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3 Yeast Infection Mimics That Could Fool You

Tim Boyer's picture
Yeast Infection

According to a recent issue of Dr. Oz—the Good Life, Oz-writer Dana Hudepohl tells readers that research has shown that up to two-thirds of women who buy OTC yeast infection treatment products at the local drugstore actually have something else going on “down there” rather than a yeast infection.

It turns out that some of the symptoms of what you think might be a yeast infection could really be a yeast infection mimic that fools you into taking unnecessary measures.

The following is a summary of advice from Dr. Oz—the Good Life on what else could be the cause of what looks like a yeast infection—but isn’t.

Yeast Infection Mimic #1: Itchiness around the vulva

The Real Problem―Itchiness around the vulva that manifests as patches of red inflamed patches of skin could actually be eczema. While most think of eczema as something you find on the back of your hands or arms, it can also appear in the vulvar region caused by sweat, heat or a reaction to soap or some other cosmetic/hygienic product that irritates your skin.

A Solution
―Before reaching for an OTC product that may or may not be a solution to your problem, cut out using soaps or other potential irritants by limiting your washing to water only. Then, go see you primary care physician who will be able to determine whether it is a rash and can prescribe a strong steroid cream to treat your potential temporary eczema.

Yeast Infection Mimic #2: Change in Discharge

The Real Problem―According to Oz-writer Dana Hudepohl, that change in discharge may be less about having a health problem and more about a normal change in your vaginal health that is due to age, changes in your hormones, weight gain or some undetermined reason. She quotes M.D. Colleen Stockdale, director of the Vulvar Vaginal Diseases Clinic at the University of Iowa as stating that, “Discharge can change over the years in consistency and amount.”

A Solution―That change in discharge could be normal, or a sign of medical problem such as bacterial vaginosis. In any case, a change in discharge must be diagnosed by your physician to rule out a disease state. If it proves to be normal, then an absorbent powder such as Gold Bond Medicated Powder can be applied to the groin for comfort.

Yeast Infection Mimic #3: Persistent Stinging or Pain

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The Real Problem―While it may be tempting to chock up persistent stinging or pain to a simple yeast infection, it could be a sign that something more serious is present such as a different type of pathogenic infection, a skin disease, or vulvodynia—a condition that manifests as chronic discomfort inside the vulva, the entrance to the vagina and/or the urethra that is typically experienced by younger to middle-aged women.

Common symptoms of vulvodynia include sensations such as:

• Itching

• Burning, stinging, or rawness

• Aching, soreness, or throbbing

All of which may occur during intercourse, exercising, walking, bicycling or even just sitting.

Unfortunately, the cause/causes of vulvodynia remain clearly undetermined but is/are believed in some cases to be triggered by pelvic floor muscle or nerve problems.

A Solution―If your persistent stinging or pain is not due to vulvodynia, then your primary care physician should be able to diagnose and easily treat your problem. However, if it is vulvodynia, then you will need to see an expert―who can be located through nva.org―and get specialized treatment that may require physical therapy, pain medications, or as a last resort—surgery.

For an additional informative article about other health mimics that may fool you, here are 8 warning signs when your body is trying to tell you something.

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: Dr. Oz—The Good Life August/September 2014 issue



So the treatments are pretty similar to the treatment for a yeast infection?