Vaginal Yeast Infection: Care Instructions

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A vaginal yeast infection is the growth of too many yeast cells in the vagina. This is a common problem. Itching, vaginal discharge and irritation, and other symptoms can bother you. But yeast infections don't often cause other health problems.

Some medicines can increase your risk of getting a yeast infection. These include antibiotics, hormones, and steroids. You may also be more likely to get a yeast infection if you are pregnant, have diabetes, douche, or wear tight clothes.

With treatment, most yeast infections get better in a few days.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Ask your doctor about over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for yeast infections. If you use an OTC treatment, read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Don't use tampons while using a vaginal cream or suppository. The tampons can absorb the medicine. Use pads instead.
  • Wear loose cotton clothing. Don't wear nylon or other fabric that holds body heat and moisture close to the skin.
  • Try sleeping without underwear.
  • Don't scratch. Relieve itching with a cold pack or a cool bath.
  • Don't wash your vulva more than once a day. Use plain water or a mild, unscented soap. Air-dry the vulva.
  • Change out of wet or damp clothes as soon as possible.
  • If you are using a vaginal medicine, don't have sex until you have finished your treatment. But if you do have sex, don't depend on a condom or diaphragm for birth control. The oil in some vaginal medicines weakens latex.
  • Don't douche or use powders, sprays, or perfumes in your vagina or on your vulva. These items can change the normal balance of organisms in your vagina.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or increased pain in your vagina or pelvis.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have unexpected vaginal bleeding.
  • You have a fever.
  • You are not getting better after 2 days.
  • Your symptoms come back after you finish your medicines.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.