How do I know if my symptoms are just a yeast infection or something more? What tests will you do?
It is easy to treat “yeast infections” with over the counter preparations in the drug store- but how do you know if it is really a yeast infection? Going to the doctor is still the best idea, not only to make sure that you are getting the correct medication, but it is even more important to make sure that you are not delaying treatment of a more important condition that you are missing.
If there is no way to get to your doctor, you can take the over the counter test that evaluates vaginal discharge for potential yeast or bacteria, and if yeast is present you can treat with an over the counter preparation until you can see your doctor.
There are many different presentations of yeast, so it can be confusing, but the traditional yeast infection presents with thick, cottage-cheese like vaginal discharge and intense itching of the vagina and vulva. For this type of presentation, use of over the counter products such as Monistat will be effective.
When you come to the doctor’s office, we look at the external vulva and internally in the vagina and we take a sample of the vaginal discharge and look under the microscope for evidence of yeast, bacteria or other organisms such as trichomonas. We will also send off a sample of the discharge to the lab which will tell us what type of yeast is present so we can better treat you. We will also look for evidence of sexually transmitted infections that can masquerade as yeast such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes.
For common yeast infections we will treat with topical vaginal preparations such as Gynezole or Terazol. In addition, if an external vulvitis is present we will give an external ointment such as Mycolog which is a combination anti fungal and steroid cream to decrease inflammation and irritation. We are always more inclined to treat topical things topically as opposed to using oral medications because topical preparations work faster and have much less interactions with other medications.
Why might I be getting recurrent yeast infections?
If you get recurrent yeast infections you need to speak to your doctor about making sure that your immune system is working well and that you don’t have diabetes. Most women with recurrent yeast infections are just fine and don't have any other conditions, but it should be checked out.
Women with HIV, other immune deficiencies, diabetes, pregnancy, as well as those on immunosuppressants for organ transplants and other diseases may get recurrent infections. Yeast grows in warm, moist places, so women who remain in a wet bathing suit or sweaty workout clothes for extended periods of time or who wear tight, constricting, synthetic clothes may be more predisposed.
How can I decrease my chances of getting more yeast infections?
Wearing breathable cotton underwear and avoidance of tight jeans, synthetic underwear and thongs are very important. Thongs bring yeast (which lives from mouth to anus) from the anal area to the vaginal area, so as sad as it is for the panty line situation, it is better to ditch the thong and get rid of those infections.
Promptly changing out of wet bathing suits and sweaty workout gear is important. Taking an oral probiotic like acidophilus on a daily basis can help, and taking a vaginal probiotic such as Luvena twice weekly can also be helpful.
**Have Questions About Your Yeast Infections?**
Schedule an in-office appointment to chat with us. Call us at 516-365-6100 to set up a convenient appointment. We're located right off the Northern State Parkway here in North Hills, Long Island, just a few minutes away from North Shore University Hospital & Northwell Health.