Why test before you treat?
Not all vaginal symptoms are associated with yeast infections. Test if you’re unsure or if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Unpleasant odor
- Abnormal or excessive discharge
- Vaginal itching or burning
Why is vaginal acidity (pH) important?
Normal vaginal bacteria produce factors that keep the vaginal environment slightly acidic. The acidic environment helps suppress the overgrowth of abnormal bacteria. When abnormal bacteria overgrow or parasitic infections like Trichomoniasis become established, this results in abnormal vaginal activity — yeast infections usually do not result in a change in vaginal acidity. A vaginal pH test can determine your vaginal acidity.
Are all vaginal infections yeast infections?
No, in fact, the most common vaginal infection is bacterial vaginosis (BV), which is an infection caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis is distinguished by a foul fishy odor, a thin, grayish-white discharge and a change in vaginal acidity. BV is caused by an abnormal growth of bacteria and must be treated with prescription antibiotics. By contrast, yeast infections do not usually cause an odor, and the discharge will often be thick, white, and lumpy with associated vaginal itching and irritation. If left untreated, BV may lead to a serious infection of the reproductive organs called pelvic inflammatory disease and complications in pregnant women, including premature birth.
See your healthcare professional if you’re experiencing symptoms like a fishy odor, change in discharge, or sudden irritation within 48 hours after a new sex partner to make sure you do not have a sexually transmitted disease or BV.
Another common vaginal infection is Trichomoniasis (Trich), which is a parasitic infection. Symptoms of Trichomoniasis may include itching, burning, redness or soreness of the genitals; discomfort with urination; or a thin discharge with an unusual smell. The discharge can be clear, white, yellowish, or greenish. Like BV, Trichomoniasis must be treated by a healthcare professional.
There are also non-infectious causes of vaginal inflammation and irritation. These are usually caused by an allergic reaction or irritation from vaginal sprays, douches, spermicidal products, soaps, detergents, or fabric softeners. Burning, itching, or vaginal discharge may be present even if there is no infection.
Are BV and Trichomoniasis treated in the same way as a yeast infection?
No. BV is caused by an abnormal growth of bacteria and must be treated with prescription antibiotics. At this time there are no FDA approved over-the-counter treatments for BV.
Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection and must be treated with prescription antibiotics. At this time there are no FDA approved over-the-counter treatments for Trichomoniasis.
If you think you have a yeast infection and are familiar with the symptoms because you have been previously diagnosed with a yeast infection, you can try an over-the-counter antifungal remedy such as MONISTAT®. If this is your first yeast infection, see your healthcare professional.
Why should I be concerned about Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) or Trichomoniasis (Trich)?
If left untreated, BV and Trich may lead to a serious infection of the reproductive organs called pelvic inflammatory disease. BV and Trich may lead to complications in pregnant women, including serious infections and premature birth. Trich can also increase the risk of getting or spreading other sexually transmitted infections.
For more information visit the CDC website on BV.
For more information visit the CDC website on trichomoniasis.
How does the screening kit for vaginal infections work?
If the yellow tip comes into contact with vaginal discharge that has an abnormal acidity, the tip's color will change to either blue or green. The color change creates a stain that is darker and easily observed over the yellow background.
If I have vaginal itching, burning, and/or abnormal discharge, and receive a result of abnormal acidity detected with the vaginal health test, what should I do?
You should discuss your symptoms with your healthcare professional to help determine the best treatment for your vaginal discharge and symptoms. Do not self-treat with an antifungal. You can get fast, temporary itch relief with Instant Itch Relief Cream from MONISTAT® CARE™ while waiting to see your healthcare professional.
If I have vaginal itching, burning, and/or abnormal discharge, and receive a result of normal acidity detected with the vaginal health test, what should I do?
You may have a yeast infection. If this is your first yeast infection, talk to your healthcare professional. However, if you are in good health, have been previously diagnosed with a yeast infection and are familiar with the symptoms, you can try an over-the-counter antifungal remedy such as MONISTAT®. MONISTAT® is prescription-strength and can begin to relieve symptoms soon after the first dose, with a full cure after several days. A MONISTAT® coupon is available in the Vaginal Health Test box or on this site.
Can I have more than one type of infection at one time?
Yes. In one study 21.1% of the women with presumed yeast infection actually had mixed infection (a combination of yeast or bacterial infection and/or Trichomoniasis).
Can I take a shower before using the test?
Yes. Showering before use will not affect the results; however, make sure you are completely dry before using the test as excess water may affect the test result.
Are there any other factors that can affect my results?
Yes. Besides infections such as BV and Trich, other factors that may affect vaginal acidity (pH) levels include blood, semen, menopause and perimenopause (low estrogen).