Ask the doctor: Can I treat myself for a yeast infection?

Q. I recently took antibiotics to treat an oral infection and as a result developed a vaginal yeast infection. Can I treat it myself, and what are the most effective options?

A. If you've had yeast infections in the past and know for certain that your symptoms are the result of that problem, it's safe to diagnose yourself. But if you have symptoms you're not sure about, I recommend that you see your doctor or nurse practitioner to get a formal diagnosis. There is an important distinction to be made about whether you have an uncomplicated or complicated infection, based on your symptoms and the kind of yeast that is causing the symptoms. Your doctor may want to do a culture to determine the type of yeast. Candida albicans is the most common cause of vaginal yeast infections, but other species, like C. glabrata or C. tropicalis, may also be to blame and can require different treatment.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »