Yeast Infection Tests

Yeast Infection Tests – How to Prepare, the Types, Risks, and More

Yeast infections (also called candidiasis) are caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. Candida is naturally present on and in your body, but an imbalance of other microorganisms can create an infection by encouraging the fungus to overgrow. Yeast infections are common and occur in men, women, and even infants, and typically affect the mouth, vagina, or skin.

If you suspect you have a yeast infection, it is important to be sure, as many of the symptoms are similar to those caused by other infections. In order to accurately diagnose and treat your infection, you may need to take a test.

Preparing for a Yeast Infection Test

Before you go to your doctor, consider any underlying factors that might be causing your infection. Common causes include a suppressed immune system, taking antibiotics or steroids, stress, diabetes, pregnancy, eating a diet high in sugar, and wearing tight-fitting clothing.

You will need to tell your doctor about any of these conditions and any symptoms you are having. Think about when your symptoms started, how long they have been going on, and what home remedies may have helped or not. Also, ALWAYS make sure to tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have, any medicines you are taking, and any allergies you have.

Types of Yeast Infection Tests

The type of test your doctor will give you depends on the place and kind of infection you have. Some of the most common tests include:

  • Vaginal Wet Mount: This is the most simple test and requires collecting a sample of your vaginal discharge to be observed under a microscope. Symptoms may include itching, irritation, and an unusual odor.
  • Vaginal pH Test: This test looks at the pH balance of your vagina. The typical pH range for a healthy vagina is 3.8 - 4.5, and a pH above 4.5 may indicate a yeast infection.
  • KOH Test: KOH stands for potassium hydroxide. In this test, a sample of your discharge is mixed with a small amount of potassium hydroxide solution and then examined under a microscope. This test looks for the yeast cells-clumps that indicate the presence of an infection.
  • Blood Test: A blood test is usually used to rule out other conditions before a yeast infection is diagnosed. The test looks for antigens, or foreign substances, that trigger an immune system response associated with a yeast infection.
  • Skin Scraping: This test is used to diagnose yeast infections on the skin, such as athlete's foot. A scalpel or razor blade is used to gently scrape off the top layer of skin, and the sample is then observed under a microscope.
  • Urine Test: For a urinary tract infection, a sample of your urine is collected and tested for Candida. This test is usually performed on people with recurring yeast infections.

Risks of Yeast Infection Tests

Yeast infection tests are generally considered to be a very safe and low-risk procedure. However, there is always a small risk of infection from any type of test involving a skin sample. To minimize the risk, make sure your doctor or healthcare provider uses a properly sterilized sample collection kit and wears gloves.

When to Be Tested for a Yeast Infection

If you have the symptoms of a yeast infection, such as itching, burning, and discharge, you should get tested. It is especially important to get tested if you have recurring yeast infections or if your symptoms are severe. You should also get tested if you have a weakened immune system, chronic health conditions, or a sexually-transmitted infection.

Yeast infections can be uncomfortable and disruptive, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, you can quickly get back to feeling better. A test for a yeast infection will help you get the best treatment for your infection and help ensure that it doesn’t come back.