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Diagnosing Yeast Infection

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  • Before you meet with your doctor, avoid douching or using tampons, so that your doctor can get sufficient vaginal discharge to run different tests
  • Your doctor will use a speculum, a tool inserted into your vagina, to take a sample of the discharge with a cotton swab
 

Testing and Diagnosis for Yeast Infection

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Testing for yeast infection is crucial because its symptoms can be confused with other vaginal diseases, such as urinary tract infection (UTI). If you do happen to have a UTI and leave it untreated, it may cause severe kidney damage. The importance of visiting your doctor cannot be stressed enough in this regard.

Preparing to Meet With Your Doctor

It's understandable if you feel anxious about visiting the doctor due to the intimate nature of the disease. That's why it's important to note everything you've been experiencing, because you may have difficulty speaking with your doctor during your first visit.

The first thing you should do is make a list of all your symptoms and when they first appeared. The next step is to note any medications you're currently using to treat an ongoing illness or condition.1 Your doctor may be able to pinpoint if a certain medication is the underlying cause.

Before you meet with your doctor, avoid douching or using tampons, so that your doctor can get sufficient vaginal discharge to run different tests. The Mayo Clinic has a list of questions that can help guide and mentally prepare you for your appointment as well:2

What vaginal symptoms do you have?

Do you notice a strong vaginal odor?

How long have you had your symptoms?

Have you ever been treated for a vaginal infection?

Have you tried any over-the-counter products to treat your condition?

Have you recently taken antibiotics?

Are you sexually active?

Are you pregnant?

Do you use scented soap or bubble bath?

Do you douche or use feminine hygiene spray?

What medications or vitamin supplements do you regularly take?

Determining If You Have a Yeast Infection

Your doctor will use a speculum,3 a tool inserted into your vagina, to take a sample of the discharge with a cotton swab. Once the sample is taken, several tests can be performed to help determine the cause:

Wet mount test: In this method, a salt solution is mixed with the sample and examined under a microscope. The test will help determine the microorganisms responsible, because there's a possibility that you may have a different disease instead of yeast infection.

KOH method: If all symptoms strongly point to yeast infection, potassium hydroxide (KOH) is mixed with the discharge to kill any bacteria, leaving only fungi.4 Afterwards, the doctor will identify which species of fungi is responsible. Color stains may be added to help identify them easier.5

Vaginal pH test: a pH level of more than 4.5 often indicates bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis or atrophic vaginitis.6

Other Tests to Help Determine the Cause

A pelvic exam is initially done before taking vaginal discharge samples. The doctor will visually examine for redness, swelling in and around your vagina, helping him to determine the tests needed.7 Your doctor may also look for anything that you may have missed out from the list of symptoms you provided.

Diabetes is often a contributing factor for yeast infection, so a blood test is done to check your blood sugar level. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, shifting your diet to organic foods rich in healthy fats may help lower your sugar levels, while simultaneously depriving the fungi of fuel.8

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