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¿Cómo sé si tengo vaginitis?

Publicado el: 21 de marzo de 2023Redactada por: Brigid Galloway Greenwood

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A yeast infection is an itchy condition can be unpleasant and even painful, but the right prevention, diagnosis and care may help you feel better fast.

Vaginal yeast infections affect over one million women in the United States every year, and 75 percent of women will have to cope with at least one over the course of their lives. Thankfully, these infections can be effectively treated - and even prevented - with the right kind of care.

Also known as vaginal candidiasis, yeast infections are caused by an overabundance of a type of fungus called Candida. While Candida occur naturally in the mouth, digestive tract and vagina, a yeast infection is proof that you can have too much of a good thing. Antibiotics, steroids, oral contraceptives, hormone therapy or medications that suppress the immune system are all things that can cause Candida to multiply to an unhealthy level. Conditions like diabetes and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or being pregnant may also lead to an overabundance of Candida.

En este artículo:

  • What are the common symptoms of a yeast infection?

  • How to treat a yeast infection

  • What about chronic yeast infections?

  • How to prevent yeast infections

What are the common symptoms of a yeast infection?

Vaginal yeast infections typically make themselves known with three common symptoms: itchiness, pain and a vaginal discharge often compared to cottage cheese in appearance. Redness, swelling or cracks in the walls of the vagina may also be signs of a yeast infection in severe cases.

Keep in mind that feeling itchy down there doesn’t necessarily mean you have a yeast infection. “While most women with yeast infections experience vaginal and/or vulvar itching, many other conditions can cause itching in the genital region,” says Harold C. Wiesenfeld, MD, vice chair of gynecology at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “Some examples include trichomonas vaginalis (or ‘trich’), bacterial vaginosis and skin conditions of the vulva.” It’s also possible to mistake a yeast infection for a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can also cause pain or a burning sensation.

For this reason, if you're experiencing yeast infection symptoms - especially if you've never had a yeast infection before - Dr. Wiesenfeld advises seeing your health care provider. They will do an exam and collect samples to test for causes of vaginal infections.

How to treat a yeast infection

Your health care provider may decide that a prescription medication is the best for you. This can be either topical — a cream or suppository — or a one-time oral dose of fluconazole.

According to Dr. Wiesenfeld, you may be able to self-treat with an over-the-counter antifungal yeast infection medicine if you meet these three criteria:

  1. You’ve had a confirmed yeast infection in the past.

  2. Your past infection completely cleared up with antifungal medication.

  3. The symptoms you’re currently experiencing are very similar to the symptoms you experienced with a past yeast infection confirmed by your health care provider.

Over-the-counter antifungal products will usually contain the ingredients miconazole nitrate, clotrimazole or tioconazole - all of which are effective at treating most vaginal yeast infections. "These medications come in the form of creams or vaginal suppositories," Dr. Wiesenfeld says, "and women can choose between one-, three- or seven-day treatments."

The difference between the length of treatment comes down to the dose — for example, CVS Health Miconazole Yeast Infection Relief one-day treatment (one dose of 1,200 milligrams of miconazole nitrate), Monistat 3 three-dose yeast infection treatment (three doses of 200 milligrams), and Monistat 7 seven-dose yeast infection treatment (seven doses of 100 milligrams).

Tioconazole is often delivered in a single dose, as is the case with Monistat 1 one-dose yeast infection treatment.

Ask your doctor which treatment might be best for you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends seven-day medications for pregnant people and those with poorly controlled diabetes.

"Women who are experiencing itching of the vulvar skin in addition to vaginal itching are encouraged to apply some of the antifungal cream to the vulvar skin as well," says Dr. Wiesenfeld. Most over-the-counter products, including Monistat 1 one-dose yeast infection treatment and Monistat 3 three-dose yeast infection treatment, come with a cream if you need it.

If you’re wondering how long your uncomfortable yeast infection will last, the good news is that with proper treatment, most uncomplicated infections resolve within a few days.

What about chronic yeast infections?

According to the CDC, 40 to 45 percent of women will suffer from two or more yeast infections in their lifetimes. If you have frequent infections, talk with your doctor to rule out other more serious conditions that might be contributing to the recurrences. Prescription vaginal yeast infection treatments, like antifungal maintenance medication, may be a good fit for those who experience chronic or repeat infections.

How to prevent yeast infections

To minimize your risk, avoid common yeast infection causes and try these suggestions from the US Office on Women’s Health:

  • Avoid douching and using feminine deodorants, which can kill the “good” bacteria that control Candida.

  • Stay away from scented tampons and pads.

  • Change out of wet bathing suits or clothing as soon as possible.

  • If diabetic, manage your blood sugar levels.

  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants or pantyhose and choose underwear with a cotton crotch.

  • Avoid hot tubs and very hot baths.

Este contenido es solo para fines informativos y no constituye un asesoramiento médico. Consult with your healthcare provider before taking any vitamins or supplements and prior to beginning or changing any health care practices.

Estas declaraciones no han sido evaluadas por la Administración de Medicamentos y Alimentos. Estos productos no están hechos para diagnosticar, tratar, curar ni prevenir ninguna enfermedad.