Getting a yeast infection is inconvenient and can often come at the worst time. You might be wondering: How long will a yeast infection last without treatment? Can a yeast infection go away on its own?
Read on to better understand yeast infections and what to do about it.
Will My Yeast Infection Go Away On Its Own?
Some mild yeast infections will go away on their own in a few days. More severe yeast infections could take up to two weeks to clear without treatment. If your infection is causing painful and uncomfortable symptoms for more than 3 days you should seek medical treatment. The length and type of treatment for a yeast infection vary greatly from person to person and depend on the individual symptoms and severity.
By forgoing diagnosis and treatment, you are also at risk of falsely self diagnosing. Yeast infection symptoms can also be symptoms of certain STDs that require medical treatment.
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection, also known as candida vulvovaginitis, is a common infection that 3 out of 4 women will experience throughout their lives. Yeast infections are not considered Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
Every woman’s vagina has a delicate balance of live bacteria and yeast cells. When this balance is thrown off, yeast cells can multiply, which may result in a yeast infection.
Yeast infections can develop because of:
- Lifestyle habits
- Environmental changes
- Skin-to-skin contact with someone that has a yeast infection
- Health conditions
- Other cyclical changes in a woman’s body
The most common bacteria found in a healthy vagina are Lactobacillus acidophilus that moderate the growth of yeast cells and help susceptible parts of your body fight off infections. If your body’s natural balance of yeast levels is thrown off, you will likely experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.
While yeast infections may go away on their own, treatment can provide faster, more effective relief. Failing to treat a yeast infection prolongs discomfort and may lead to various health complications. Fortunately, treatments for yeast infections are easy to access and simple to use.
How Do I Know If I Have a Yeast Infection?
The following are the most common symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection:
What does a yeast infection feel like?
- Stinging sensations in the vagina or vulva
- Persistent itchiness in the genital area
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain during urination
- Stinging sensations in the vagina or vulva
- Pain during intercourse
What does a yeast infection look like?
- Thick, lumpy vaginal discharge
- Redness in the vagina and vulva
- Swelling of the labia and vulva
What does a yeast infection smell like?
- Strong, musty odor
- Fishy, sour odor
- Otherwise abnormal smell
It is important to note that the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are like those of other STIs and genital infections. To be sure that you are experiencing a yeast infection, you should contact a doctor. Treatment for yeast infections are relatively straightforward, but by self-diagnosing, you may inadvertently make the problem worse.
Our doctors at PlushCare make it simple for you to book a virtual appointment, receive a diagnosis, and start a treatment plan. Just click here to get started.
Yeast Infection Treatment Options: What You Need to Know
Many women wonder, will a yeast infection go away on its own? The answer depends on how serious it is. If you experience mild versions of the above symptoms, you may choose to let the yeast infection run its course, or use a home remedy to relieve your symptoms.
However, if your symptoms are uncomfortable or last more than 3 days, you may want to speak with your doctor and decide on a treatment plan.
Over-The-Counter Treatment Options
Non-prescription vaginal creams and suppositories – The most common brands are Monistat, Vagisil, and AZO Yeast, which contain ingredients designed to kill yeast upon contact. (Refrain from using condoms as a main form of birth control while on these such regimens, as the ingredients may also weaken latex). Creams are applied topically, while suppositories are inserted into the vagina where they dissolve. These medicines can be purchased at any drug store and come in a variety of strengths to lengthen or shorten a treatment period.
Prescription Treatment Options
Prescription antifungal pills – Antifungal pills such as Diflucan are only available with a prescription, and require one pill to kill most yeast infections. For persistent yeast infections, your doctor may recommend you use this method.
Home Treatment Options
Many women prefer to use home remedies to get rid of yeast infections. It is important to consult a doctor before you decide to go this route, especially if you have not experienced a yeast infection before or are unsure if your symptoms indicate a yeast infection.
Popular home remedies include:
- Oil of Oregano – the oil of oregano has strong antifungal properties and is taken orally (in a carrier oil, or highly diluted – NEVER in essential oil form) to ward off yeast infections.
- Apple cider vinegar – apple cider vinegar can be taken orally to strengthen your immune system. For yeast infections, try taking a warm bath with half of a cup of apple cider vinegar dissolved in the water.
- Coconut Oil – the gentle, yet powerful antifungal properties of coconut oil can be used topically to treat yeast infections.
- Plain Greek Yogurt – greek yogurt that is free of added sugar can be used topically to stimulate the growth of bacteria which will fend off yeast. However, eating yogurt with added sugar will usually make the problem worse.
Can Yeast Infections Go Away On Their Own?
You may be wondering, how long does a yeast infection last without treatment? Without treatment, a normal yeast infection should go away within 3-7 days. If you are experiencing symptoms of a yeast infection, it is important to seek medical treatment for the following reasons:
- It may not be what you think – Yeast infection symptoms are similar to those of other genital infections and sexually transmitted infections. Before you choose not to treat the problem, you need to know exactly what the problem is.
- It could get worse – Even if your symptoms start out mild, choosing not to treat them could make the infection worse. If the cause of your yeast infection is environmental, or because of a lifestyle habit, not treating yourself could make your body more vulnerable to other infections.
- It could infect your partner – Choosing to opt out of treatment when you have a sexual partner can cause problems for the both of you. Yeast infections can be transmitted back and forth through genital contact. Without treatment and with continued sexual contact, your partner may develop a yeast infection. The infection may continue to be transmitted until one of you seeks treatment.
In mild cases of yeast infection, the problem may go away by itself. However, without knowing the cause of your yeast infection, choosing not to treat your infection may make it worse. You should contact your doctor before you decide to let a yeast infection go away on its own.
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How to Know If Your Yeast Infection is Going Away
To know if your yeast infection is going away, you should experience these stages:
- First, you will notice that vaginal discharge has returned to a normal consistency and smell.
- Second, you will notice that itching has gone away, alleviating much of the discomfort associated with the infection.
- Third, you will notice that any rash, swelling, or redness has subsided. Your genitals should return to a healthy appearance and feel.
Other forms of yeast infection, like a yeast infection of the breast (common during breastfeeding), may take longer to completely go away. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are choosing the right treatment option for your yeast infection.
Signs That Your Yeast Infection is Something Else
If you decide to let a yeast infection go away on its own, you should be especially wary of these symptoms which may indicate a more serious problem. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor and seek treatment immediately.
- Vaginal discharge with a sour, pungent odor – may indicate a Sexually Transmitted Infection or Disease, including herpes and trichomoniasis.
- Itching near your anus – may be a sign of hemorrhoids or other genital infection.
- Blood in your stool/near your vulva – also a symptom of hemorrhoids. Contact your doctor immediately should you experience this.
- Fishy, white or gray discharge – a strong odor associated with thin white or grey discharge could indicate Bacterial Vaginosis, a bacterial infection of the vagina.
- Prolonged itchiness associated with use of a new hygiene product or detergent – allergic reactions to ingredients in soaps or detergents could cause itchiness in the vaginal area. Changing your hygiene regimen may relieve these symptoms.
Do What’s Right for You
Your genital health is a personal and important subject. You should only opt out of treatment if you have experienced a yeast infection before and are comfortable with your body’s response, or if your symptoms are very mild and you have received an official diagnosis from a doctor. Even in these cases, it is best to be cautious and ask your doctor for their recommended treatment plan. The sooner you are diagnosed and begin treatment, the sooner you can get back to living free of discomfort.
Get Treated Online | How PlushCare Works
In today’s age of unpredictable waiting rooms and swamped doctors, online services like PlushCare save you time and stress. All our visits with patients are confidential and convenient and require as little as a phone or video consultation. This can be especially helpful for addressing personal health problems, especially when they are of a sensitive nature.
Our team of medical professionals has extensive experience consulting with patients about their treatment options, including both over the counter and prescription medicines. Our top doctors can help you understand your symptoms and what treatment options are right for you.
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