When you get a yeast infection,you probably follow the same routine: Curse the fact that it happened to you,drag yourself to the drugstore to pick up some cream or suppositories,use the medication,and hope it goes away ASAP,if not sooner.
We all do it,but experts say we're actually reacting to yeast infections the wrong way.In fact,they say the only way to know if you're actually dealing with a yeast infection is to visit your ob-gyn and get tested.Yup,there's a yeast infection test that your doctor can give you.Mind.Blown.
Sherry Ross,M.D.,an ob-gyn and women's health expert at California's Providence Saint John's Health Center,explains why it's important to get checked out: Yeast infections have symptoms—redness,itchiness,and burning—that overlap with vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis and some STDs,like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
"The confusing piece is the discharge," she says."It's unlikely for someone with chlamydia to have the classic ‘cottage cheese' yeast infection discharge,but yeast infection discharges can be white,grey,or yellow,too."
And,if you use an over-the-counter medication for a yeast infection but you actually have something else,it can seriously hurt."It's the worst burning feeling you can get in the vagina," Ross says.
Enter the doctor's visit.Your doc can do a pelvic exam and vaginal culture to see what's happening down there.Then,she can recommend the right treatment depending on what you have.
So…let's get real: You're probably not going to want to go to your doctor every time you have a yeast infection.If you know that's a stretch for you,Anandhi Nadarajah,an ob-gyn at New Jersey's Newton Medical Center recommends making an appointment if you have a lot of pain and swelling (i.e.more than the typical itchiness or burning feeling you can still live with) or if you're having recurrent yeast infections."Definitely get checked out if you have recurrent infections—you could have an underlying problem," she says.Also,Nadarajah notes,there can be certain types of yeast infection fungus that don't respond well to OTC medication,so definitely see your doctor if one round of treatment doesn't work.
"I get it—if you can't make it to the doctor and you see these classic symptoms,you can treat it for yeast with over the counter medication," Ross says."But I just caution people: You might be treating the wrong organism and might make the symptoms worse."
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