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Women's Health Channel
Reported September 13, 2007

Yeast Infections Often Misdiagnosed

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Many women who believe they are suffering from a common vaginal infection may actually be misdiagnosing themselves. A recent study reveals nearly three of every four women who think they have this infection are wrong.

Susan Hoffstetter, Ph.D., a women's health researcher from Saint Louis University School of Medicine, cautions against assuming the unpleasant symptoms associated with yeast infections are always caused by a yeast infection.

Dr. Hoffstetter and her colleagues report only about a quarter of women who were tested in her clinic for what the patients thought were yeast infections actually had the condition. The study is based on 150 women who came to the clinic seeking treatment for the condition.

While vaginal yeast infections are extremely common -- about three out of every four women will suffer from one of these infections at least once in her lifetime -- many other conditions can cause similar symptoms, and continuing to treat symptoms with over-the-counter medications can just make the situation worse, especially if the problem isn't really a yeast infection to begin with.

"If you treat yourself and it never goes away, you shouldn't continue to treat yourself," Dr. Hoffstetter was quoted as saying. "You're making a situation worse and you can get into cyclic episodes where you think you have a yeast infection all of the time."

Dr. Hoffstetter, who is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease, recommends making an appointment with your doctor or a women's health clinic for a thorough evaluation instead. That's the only way to tell whether the irritation and discharge are from a yeast infection or something else, like inflammation, dry skin tissues, or a sexually transmitted disease.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on: /newsalert/.

SOURCE: Saint Louis University press release, Sept. 10, 2007

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