Is It a Yeast Infection... Or Something Else?

Many women are familiar with the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection: itching, irritation, and usually a thick white discharge. It’s easy to simply reach for the anti-fungal treatments at the first sign of irritation — and usually this does do the trick.

But if these symptoms come back often (or don’t respond to the usual treatments), it’s time to visit a doctor for a firm diagnosis. That’s because other conditions can mimic the yeast infection symptoms.

Treating the condition with antifungals will not only be ineffective. It can make you believe that you’re treating it while another problem continues to develop.

Six possible causes of symptoms that may disguise as yeast infections are:

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Some STIs can cause irritation and cause itchy discharges and minimal odor. Some of them are trichomoniasis, herpes and genital warts.

Allergies and Skin reactions: Some sanitary products can cause a reaction, as can feminine hygiene products, bath soap, or even a change in laundry soap.

Hemorrhoids: The itching generally associated with hemorrhoids can also cause itching or irritation in the vaginal area.

Other skin conditions: There are some skin conditions that can cause skin changes, such as whitening and itching. These may require a steroid ointment such as hydrocortisone for treatment.

Small cuts: Even something as simple as a small cut can itch and feel irritated as it is healing.

Lack of estrogen: As women age, lack of estrogen causes the skin to thin, and this sometimes leads to discomfort, itching or discharge. Vaginal lubricants or a small dose of estrogen can help in this case.

If you aren’t getting relief from the regular treatments, or you are confused as to what to make of the diagnosis, you should go get it checked out, call your doctor to be sure you’re addressing any problems with appropriate treatment.

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