Ditch the Itch

Banish yeast infections forever with our comprehensive guide to treating and preventing this irritating condition with homeopathy and other natural remedies.

Ditch the Itch
Pin it Mark Lund

The key to success in fighting a yeast infection is knowing you have one in the first place; the discomfort may be mild enough to overlook, and several other conditions have similar symptoms. A recent study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that only about 34 percent of women who think they have a yeast infection actually have one. "That means 66 percent of those women would be wasting their time and money treating themselves with an over-the-counter yeast preparation," says OB-GYN David Plourd, M.D., spokesperson for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

If the problem isn't yeast, it could be one of these common culprits:

BACTERIAL VAGINOSIS--Caused by an overgrowth of "bad" bacteria (such as Gardnerella vaginalis, Ureaplasma urealyticum, or Mycoplasma hominis) in the vaginal canal, this condition may be characterized by a grayish-white discharge and a strong fishy odor. It can be treated with antibiotics or by restoring good bacteria to the vaginal canal by using yogurt or probiotic supplements.

TRICHOMONIASIS--This sexually transmitted parasitic infection is caused by single-cell organisms called protozoa. Symptoms include vaginal irritation, pain during intercourse or urination, a yellowish-green discharge that can appear foamy, and a strong odor. Trichomoniasis must be treated with prescription medication, most commonly the drug metronidazole (aka Flagyl).