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Yeast Infection Treatment Overview

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Treating yeast infection

A yeast infection can usually be treated at home with OTC medications. These include medicated antifungal creams and suppositories and range from a one-day course of treatment to 7 days. Symptoms, like itching and burning of the vulva (external genitals) and vagina, should start improving 24–48 hours after starting treatment. A yeast infection often clears up completely within 3 days.

If your symptoms don’t go away within a few days of completing the treatment, or if symptoms are getting worse, you should follow up with a doctor.

Yeast infection treatment

  • It’s important to make sure that you have a yeast infection and not bacterial vaginosis, which can have similar symptoms.
  • If you’ve had a yeast infection before, you probably know what it feels like and can treat it yourself with OTC vaginal antifungal medications, like clotrimazole, miconazole, and tioconazole.
  • If you are self-treating with medication and symptoms aren’t improving within a few days, talk with a healthcare provider.
  • Also call your doctor if it’s the first time you’ve had yeast infection symptoms, or if you’ve had one before but the symptoms aren’t quite the same.
  • Tell your doctor if there’s any chance of a sexually transmitted infection (if you’re sexually active and don’t use condoms).
  • If you’ve had more than four yeast infections in a 12-month period, tell your doctor. They may want to check for other health problems like diabetes or a compromised immune system.
  • Pregnant women with symptoms of yeast infection should also tell their obstetrician.

Go to the ER if you have fever or chills, extreme fatigue, vomiting, severe abdominal or back pain, or an area of warm, red skin that is spreading.

Medical tests & labs

A yeast infection can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and sometimes after a physical exam that includes a pelvic exam (similar to the exam for a pap smear). Your doctor will take a sample by swabbing your vagina during a pelvic exam. They will also likely test the sample for bacterial vaginosis, and in some cases, for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like trichomonas, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.

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