Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"why do i constantly get yeast infections"
I'm a 25 year old woman, who has been getting yeast infections almost constantly for about two years. I've gone to the doctor, and they give me medication, and a few weeks later they just come back, over the counter medications have the same effect, is it possible I'm being misdiagnosed? Is there some kind of environmental factor that could cause this? or something in my diet that could lead to yeast infections?
My first concern is to establish that the symptoms you are having are really caused by a yeast infection. Especially with recurrent cases, a yeast infection should be diagnosed by a vaginal exam and by looking at the vaginal fluid under a microscope. This is because there are other causes of recurrent vaginal irritation other than yeast. One of these is bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by a change in the balance of bacteria living in the vagina, and it leads to itching, discomfort, discharge, and odor (just like a yeast infection!). It looks quite different under a microscope from a yeast infection and it requires a different medication. Another very common cause is contact irritation of the vagina, usually caused by tampons, personal cleaning products, or certain types of underwear. In these cases, the vaginal exam will show evidence of inflammation but no evidence of infection. If it turns out that you do indeed have recurring vaginal yeast infections, then sometimes taking a regular antifungal medication is required to suppress the infections. You can also make sure to avoid strong personal cleaning products and douching, which disrupt the vagina's normal protective mechanisms. You should see your gynecologist or primary care doctor as soon as possible to sort this out.
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