Diagnosis of Vaginal Yeast Infections
How to tell if you have a Yeast Infection or something else
Although vaginal yeast infections are quite common, at times you will need to see a doctor to confirm the diagnosis. These situations include: if this is your first yeast infection, if you are pregnant, or if you have an illness or treatment which has compromised your immunity such as HIV, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.
If you have prior experience with yeast infections, and feel confident diagnosing the condition, you may treat the infection with over-the-counter medications. However, if symptoms persist after 4 to 7 days of using a cure, or if symptoms recur frequently, consult your doctor for a more thorough investigation and diagnosis of the problem.
Yeast Infection Exams and Tests
To diagnose a vaginal infection, the doctor will usually start by asking several detailed questions about your history of vaginal infections and of this particular episode. Questions may include how long symptoms have been present, what the symptoms are, whether you have noticed any strong vaginal odors, if you are sexually active, if you have tried using over-the-counter medications, how often you take tub baths, if you wear tight underwear, if you have used any new soaps or detergents lately, if you use bubble baths or bath salts frequently, if you use scented hygiene products, or if you have used a douching product recently.
In most cases, the doctor will also perform a full pelvic examination. For this reason, you should avoid having sex, using tampons or douching for 1-2 days before your visit to the doctor.
During the pelvic examination, the doctor uses an instrument called a speculum to hold open the vagina, checks the vaginal canal for soreness and takes a swab of the discharge or other cultures. The speculum may cause discomfort because of the pressure on the tissues of the vagina. In addition, the doctor may insert two fingers into the vagina and feel the uterus and ovaries for any abnormalities.
In many cases, candidal infections are diagnosed without laboratory tests. However, if the yeast infection does not respond to treatment or if it is a recurrent problem, the doctor may order other diagnostic evaluations. These include tests to determine the nature of the infection (yeast, bacterial, or trichomomiasis), a Basic Hormone Candida Test, a Candida Antibody blood test, an Organic Acid candida test, a Pap test to check for cancer, a blood test, a urine test, a colonoscopy, or a bioscopy.
In addition to the standard tests above, you may want to ask your doctor to do further investigation to understand the causes of your yeast infections, especially if they are recurrent. A SpectraCell Analysis will check for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A Mercury Analysis can tell if you have too much mercury in your body. Since yeast is a reaction to heavy metals, and mercury in particular, it is critical to addressing yeast infections. A Blood Antigen Food Allergy test can determine if you are allergic to various types of foods, which may be a factor in your tendency to develop yeast infections.
Home test for yeast infections
Yeast infections can cause such a wide range of symptoms that it is sometimes difficult for you or your doctor to make a clear diagnosis. There are a couple of simple ways you could check at home before even seeking medical help. Though they are not completely accurate, they will give you some idea of where you stand.
One way is to look at your tongue in the mirror. If it has a white coating, you most likely have a yeast infection.
An even better way to check by yourself is to take another simple home test. First thing in the morning, before you get out of bed, before you brush your teeth or do anything else, spit twice into a glass of water. Watch the glass for the next 5-15 minutes. If your spit dissolves into the water, most likely you do not have a yeast infection. However, if it doesn’t disappear, but instead sinks to the bottom of the glass, if it develops strings, if it becomes cloudy – any of these could be a sign that you have a candida yeast infection. The strings and webs are a strong sign of a yeast infection. Dark sediment at the bottom of the glass indicates that you may have parasites as well.