Some women are not sure when to seek medical attention for a yeast infection.
When it comes to yeast infections, self diagnosis may be a misdiagnosis so medical attention is usually necessary. There are handful of other vaginal infections that mimic yeast such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and trichomoniasis that require a very different course of treatment. BV and trichiomoniasis may also be associated with serious reproductive health conditions that may lead to problems during pregnancy and after delivery. Women who do not receive medical attention may not realize the seriousness of their health issues.
A vaginal discharge that has an offensive odor with irritation is not normal and requires medical attention. To diagnose your vaginal symptoms your medical professional will perform a gynecological exam to check your vagina for inflammation and abnormal discharge. You medical professional may send a sample of the vaginal discharge to a laboratory to test for yeast cultures. Looking under a microscope also helps rule out other causes of discharge such as BV or trichomoniaisis, which require a different course of treatment. The only way to know for sure is to seek medical attention.
In general, it is acceptable to use an over the counter antifungal medication to self treat your symptoms only if you’ve had a yeast infection diagnosed by your medical professional before and you are now experiencing exactly the same symptoms. However, if you meet any of the following criteria you should definitely seek medical attention:
- You’ve never had a yeast infection before
- You have fever and/or abdominal pain
- Your vaginal discharge is foul-smelling
- You are diabetic HIV positive, pregnant or nursing
- You used an over the counter yeast treatment but your symptoms have not gone away or they returned almost immediately.
If you receive medical attention for yeast infection be sure use the full course of medication that is prescribed. Don’t stop using it to treat your yeast infection, even if you feel better.
Studies show about a 50 percent error rate in self-diagnosis of yeast infection. Thus, if you think you have a yeast infection, there’s a one in two chance you are wrong. Medical attention is required to get an accurate diagnosis. If your yeast infection symptoms persist for more than 48 hours after self-treating with an over the counter medication, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Candida: The fungus that causes most vaginal yeast infections.