yeast infections occur when certain internal or external factors change the normal environment of your vagina and trigger an overgrowth of a microscopic fungus. The acidic balance of the vagina can be changed by your period, pregnancy, diabetes, some antibiotics, birth control pills and steroids.
Moisture and irritation of the vagina also seem to encourage yeast to grow.
Repeated yeast infections can be triggered by other, less serious, illnesses or physical and mental stress, anything that may lessen your immunity. Bubble baths, vaginal contraceptives, damp or tight-fitting clothing and feminine hygiene products, such as sprays and deodorants, don't cause yeast infections, but they may make you more susceptible.
Signs of a yeast infection may include the following:
- Intense vaginal itching
- Burning, especially during urination
- A white vaginal discharge that may look like cottage cheese, mostly odorless
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Swelling and soreness in the vulva (the skin that surrounds your vagina)
Although common, the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection may be similar to other illnesses, so it's important to see your doctor to be sure.
How is a yeast infection diagnosed?
To diagnose a yeast infection, your doctor may review your history of vaginal infections or sexually transmitted diseases and conduct a pelvic examination. He or she may also take a sample of any discharge for laboratory analysis.
What do I do until I can get to the doctor?
Yeast infections need to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Once you have had a yeast infection, you may be able to recognize symptoms and treat future infections with over-the-counter creams and relieve symptoms with tablets like AZO Yeast®.