A Comprehensive Guide to Home Diagnostic Testing for Vaginal Yeast InfectionsCheckable Health
Vaginal yeast infections are a common fungal infection that many women will experience at least once. If you are experiencing symptoms of vaginal itching, redness, swelling, odor, or increased discharge, you may have a yeast infection. However, the symptoms of some bacterial vaginal infections may have similar symptoms. If you have these symptoms, keep reading to determine if home diagnostic testing for a vaginal yeast infection is right for you.
How Does Home Diagnostic Testing for Vaginal Yeast Infections Work?
Home diagnostic testing will not confirm or completely rule out a vaginal yeast infection. Over-the-counter (OTC) tests, such as Checkable’s VpH screening kit, measure vaginal acidity. The measure of acidity is called pH. Because vaginal yeast infections rarely change the vaginal pH, a test showing a normal pH suggests a possible yeast infection. A higher pH result suggests a different cause of infection, such as bacterial vaginosis (BV).
Other available home diagnostic testing for a vaginal yeast infection evaluates the microbiome of the vagina. These tests show which microflora are present, including bacteria, fungi, and naturally occurring beneficial bacteria. Unfortunately, these test results may require up to 2-3 weeks to process after you submit your specimen through the mail. Some microbiome tests offer clinical care support, including prescriptions. However, this level of care is not guaranteed and is unavailable in certain states.
Accuracy of Home Diagnostic Testing for Vaginal Yeast Infections
If your symptoms are mild, home diagnostic testing for a vaginal yeast infection will help you decide whether you need an appointment with your healthcare provider. Easily accessible OTC tests accurately determine vaginal pH. They are highly sensitive in detecting normal vs abnormal vaginal pH. They do not test for actual pathogens that may alter the vaginal pH. Some studies suggest that OTC vaginal pH testing is appropriate for telemedicine and virtual healthcare evaluation. These test results may help guide your treatment plan even if you seek medical care.
Can Anyone Use a Home Diagnostic Test for a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Home diagnostic testing for a vaginal yeast infection is available OTC. These home tests may be appropriate for individuals at high risk for vaginal yeast infections. The tests may be safe during pregnancy, but if you’re pregnant, you should always check with your healthcare provider before treating your condition with any OTC medications.
If you are in menopause, it is important to read the test packaging to determine if you will likely get accurate results. If you have recurrent yeast infections, recurrent urinary tract infections, or severe symptoms, home diagnostic testing for vaginal yeast infections is not right for you. If you have the following symptoms, you should call your healthcare provider right away rather than using an OTC test:
- Severe burning
- Progressive pain
- Pain with walking
- Abdominal pain
- Any change in menstrual pattern
Price Range of Home Diagnostic Tests for Vaginal Yeast Infections
Checkable’s VpH screening kit and similar vaginal pH tests typically cost between $15-$30. Comprehensive microbiome testing can range anywhere from $100-$200. Neither pH nor microbiome testing includes treatment. If your symptoms and an at-home vaginal pH test suggest a yeast infection, OTC treatments and medications are an additional cost. If testing suggests a diagnosis other than a yeast infection, additional costs will typically include a visit to a healthcare provider, further diagnostic testing, and prescription treatments.
Where to Get a Reliable Home Diagnostic Test for a Vaginal Yeast Infection
Home diagnostic testing for a vaginal yeast infection is available OTC. You can purchase OTC vaginal pH testing kits at many pharmacies, drug stores, and grocery stores. Online retailers may also stock these tests, but the shipping time will delay your results. When purchasing a vaginal pH test such as Checkable’s VpH screening kit, it is important to look for trusted brands and read the packaging to determine that you are purchasing an appropriate pH test.
What to Do When a Home Diagnostic Test for Vaginal Yeast Infection Comes Back Positive
With an OTC vaginal pH test, a normal pH indicates a possible yeast infection. If your home pH test shows that you may be experiencing a yeast infection rather than a bacterial infection and your symptoms remain mild, you have a few options for treatment. Many OTC treatment options are available, including antifungal creams and vaginal suppositories. Taking a probiotic will also help prevent you from getting repeated yeast infections. If your symptoms do not improve with an OTC treatment, you must make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will perform additional testing to confirm your diagnosis. If your provider confirms a vaginal yeast infection, you will likely receive a prescription for an oral antifungal medication.
Under the following circumstances, you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider, even if the results of your at-home yeast infection test are positive:
- You experience repeated infections
- Your symptoms get progressively worse
- You develop new symptoms
- The OTC treatment is not effective
- You are pregnant
- You suspect a bacterial infection
Vaginal yeast infections are common and uncomfortable. OTC treatments for vaginal yeast infections are safe and affordable. Using at-home pH testing kits can give you confidence in managing this health concern.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, July 13). Vaginal candidiasis. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/genital/index.html
Cleveland Clinic. (2022, June 20). Are probiotics good for vaginal health? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/probiotics-for-vaginal-health/
Lin, Y. P., Chen, W. C., Cheng, C. M., & Shen, C. J. (2021). Vaginal pH value for clinical diagnosis and treatment of common vaginitis. Diagnostics (Basel, Switzerland), 11(11), 1996. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11111996
Monistat. (n.d.) Diagnosis and treating yeast infections at home. Retrieved 9/3/23 from, https://www.monistat.com/vaginal-health-blog-articles/diagnosing-and-treating-yeast-infections-home
Shen, C. J., Yang, C. Y., Chen, H. Y., Chen, W. C., Chang, T. C., & Cheng, C. M. (2021). Clinical evaluation of a self-testing kit for vaginal infection diagnosis. Journal of Healthcare Engineering, 2021, 4948954. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/4948954
Sobel, J. D. (2023, March 15). Patient education: Vaginal Yeast Infection (beyond the basics). UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/vaginal-yeast-infection-beyond-the-basics
Kelly Coloff, FNP-C is a freelance nurse writer and family nurse practitioner with experience in primary care, pediatrics, travel nursing, urgent care, and dermatology. She writes content for medical professionals and consumers and also enjoys creative writing. Kelly enjoys reading, hiking, and camping with her family.
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