Don't Doctor Yourself for a Vaginal Infection

Women shouldn't be too quick to self-diagnose, experts say

TUESDAY, April 22, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Women with vaginal itching and discharge shouldn't be too quick to self-diagnose a yeast infection.

That's the advice in a recent issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource.

Women who have what is a common problem should consult their doctor or another health professional. There are several other conditions, some serious, with symptoms similar to yeast infection.

Over-the-counter medications such as anti-fungal creams and vaginal suppositories generally work against yeast infections but aren't able to treat other vaginal problems.

Other conditions with symptoms similar to yeast infection include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis, which is caused by bacteria, not yeast. Antibiotics are the best treatment.
  • Trichomoniasis. It's caused by a tiny single-celled parasite and can be transmitted through intercourse. It can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Chlamydia. This is a common, primarily sexually transmitted infection of the cervix. It can lead to serious medical complications such as infertility. It requires antibiotic treatment.
  • Noninfectious vaginitis, which may be caused by an allergic reaction to vaginal sprays, douches or spermicidal products. Avoid these products if they cause irritation.

More information

To learn more, go to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, February 2003
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