Suspecting that you may have vaginal thrush may feel a little embarrassing, but it’s more common than you think – and easily treatable. The important thing, especially if you’re finding that you suffer with recurring bouts of thrush, is to make sure that you visit your GP to ensure that the diagnosis is correct and to work out the root cause to prevent it from coming back in the future.
You may not feel like visiting your doctor with such a condition, preferring over-the-counter treatments, but it is important that you receive the correct diagnosis and therefore the correct treatment.
Doctors can use a range of diagnostic tests to work out the cause of thrush, all of which are harmless.
While the prospect of having a vaginal swab taken may be daunting, it is one of the best ways of dealing with the problem. Having a sample of your vaginal secretions taken and sent off to a laboratory for testing can tell your doctor a lot. These tests can determine whether it is indeed thrush or a sexually transmitted infection (which may have similar symptoms), and will also identify the type of fungus that is causing the thrush, meaning that the doctor can prescribe the treatment that is the most effective.
Some medical conditions can lead to an increased likelihood of developing yeast infections, so your doctor may send you for blood tests to establish whether an illness such as diabetes is the reason behind it. Medical conditions that can cause thrush will also have other symptoms, so – in addition to taking blood – your doctor may ask you if you have been experiencing other symptoms. Diabetes sufferers, for example, may also find that they are constantly thirsty and may even urinate more often, leading a GP to test their blood glucose levels to see if diabetes is indeed the cause.
If you have already been treated for thrush in the past and still find it coming back – or if the medication that you have been prescribed is not working – your doctor may suggest testing your pH levels. This simple test will give the doctor an understanding of the balance between acid and alkaline in your body, with levels of 4-4.5 being classed as normal. Anything above 4.5 suggests that you may be suffering from bacterial vaginosis, a common bacterial infection that is easily treated with the right medication.
Once again, pH testing is a little intrusive. The doctor will take a swab from inside your vagina, which is then transferred to a special piece of paper that changes colour depending on how acid or alkaline your body is. Although it may be a bit intrusive, it is important that all avenues are explored so that the right treatment is given, and that your chances of suffering further discomfort from vaginal thrush are minimised in the future.
No matter how embarrassed or worried you are, your health should always take priority, and a quick doctor’s visit will definitely help in the long run. A yeast infection is normally easily treatable, so you shouldn’t put off a proper medical diagnosis. The quicker you get proper treatment, the faster you can recover from thrush.
Written by Kat Kraetzer, an experienced blogger working in the health-care industry for many years