Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is an STD the cause of my vaginal discharge?"
I started having a thick white discharge a few days ago. How can I tell whether this is an STD or a yeast infection?
Unfortunately it is impossible to be absolutely if you are suffering from a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or a yeast infection without having tests done by your physician. Usually thick white discharge and vaginal itching are signs of a yeast infection, but you may also have a STD in addition to this infection. Your doctor can do a speculum exam in which a sample of the discharge is analyzed with the addition of potassium hydroxide under a microscope. If a yeast infection is present, then the organisms can be visualized under the microscope. Other concurrent infections (such as Trichomonas) can be diagnosed with the same technique. The vaginal discharge can also be tested in the laboratory for gonorrhea and chlamydia if you are concerned about exposure to these infections through recent unprotected sex. If a yeast infection is diagnosed by your doctor, then a one-time dose of Fluconazole should eradicate the infection. Most women find that the pill is easier and more efficient than using the over-the-counter creams available at the pharmacy. If you have further questions about any symptoms that you are experiencing, then you should be sure to discuss these issues with your physician.