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Can A Yeast Infection Go Away By Itself?

Published: 22 June 2008
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Can a yeast infection go away by itself?
Signed: Can A Yeast Infection Go Away By Itself?

Dear Can A Yeast Infection Go Away By Itself?,

 

A yeast infection will not go away by itself and does require treatment with antifungal medications. If you are concerned you may have a yeast infection, TeenHealthFX recommends that you meet with your doctor so he/she can determine whether you actually have a yeast infection, and recommend a course of treatment based on his/her finding.

 

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network primary care physicians or adolescent medicine specialists.

 

 

If you would like more information about vaginal yeast infections, including symptoms, causes, when to call the doctor, how to diagnose, treatment, and prevention, please read below:

 

A vaginal yeast infection is an irritation of the vagina and the area around the vagina, called the vulva. It is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus or yeast Candida. Yeast normally live in the vagina in small numbers, but when the bacteria in the vagina become out of balance, too many yeast grow and this subsequently causes an infection. Vaginal yeast infections are very common – about 75% of women have a yeast infection at some point during their lives. And almost half of all women have had two of more. 

 

Signs and Symptoms:

 

  • Extreme itchiness in and around the vagina.
  • Burning, redness, and swelling of the vagina and the area around it.
  • Pain when urinating.
  • Pain or discomfort during sex.
  • A thick, white vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese.

 

With a vaginal yeast infection you may only have a few of these symptoms, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe.

 

Causes:

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Illness
  • Poor diet or extreme intake of sugary foods
  • Pregnancy
  • Having your period
  • Taking birth control pills
  • Taking antibiotics
  • Taking steroid medications
  • Diseases, such as poorly controlled diabetes or HIV

 

It is rare for women to get a yeast infection from having sex. Rather, the culprit is usually a weakened immune system.

 

Calling The Doctor:

 

If you think you may have a yeast infection, especially if you have never had one before, it is important to see your doctor. The signs of a yeast infection are similar to those of certain STDs (such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea) and other medical conditions – so it is very important that a medical professional assesses the situation and gives an accurate diagnosis.

 

Diagnosing:

 

Your doctor will do a pelvic exam to look for swelling and discharge. Your doctor may also use a swab to take a sample from the vagina – a quick look under the microscope or a lab test will show if a yeast infection is the problem.

 

Treatment:

 

Yeast infections can be cured with antifungal medications in the form of creams, tablets, ointments, or suppositories that are inserted into the vagina. There are products that are used to treat yeast infections that can be purchased over-the-counter at a drug store or grocery store. Your doctor can also prescribe a pill to be taken orally.

 

While you can purchase some types of over-the-counter yeast infection medications yourself, again, it is important to consult with your doctor before doing so. For one thing, it is important that your doctor determine whether or not you actually have a yeast infection. Using antifungal medications when you don’t really have a yeast infection can increase your risk of getting a hard-to-treat infection in the future. In addition, using antifungal medications when you do not have a yeast infection may worsen whatever condition you do have. It is also important to consider that based up on the severity of the yeast infection, allergies a person may have, and medical history, a doctor may recommend one type of treatment over another (such as recommending taking a prescription pill over the use of a suppository).

 

It is safe to use over-the-counter medicines for a yeast infection, but you should always ask your doctor first. And definitely talk to your doctor before treating a yeast infection yourself if:

 

  • You are pregnant
  • You have never been diagnosed with a yeast infection
  • You are experiencing repeat yeast infections.

 

Prevention:

 

  • Do not use douches
  • Avoid scented hygiene products like bubble bath, sprays, scented pads, and scented tampons.
  • Change pads and tampons often during your period.
  • Do not wear tight underwear or clothes made of synthetic fibers.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Change out of swimsuits and exercise clothing as soon as possible.

 

 

For more information:

 

  • National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC)                                     Phone: 1-800-994-9662
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    Phone: (800) 448-0440
    Internet Address:
    http://www.niaid.nih.gov
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Phone: (800) 311-3435 (Public Inquiries) or (888) 232-3228 (Information Request System)
    Internet Address:
    http://www.cdc.gov
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
    Phone Number: (202) 863-2518 or (800) 762-2264 x 192 (for publications requests only)
    Internet Address:
    http://www.acog.org
  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America
    Phone Number: (800) 230-7526
    Internet Address:
    http://www.plannedparenthood.org
Signed: TeenHealthFX

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