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Can Yeast Infections Go Away on Their Own?

Can Yeast Infections Go Away on Their Own?

Getting a yeast infection is inconvenient and can often come at the worst time. You might be wondering: Can a yeast infection go away on its own? How long will a yeast infection last without treatment? Read on to better understand yeast infections and what to do about it.

What is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection, also known as candida vulvovaginitis, is a common infection that 3 out of every 4 women will experience throughout their lives. Yeast infections are not considered Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). They can develop for a variety of reasons. Yeast infections most commonly refer to vaginal infections, but can also occur in other places in your body, such as your mouth or armpits. For our purposes, we’ll stick to vaginal yeast infections (though men can get yeast infections too).

Every woman’s vagina has a delicate balance of live bacteria and yeast cells. When this balance is thrown off, yeast cells can multiply, which often leads to a yeast infection. Yeast infections can develop because of lifestyle habits, environmental changes, skin-to-skin contact with someone that has a yeast infection, health conditions such as diabetes, and even other cyclical changes in a woman’s body.

The most common bacteria found in a healthy vagina are Lactobacillus acidophilus and help keep yeast levels in check. These bacteria moderate the growth of yeast cells and help susceptible parts of your body fight off infection. You will most likely notice when this balance is thrown off because overproduction of yeast can cause an array of uncomfortable symptoms further listed below, which indicate a yeast infection. Treatments for yeast infections are easy to access and use. While yeast infections may go away on their own, treatment is usually a preferable option, as the symptoms can be uncomfortable to deal with. Treatments for yeast infections are easy to access and use. By choosing not to treat your yeast infection, it may worsen and create a bigger problem.

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How Do I Know If I Have a Yeast Infection?

The following are the most common symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection:

What does a yeast infection feel like?

  • Stinging sensations in the vagina or vulva
  • Persistent itchiness in the genital area
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain during urination
  • Stinging sensations in the vagina or vulva
  • Pain during intercourse

What does a yeast infection look like?

  • Thick, lumpy vaginal discharge
  • Redness in the vagina and vulva
  • Swelling of the labia and vulva

What does a yeast infection smell like?

  • Strong, musty odor
  • Fishy, sour odor
  • Strong, musty odor
  • Otherwise abnormal smell

It is important to note that the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are like those of other STIs and genital infections. To be sure that you are experiencing a yeast infection, you should contact your doctor. Treatment for yeast infections are relatively straightforward, but by self-treating, you may inadvertently make the problem worse. A PlushCare doctor can help advise by phone or video chat which steps to take (yes, an online doctor can prescribe medication!).

Yeast Infection Treatment Options: What You Need to Know

Many women wonder will a yeast infection go away on its own? The answer depends on how serious it is. If you experience mild versions of the above symptoms, you may choose to let the yeast infection run its course, or use a home remedy to relieve your symptoms.

However, if your symptoms are uncomfortable and last more than 3 days, you may want to speak with your doctor and decide on a treatment plan.

OTC Treatment Options

  • Non-prescription vaginal creams and suppositories – Common brands are **Monistat, Vagisil, ** and AZO Yeast, which contain ingredients designed to kill yeast upon contact. (Refrain from using condoms as a main form of birth control while on these such regimens, as the ingredients may also weaken latex). Creams are applied topically while suppositories are inserted into the vagina where they dissolve. These medicines can be purchased at any drug store and come in a variety of strengths to lengthen or shorten a treatment period.

Prescription Treatment Options

  • Prescription antifungal pills – Antifungal pills such as Diflucan are only available with a prescription, but only require one pill to kill most yeast infections. For persistent yeast infections, your doctor may recommend you use this method.

Home Treatment Options

Many women prefer to use home remedies to get rid of yeast infections, especially if they have had a yeast infection before. Consult your doctor before you decide to go this route. Home remedies typically revolve around a common antifungal property. This include:

  • Oil of Oregano – oil of oregano has strong antifungal powers and is taken orally (in a carrier oil, or highly diluted – NEVER in essential oil form) to ward off yeast infections.
  • Apple cider vinegar – apple cider vinegar can be taken orally to strengthen your immune system. For yeast infections, try taking a warm bath with half of a cup of apple cider vinegar dissolved in the water.
  • Coconut Oil – the gentle, yet powerful antifungal properties of coconut oil can be used topically to treat yeast infections.
  • Apple cider vinegar – apple cider vinegar can be taken orally to strengthen your immune system. For yeast infections, try taking a warm bath with half of a cup of apple cider vinegar dissolved in the water.
  • Plain Greek Yogurt – greek yogurt that is free of added sugar can be used topically to stimulate the growth of bacteria which will fend off yeast. Using yogurt with added sugar will usually make the problem worse.

Does a Yeast Infection Go Away By Itself? Risks of Opting out of Treatment

  • It may not be what you think – Yeast infection symptoms are like those of other genital infections and sexually transmitted infections. Before you choose not to treat the problem, you should know exactly what it is.
  • It could get worse – Even if your symptoms start out mild, choosing not to treat them could make the problem worse. Especially if the cause of your yeast infection is environmental, or because of a lifestyle habit, not treating yourself could make your body more vulnerable to other infections.
  • It could infect your partner – Choosing to opt out of treatment when you have a sexual partner can cause problems for both of you. Yeast infections can be transmitted back and forth through genital contact. Without treatment and with continued sexual contact, your partner may develop a yeast infection. The infection may continue to be transmitted until one of you seeks treatment.

In mild cases of yeast infection, the problem may go away by itself. However, without knowing the cause of your yeast infection, choosing not to treat your infection may make it worse. You should contact your doctor before you decide to let a yeast infection go away on its own.

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How to Know If Your Yeast Infection is Going Away

With or without treatment, a normal yeast infection should go away within 3-7 days. To know if your yeast infection is indeed going away, you should experience these stages, where you will notice:

  • 1st you will notice: Discharge should return to a normal consistency and smell.
  • 2nd you will notice: Itching should go away, which will alleviate much of the discomfort associated with the infection.
  • 3rd you will notice: Any rash, swelling, or redness should stop. Your genitals should return to a healthy appearance and feel.

*Other forms of yeast infection, like a yeast infection of the breast (during breastfeeding), may take longer to completely go away. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are choosing the right treatment option for your yeast infection.

How Long Does a Yeast Infection Last Without Treatment?

Without treatment, a yeast infection should go away within 3-7 days. Your symptoms will be relatively mild and will gradually improve. If it becomes extremely uncomfortable to sit for extended periods of time, or to have sexual intercourse, you should consider seeking treatment instead.

Signs That Your Yeast Infection is Something Else

If you decide to let yeast infections go away on their own, you should be especially wary of these symptoms, which may indicate a more serious problem. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor and seek treatment immediately.

  • Vaginal discharge with a sour, pungent odor – may indicate a Sexually Transmitted Infection or Disease, including herpes and trichomoniasis.
  • Itching near your anus – may be a sign of hemorrhoids or other genital infection.
  • Blood in your stool/near your vulva – also a symptom of hemorrhoids. Contact your doctor immediately should you experience this.
  • Fishy, white or gray discharge – a strong odor associated with thin white or grey discharge could indicate Bacterial Vaginosis, a bacterial infection of the vagina.
  • Prolonged itchiness associated with use of a new hygiene product or detergent - allergic reactions to ingredients in soaps or detergents could cause itchiness in the vaginal area. Changing your hygiene regimen may relieve these symptoms.

Do What’s Right for You

Your genital health can be a sensitive subject. You should only opt out of treatment if you have experienced a yeast infection before and are comfortable with your body’s response, or if your symptoms are very mild. Even in these cases, it is best to be cautious and ask your doctor about your yeast infection and how you should treat it. The sooner you know, the sooner you can get back to a healthy life.

How PlushCare Works

In today’s age of unpredictable waiting rooms and swamped doctors, online services like PlushCare save you time and stress. All our visits with patients are confidential and convenient and require as little as a phone or video consultation. This can be especially helpful for addressing personal health problems, especially when they are of a sensitive nature.

Our team of medical professionals has extensive experience consulting with patients about their treatment options, including both over the counter and prescription medicines, and can help you understand which method is right for you.

Read more from our Yeast Infection series:

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Laurel Klafehn

Laurel Klafehn

Laurel is a linguist at heart and studying to become a Certified Spanish Interpreter and Translator. She believes in making quality healthcare accessible, and is proud of PlushCare's mission to do so.

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