Most women will experience an infection at some point in their lives, whether yeast or something like BV (bacterial vaginosis). For example, 3/4 of us will have a yeast infection during our lifetime.
What makes it worse is that they often keep coming back – a yeast infection comes back within a year, up to 28% of the time. No one wants this, so we shall look at what to do if your yeast infection won’t go away.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Yeast Infection?
- How Long Does a Yeast Infection Usually Last?
- Why Won’t My Yeast Infection Go Away?
- What to Do With a Stubborn Yeast Infection That Won’t Go Away?
- When to See a Doctor?
- Get Help From DrHouse!
- Key Takeaways
What Is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection is a type of fungal infection. It can affect different body parts, such as the mouth, but it is most commonly found in the vaginal area.
Candida, a type of yeast found in your body, is the microorganism responsible for vaginal yeast infections. While this yeast is generally functioning inside of your body, there should not be any issues.
On the other hand, if the yeast is out of balance, it will quickly multiply, which may result in a yeast infection. In addition to causing changes in the discharge from your vagina, a yeast infection can cause burning, itching, and redness in the vulva. It is not a sexually transmitted infection.
How Long Does a Yeast Infection Usually Last?
If you take medicine for it, yeast infections typically clear up within a few days. Still, it could take up to a week. The more serious the case, the longer it may last and the longer it may take to treat. Be sure that you follow the directions for using the medication, and do not stop taking it too soon; otherwise, the infection could return.
Why Won’t My Yeast Infection Go Away?
You Are Using Irritants.
There are a lot of things that might throw off the vagina’s pH balance or generally mess with its well-being. The vagina can get irritated and sensitive due to many things, such as a person’s diet, medications, stress level, scented body products, laundry soaps, douches, and sexual activity. Suppose you continue to use irritants that disturb the vaginal pH balance. In that case, you risk making yeast infections worse.
Not Completing the Entire Course of Medication
When you are sure that the yeast infection is gone, it may be tempting to stop taking the medicine you were given to treat it. However, if you do that, the condition may get worse. Many women don’t complete the course of treatment for yeast infections. You need to follow the whole treatment recommendation when using any treatment, including over-the-counter medicines and prescription medication.
You Have Been Taking Antibiotics.
It is possible that you are unaware that taking antibiotics for something unrelated can affect your existing yeast infection. Still, there is a possibility that this is the case. Regular use of antibiotics has been linked to many episodes of yeast infections.
Antibiotics may change the kinds of organisms that live in your vagina and make yeast grow faster. If you take antibiotics and often get yeast infections, you should talk to your doctor about avoiding them. This will help you treat both conditions at the same time.
You Are Wearing Damp And/or Tight Clothing.
If you have a yeast infection, you should avoid wearing clothes or underwear that are too tight or damp. When you have a yeast infection, wearing loose clothing and underwear (not thongs) is helpful, as yeast thrives in moist, dark areas. This can help the infection clear up more rapidly. Also, as you get out of the pool or the gym, it is crucial to change your wet clothes as soon as possible so that yeast does not continue to grow on them.
You Are Consuming Too Much Sugar.
Your diet can have a long-term effect on your yeast infection, and while you’re healing, you may need to stay away from sugar as much as possible. This is because sugar can often be a primary culprit in a yeast infection’s lingering and recurring nature. If you overeat sugar, it will cause your blood sugar levels to rise. This can cause the vaginal pH balance to become unbalanced, resulting in yeast infections.
What to Do With a Stubborn Yeast Infection That Won’t Go Away?
There are different types of yeast infections, some of which are more problematic than others, and some can be resistant to the treatments that are generally used to treat them. See a gynecologist or healthcare practitioner if your yeast infection does not clear up after a few days or after taking an over-the-counter remedy. You may require additional tests and a second round of the antifungal medicine prescribed to you.
When to See a Doctor?
If any of the following sounds like what’s happening to you, you should see a doctor right away:
- You have never knowingly had a yeast infection before. See a doctor to rule out the possibility of a more severe condition that calls for a different course of therapy, such as a sexually transmitted illness or an infection of the urinary system.
- You are pregnant. During pregnancy, your doctor must give the green light for you to take any medication, even over-the-counter vaginal treatments.
- You suffer from yeast infections rather frequently. A condition known as “recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis” is diagnosed when a person experiences four or more yeast infections within a single calendar year. If you have it, you must take an antifungal drug for one to six months as treatment. Recurrent yeast infections can be a symptom that you have diabetes or another medical disease. Diabetes is an illness that affects sugar levels in the blood.
Seeing a doctor may give you the peace of mind you need, especially if you are concerned about your symptoms or if they differ from those of previous yeast infections you have experienced.
They might suggest a vaginal cream for which you have to get a prescription because it will stop the itching and burning faster than an over-the-counter medicine. Oral antifungal medicines are another treatment option that a doctor could recommend.
Get Help From DrHouse!
If you’re having trouble managing your yeast infection and it won’t go away, consider getting help from DrHouse.
We provide a discreet and safe on-demand telehealth service, which allows you to connect with a certified medical professional online and get personalized diagnoses and treatment for your condition.
You can see an online doctor within as little as 15 minutes, and get the same quality of care that you would receive from a conventional visit. This means no more waiting rooms or awkward conversations with your doctor!
Why Won’t My Yeast Infection Go Away After Treatment?
The medication may need a longer time to take effect: It may take an antifungal medicine up to seven days to completely clear up a yeast infection that you have.
Some yeast strains may be resistant to antifungal treatment. This hardy yeast will continue reproducing; other, less robust yeast strains will eventually perish. This procedure may result in an infection that is difficult to manage.
You have a compromised immune system: A person’s immune system can be weakened by a variety of diseases, which can make that person more susceptible to infections.
It is not a yeast infection at all: Itching and burning in and around the vagina can be caused by various conditions. The most typical example is bacterial vaginosis. Antibiotic treatment is required for infections of this type.
Why Has My Yeast Infection Lasted So Long?
This could be for a whole range of reasons, including:
Using things that are irritating the vagina; not completing the entire course of treatment; taking antibiotics; wearing damp and/or tight-fitting clothing; consuming too much sugar; misdiagnosis of a yeast infection.
Should I Go to the Hospital if My Yeast Infection Doesn’t Go Away?
You do not necessarily need to go to a hospital if your yeast infection does not go away. Still, it is important to seek medical attention from urgent care or your regular doctor if your yeast infection doesn’t go away. This is because it can continue to get worse and more painful. While it is still perfectly treatable, you don’t want it to get any worse than necessary. You must also ensure that it is nothing else, such as a UTI or BV.
Can a Yeast Infection Last Forever?
If your yeast infection is not too severe, it may clear up on its own. But this doesn’t always happen, and you can’t tell if a yeast infection will get better or worse if you don’t treat it. Also, most home remedies for yeast infections have yet to be shown to work.
Suppose you do not treat a yeast infection properly. In that case, you could get the infection again a few weeks or months after you were treated for it the first time. You also risk getting a more complicated yeast infection, making your symptoms worse and harder to treat.
How Do You Get Rid of a Long-Lasting Yeast Infection?
See a gynecologist or healthcare practitioner if your yeast infection does not clear up after a few days or after using an over-the-counter remedy. You might need more tests and a second round of antifungal medicine.
- Yeast infections need treatment to go away. This can be OTC medication or prescribed.
- It is crucial to complete the entire course of medication
- There are things you can do to help – reducing sugar in your diet, not wearing damp and tight-fitted clothing
- It is essential to seek medical advice if your yeast infection keeps coming back or won’t go away
- The primary reasons why your yeast infection might not be going away are: taking antibiotics, wearing damp and/or tight-fitting clothing, consuming too much sugar, or a misdiagnosis of a yeast infection.
- Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/candidiasis.htm
- Vaginal Candidiasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/genital/index.html
- David W. Warnock, Trends in the Epidemiology of Invasive Fungal Infections, 日本医真菌学会雑誌, 2007, 48 巻, 1 号, p. 1-12, 公開日 2007/08/17, Online ISSN 1882-0476, Print ISSN 0916-4804, https://doi.org/10.3314/jjmm.48.1
- Jack D Sobel. Patient education: Vaginal yeast infection (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. Available from: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/vaginal-yeast-infection-beyond-the-basics/print
- Miranda A. Farage , Kenneth W. Miller and Jack D. Sobel. Dynamics of the Vaginal Ecosystem—Hormonal Influences. Infectious Diseases: Research and Treatment 2010:3 1–15. Available from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.4137/IDRT.S3903
- Blomberg, L., Backman, K., Kirjavainen, P.V. et al. Vulvovaginal yeast infections, gestational diabetes and pregnancy outcome. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 23, 70 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-023-05391-1
- Crook, William G. M.D.. Vaginal Yeast Infections Exacerbated by Sugar Intake. The Nurse Practitioner 18(1):p 8, January 1993.
- Jack D. Sobel, Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 214, Issue 1, 2016, Pages 15-21, ISSN 0002-9378. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2015.06.067
DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.