Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Dr. Aaron Wiegmann
Dr. Wiegmann earned his medical degree (M.D.) from Rush Medical College and completed his General Surgery residency at Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Hospital. He has a Master's Degree (M.S.) in clinical research and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles.
April 10, 2021
Some mild yeast infections can go away on their own with some basic healthy habits, but sometimes they need antifungal treatments either bought over-the-counter, or prescribed by a doctor for more serious cases.
EverydayDr recommends PlushCare for all your online prescription needs. Their doctors commonly write prescriptions to treat yeast infections, and can discuss what medication is right for you during a video consultation. Book an appointment to get yeast infection treatment online here.
Yeast infections are caused by extensive growth of the fungus Candida. In some cases, a yeast infection can have serious implications if left untreated. Besides that risk, it’s worth it to treat your yeast infection due to how uncomfortable even mild cases can be.
Besides being uncomfortable and unsightly, candidiasis can also weaken the immune system. If left untreated, a severe yeast infection can cause a secondary bacterial infection in the affected area, including bacterial vaginosis for vaginal yeast infections.
In cases of thrush, the condition can become chronic if not properly treated, and can spread to other areas of the body such as the skin, liver, and lungs. This can cause a host of medical complications that may be difficult to diagnose. If a yeast infection does not go away on its own after a few days, or if it continues to grow worse even with treatment, it is important to contact your doctor for a diagnosis and a stronger treatment plan.
“Vaginal yeast infections”, explains the Cleveland Clinic, “are very common and happen to over 1 million women in the United States every year. These infections are the second most common cause of vaginitis.”
Yeast is a fungus normally found on the skin and in the digestive tract of a healthy person. A yeast infection, or candidiasis, is when conditions allow for an overgrowth of yeast on or in the body, which causes infection, foul odor, and discomfort, and could result in further complications.
Typically this overgrowth occurs on the skin, and commonly in the vagina or penis (as these areas are often exposed to warm and moist conditions). This overgrowth can also occur in the folds of the skin, the nail bed, or in rare cases the blood or organs. Candidiasis can be caused by damage to the skin, warm and humid conditions, and even the overuse of antibiotics. People with diabetes or weak immune systems are more susceptible to yeast infections and their complications.
The signs and symptoms of a yeast infection vary depending on where they occur in the body.
Yeast overgrowth in the folds of the skin can manifest as a red rash accompanied by itching and burning. Vaginal yeast infection can include white or yellow discharge, itching and redness, and burning in the vaginal area.
On the penis, excessive yeast shows up as scaling on the skin and a painful rash. Candidiasis in the mouth is called thrush, and symptoms include white patches on the tongue and inside of the cheeks, redness or soreness, and difficulty swallowing.
A rare but serious complication of an untreated yeast infection is invasive candidiasis. This can take hold in certain circumstances such as an immunocompromised state, and the yeast infection can affect the eyes, blood, brain, bone, and heart.
The duration of a yeast infection is dependent on two factors: the severity of the infection itself, and how the infection is treated.
Untreated, a mild yeast infection may go away in a few days to a week. A more severe infection can take two to three weeks to clear up with treatment. However, in certain cases it may also remain in the body and become worse. It may even become a chronic condition.
Despite some discomfort and unsightliness, a yeast infection is fairly common and easy to treat.
A yeast infection can be simply and effectively treated with a course of antifungal medication applied to the affected area. Most antifungal medications can be purchased over the counter in the form of cream or suppositories (for vaginal yeast infections). Some severe cases of yeast infection can require a prescription strength antifungal (pill or topical cream) like fluconazole (Diflucan), which can be prescribed by a doctor.
While treating the area with an antifungal is important, also be sure to simultaneously keep the area clean and dry–yeast thrives in a moist environment. Be sure to contact a doctor if you notice signs of infection in the affected area (heat, pus, or a bad smell).
The most common signs of any yeast infection are:
Yeast in the nail beds can be recognized by thick white or yellow nails that become detached from the nail bed. Vaginal or penile yeast infections are easily identified by a burning and itching in the area.
There are certain factors that make a person more susceptible to a yeast infection, and in fact these people may suffer from them frequently. These factors include:
The summer months can also contribute: chances of vaginal yeast infections increase when wet bathing suits aren’t changed in a timely manner. Seventy percent of women have had at least one yeast infection in their lives, while some report treating four or more a year.
Yeast infection treatment can be handled online whether mild or severe. In cases of mild yeast infection, many legitimate medical websites offer home remedies to combat yeast overgrowth. Some common treatments that can be used before or while waiting to see a doctor:
Over the counter antifungal creams and ointments can be purchased from online retailers and be sent to your door within days. In most mild cases, these treatments should clear up the infection in a few days to a week.
For serious yeast infections that won’t clear up with over-the-counter treatments or remedies, an appointment can be made online for a telehealth visit with a medical professional. Our sister site PlushCare has same-day appointments with top-notch, board-certified physicians.
The doctor will diagnose the problem and then will be able to prescribe a more potent antifungal such as Diflucan. This hard-hitting antifungal typically takes only one or two doses to clear up any lingering yeast infection.
Click here to book an appointment with an online doctor with PlushCare.
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