Vaginal thrush or vaginal yeast infection is a common condition caused by an overgrowth of yeast, Candida albicans, that is normally found in the body in small amounts. Vaginal yeast infections have some hallmark symptoms and are easily tested for at home.
Vaginal thrush during pregnancy is common, although it can occur at any time.
This article will discuss the symptoms of a yeast infection and how to test for one at home. It will also present treatment options and prevention methods.
Yeast Infection Symptoms
The classic symptoms of vaginal thrush are a thick white curdy discharge and intense vaginal itching and soreness. Severe itching can lead to yeast infection sores. Other symptoms you can experience are pain with urination and intercourse, redness and swelling of the vulva, and a vaginal rash. It is common for women to have milky, white discharge during ovulation, so discharge is not always a cause for concern. The discharge associated with a yeast infection is usually cottage cheese-like in appearance, which helps to differentiate it from the discharge that is a normal part of the menstrual cycle.
Yeast Infection vs UTI
Yeast infection symptoms can be very similar to those of other conditions. Pain with urination may be caused by a yeast infection or urinary tract infection. If you have pain with urination accompanied by unusual white discharge, it is most likely due to a yeast infection. Pain with urination accompanied by foul-smelling urine and a frequent need to urinate is likely due to a UTI.
Testing for a Yeast Infection
Yeast infection symptoms can mimic those of other conditions and are not always consistent from person to person. Performing an at home yeast infection test is crucial to determine if your symptoms are due to a yeast infection or another type of vaginal infection.
Vaginox is a vaginal pH test that can distinguish between yeast infections and other types, such as bacterial and parasitic infections, using affordable and discrete test strips. A pH between 3.8 and 4.4 indicates a yeast infection, while a higher pH signals that there is likely a different condition causing your symptoms.
Can a yeast infection go away on its own? The likelihood of a yeast infection going away on its own is low. Simple lifestyle changes can help ward away infection or recurring episodes of vaginal thrush.
A yeast infection can go away on its own, but it is highly unlikely. Untreated yeast infections can cause complications and usually recur. Even mild infections should be treated. How long a yeast infection lasts depends on how it is treated. You can purchase over-the-counter antifungal suppositories, creams, and tablets at most drugstores. These typically work within a few days.
How long does a yeast infection last? The duration of yeast infection depends on your treatment choice and its effectiveness in controlling the overgrowth of yeast. Some people respond very quickly to simple home remedies, while others may need systematic treatment from a trained physician
You can also try some home remedies, although they are not always effective and may take longer to work than medicated treatments. Mild infections can sometimes be treated by putting a few drops of diluted tea tree oil onto a tampon and then inserting it. Plain natural yogurt can also be inserted into the vagina or applied topically to the area.
See a medical professional for a prescription treatment if your yeast infection does not clear up using OTC treatments or home remedies.
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Preventing a Yeast Infection
Clinical research suggests that overuse of antibiotics is one of the leading causes of yeast infections. If you experience a yeast infection while taking antibiotics, do not stop taking the medication; consult your doctor about other treatment options.
Other effective ways of preventing yeast infections include wearing cotton underwear and loose clothing, good hygiene practices (e.g., wiping front to back), and not having sex with a partner (male or female) who has a yeast infection. You could also try eating natural yogurt with no added sugar on a regular basis as a way to balance your body's natural flora. Taking a daily probiotic supplement works similarly, and there are some explicitly formulated for vaginal health.
Using boric acid for yeast infections can prevent them from recurring. Boric acid is sold in suppository form and prevents Candida from growing. DIY boric acid suppositories can be made by purchasing over-the-counter boric acid and putting it into gelatin capsules. With both premade and DIY boric acid suppositories, the standard dose is 600 mg. Use one to two suppositories daily for 7-14 days. For recurrent infections, consider using a suppository every day.
OTC treatments and home remedies are very effective at preventing and treating yeast infections, but if they are not working for you, don't hesitate to call your doctor. There may be an underlying condition that needs to be addressed, or you may require a different type of treatment.
Mayo Clinic: "Yeast infection (vaginal)"
Medical News Today: "How long does a yeast infection take to go away?"
Healthline: "Can You Use Boric Acid for a Yeast Infection?"
About the Author
Nicole Valentine is a blog and article writer with experience writing about a huge array of topics. She is passionate about sustainability, healthy living, and mindful parenting.
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