When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Schedule a visit with your health care provider if you have:

  • Greenish, yellowish, thick or cheesy vaginal discharge.
  • Strong vaginal odor.
  • Itching, burning or irritation of your vagina or of the area of skin that surrounds the vagina and urethra, also called the vulva. You might notice a change in color to these tissues. They may be a shade of red, purple or brown depending on your skin color.
  • Bleeding or spotting outside of your period.

For self-care at home:

  • If you think you have a yeast infection, try an over-the-counter antifungal cream (Monistat, M-Zole, Mycelex). But it's better to be sure before you self-treat. Often people think they have a yeast infection when they actually have something else. If you're not sure, it's important to seek care first.
  • Wash the vulva with warm water only. Do not wash inside the vagina. Then, gently blot dry with a cotton towel. Don't use scented soaps, toilet paper, tampons or douches. These can make discomfort and discharge worse.
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing. Avoid tight-fitting pants or pantyhose without a cotton crotch.
  • If your vagina is dry, try an over-the-counter cream or gel to add moisture.
  • See your care provider if your symptoms don't go away. You might need to try a different kind of treatment.

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April 25, 2023