So we have all been there. Its saturday morning. Our doctors office is closed and our vagina is not well. We can either spend our entire Saturday at an ER or try to figure it out.
If possible, we would ideally pick up an over the counter remedy, feel better and be fairly confident that we are not mis-diagnosing a dangerous vaginal problem.
So how do we figure it out?
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
1. Does your vagina itch? Where is the itch? Is it inside? Outside ? Or both?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions then you have a yeast/fungal infection and you can use an over the counter remedy such as monostat.
If you itch on the outside of the vagina, you need to apply the monostat cream to the outside where it itches for the entire 7 days even though the itching will usually stop before then. If not, the itching can return if its not fully treated.
2. Does your vagina have burning, pain and/or an unpleasant smelling discharge?
If yes then you may have a bacterial vaginal infection. These vaginal infections are treated with antibiotics. They are usually easy to treat and go away quickly. You need to see your provider who will correctly diagnose and treat you appropriately. A douche with equal parts of water and vinegar can sometimes help the smell but will NOT cure the bacterial infection.
3. Does your vagina have all the above? Itching AND burning, pain, smelly discharge?
If yes to all these symptoms then you may have both kinds of kinds of infections and therefore need both Antibiotics and Anti-fungal medicines. You need to be evaluated with cultures at your doctors office. The swabs taken will confirm what kind of treatment you need.
Beware!!! Danger!!!! Some vaginal itching and unpleasant smelling discharges are signs of serious, life threatening conditions. If they are not diagnosed and treated by a professional, you can become infertile and never have children or even develop cancer or pass on a sexually transmitted disease.
So the next time you have a vaginal itching, burning or discharge, ask yourselves these three questions:
you answer yes to question 1. Its likely a fungal infection. If you answer yes to question 2. Its likely a bacterial infection. If you answer yes to question 3. Its likely both fungal and bacterial infections.
If you think its only a yeast/fungal infection, you can try an over the counter remedy remembering to follow up with your provider who will accurately diagnose and treat your infection if necessary.
If you think its a bacterial infection or both bacterial and yeast infection, you will always need to be seen by your provider who will accurately diagnose and treat your infection.