A yeast infection is caused by groups of microscopic yeast or fungi. They affect women and babies more often than men. These infections are often uncomfortable so many patients ask “how long does a yeast infection last?”
This infection can be caused by a variety of things. Some of the most common causes include steroid and antibiotic use. Other causes include pregnancy, having gone through menopause, menstruation, diabetes, sperm, and birth control pills.
Symptoms are different for men and women. Women’s symptoms include vaginal burning, discharge, soreness, and pain during urination and/or intercourse. Men’s symptoms include penile itching, discharge, soreness, irritation, redness, discharge, and small blisters.
So, how long does a yeast infection last? Most of these infections will last for about a week. If the infection lasts longer or if the symptoms worsen or do not get better within that week, the patient should consult a physician. If this is the patient’s first yeast infection, or if they have had another one within the last year, they should consult a physician. Patients with other medical conditions, particularly those that affect the immune system, and those who are pregnant should also consult a physician.
Many patients will know they have a yeast infection due to the discharge. Women will experience a vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese. Men who experience penile discharge will notice it is clear. Patients need to make an appointment with their doctor for an absolute diagnosis. A doctor will take a sample from the affected area and send it to a laboratory for analysis. Yeast is easily recognizable under a microscope and this diagnostic tool is the least inexpensive way to identify and diagnose this infection.
Over-the-counter topical creams and tablets often treat most yeast infections, for both men and women. Babies and those with special considerations (certain illnesses, pregnancy, etc.) should consult a physician, however, prior to starting any treatment. Common over-the-counter treatments include Femstat 3, Terazol 3, Lotrimin, and Monistat. For some patients, doctors will prescribe a prescription antifungal. These will most often be a suppository or a vaginal tablet. Oral antifungal medications are not prescribed as often and are not recommended during pregnancy. In addition to oral prescription antifungals being thought of as not as effective as the other two methods, they can also cause side effects, such as nausea, headache, and abdominal pain.
Mama’s Health. (2009). Penile Yeast Infection. Retrieved on January 28, 2010 from Mama’s Health: https://www.mamashealth.com/men/yeast.asp
MedicineNet. (2010). Yeast Vaginitis. Retrieved on January 28, 2010 from MedicineNet: https://www.medicinenet.com/yeast_vaginitis/page2.htm
WebMD. (2010. Candidiasis. Retrieved on January 28, 2010 from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/candidiasis-yeast-infection
Yeast Specimen: CDC/Brinkman – Wikimedia Commons
Microscope: clix – sxc.hu