How are vaginal infections diagnosed?

Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
A vaginal yeast infection is usually diagnosed by the patient when she notices a thick, cottage cheese discharge and significant itching.  Most yeast infections are treated with over-the-counter medications, and the patient never seeks medical attention.  When the patient seeks medical attention and I examine the patient, I look for the same signs and symptoms.  If the diagnosis is somewhat confusing, then vaginal cultures are necessary to help diagnose this problem.

Your doctor can tell a lot about your vaginal infection by asking about your symptoms and looking at your health history. A pelvic exam may be done. A sample of the vaginal discharge can be analyzed microscopically to confirm the diagnosis. If a sexually transmitted infection is suspected, tests may done to confirm this.

Continue Learning about Vulvovaginitis



Vulvovaginitis refers to numerous types of infections that can affect the vulva and vaginal area. Causes of vulvovaginitis include yeast, bacteria, parasites STDs and other viruses. If you have symptoms of vulvovaginitis like odor...

, discharge, itching, rash or pain in the vagina, you should call your doctor. You will want to make sure that you are treated for this condition, as it does not always go away on its own.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.