Should you self-diagnose a yeast infection?

Vaginal itching, burning, irritation, and unusual or excessive discharge can be both uncomfortable and embarrassing. If you're having these symptoms, you might be tempted to try and treat the problem yourself rather than face a visit to your doctor.

But did you know that although a yeast infection may be the first thing that comes to mind, your symptoms might actually be caused by a different condition altogether? In fact, more than half of all women who think they have a yeast infection actually have a different condition, such as bacterial infections, sexually transmitted infections, chemical irritation, or allergies. Some of these conditions can lead to serious problems, including infertility, if they are not recognized and treated.

That's why it's so important to see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment, even if you think you have a yeast infection. Your doctor can ask you some questions and do some simple tests to determine the cause of the problem and make sure that you get the right treatment.

It's especially important to visit your doctor if you're having these symptoms for the first time, if you've already tried to treat your symptoms but it didn't work, or if you are having these symptoms frequently (at least 4 times in the last year). Plus, you should also see a doctor if:

  • you are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • you are younger than 12 years of age
  • you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection (STI, also known by the older term STD)
  • you also have fever, pelvic pain, or a coloured or unpleasant-smelling discharge
  • you have certain health conditions (such as diabetes or a condition that weakens the immune system)

It's better to be safe than sorry! If you have vaginal itching, burning, or unusual or excessive discharge, see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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