Everything You Need to Know About Yeast Infections

| Women's Health

Have you ever had a yeast infection? Chances are, yes you have — or you will. Huffington Post tells us that three out of four women will experience a yeast infection during their lives, and half of that number will have two or more. Yeast infections are obviously pretty common, and that's because yeast lives on the skin around your vagina. When an imbalance occurs, that's when you get the infection. Read on to discover everything you need to know about yeast infections.

yeast infection

The symptoms can mimic other problems. One study found that as few as 11 percent of women who have never had a yeast infection could identify the symptoms, while other research has found that only one-third of women who thought they had a yeast infection actually did. Why the confusion?

The signs are similar to other down-there problems. If you have a yeast infection, you might notice burning, itching, pain during sex, and a thick white odorless discharge.

But if it smells fishy, it may instead be bacterial vaginosis (BV), and if you have only burning and pain during urination, that suggests a urinary tract infection. Bottom line: It can be difficult to figure out.

>> Read more: 10 Facts You Might Not Know About the Vagina

First-timer? Go to the doctor if you think you have one. Now you know the signs, but remember: Just because you can buy over-the-counter treatment for a yeast infection doesn't mean you always should. The first time you experience symptoms, it's important to see your doctor (or hit up an urgent care center if you can't score an appointment) because if it turns out you don't have a yeast infection, at-home treatments can make inflammation worse or not provide any relief at all, Dr. Goist says.

A doctor will be able to correctly pinpoint the problem (yeast infection or something else) then give you personalized treatment, like an Rx for the oral antifungal fluconazole as well as a topical skin cream to reduce inflammation.

After that, you'll know exactly what to watch out for, and your doc may give you the all clear to self-treat your next one with an over-the-counter antifungal, like Monistat or generic clotrimazole. >> Read more: Something Smells Funny 'Down There': 10 Possible Reasons Why

You don't need products to prevent them. Gynecologists like to call the vagina a "self-cleaning oven." That's because it doesn't need any help with douches, scented gels, perfumes, and other "feminine" products to stay clean. In fact, rather than helping prevent a yeast infection, these can cause an imbalance of the healthy bacteria in your vagina that makes you more susceptible to a yeast infection, explains Dr. Goist.

Want to read more? Click here to see the rest of the article on Huffington Post.