Book an appointment Feather-communication-phone
Can Yeast Infections Go Away on Their Own?

Blog Women's Health

How Long Does a Yeast Infection Last?

writtenByWritten by: Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewBy Reviewed by: Dr. Umer Khan
Reviewer

Dr. Umer Khan

Medically reviewed by Dr Umer Khan, MD who is a Board Certified physician practicing in Pennsylvania. His special interests include wellness, longevity and medical IT.

March 31, 2021 Read Time - 9 minutes

How Long Does a Yeast Infection Last? – Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments

Getting a yeast infection is inconvenient and can often come at the worst time.

You might be wondering: How long does a yeast infection last? What will happen if a yeast infection is left untreated? 

Read on to better understand yeast infections and what to do about them.



  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

What Will Happen If a Yeast Infection Is Left Untreated?

If a mild yeast infection is left untreated, it may go away on its own in a few days. More severe yeast infections could take up to 2 weeks to clear without treatment.

If your infection is causing painful and uncomfortable symptoms for more than 3 days, you should seek medical treatment.

The length and type of treatment for a yeast infection vary greatly from person to person and depend on the individual symptoms and severity.

By forgoing diagnosis and treatment, you are also at risk of falsely self-diagnosing. Yeast infection symptoms can also be symptoms of certain STDs that require medical treatment.

What Is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection, also known as candida vulvovaginitis, is a common infection that 3 out of 4 women will experience throughout their lives. Yeast infections are not considered sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Every woman’s vagina has a delicate balance of live bacteria and yeast cells. When this balance is thrown off, yeast cells can multiply, which may result in a yeast infection. 

Common yeast infection causes include:

  • Lifestyle habits
  • Environmental changes
  • Skin-to-skin contact with someone that has a yeast infection
  • Health conditions
  • Other cyclical changes in a woman’s body

The most common bacteria found in a healthy vagina are Lactobacillus acidophilus that moderate the growth of yeast cells and help susceptible parts of your body fight off infections. If your body’s natural balance of yeast levels is thrown off, you will likely experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.

While yeast infections may go away on their own, treatment with yeast infection medicine can provide faster, more effective relief.

Failing to treat a yeast infection prolongs discomfort and may lead to various health complications.

Fortunately, treatments for yeast infections are easy to access and simple to use.

How Do I Know If I Have a Yeast Infection?

The most common symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include:

What does a yeast infection feel like?

  • Stinging sensations in the vagina or vulva
  • Persistent itchiness in the genital area
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain during urination
  • Stinging sensations in the vagina or vulva
  • Pain during intercourse

What does a yeast infection look like?

  • Thick, lumpy vaginal discharge
  • Redness in the vagina and vulva
  • Swelling of the labia and vulva

What does a yeast infection smell like?

  • Strong, musty odor
  • Fishy, sour odor
  • Otherwise abnormal smell

“Yeast infection symptoms are similar to other vaginal infections and sexually transmitted infections (STIs),” according to the Office on Women’s Health. “If you have a more serious infection, and not a yeast infection, it can lead to major health problems.”

To be sure that you are experiencing a yeast infection, you should contact a doctor.

Treatment for yeast infections are relatively straightforward, but by self-diagnosing, you may inadvertently make the problem worse.


Our doctors at PlushCare make it simple for you to book a virtual appointment, receive a diagnosis, and start a treatment plan.


What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of a Yeast Infection?

The fastest way to get rid of a yeast infection is to schedule a doctor’s appointment and get prescription yeast infection medicine. Over-the-counter treatment, such as Monistat (Miconzaole), is also an effective treatment option.

Many women wonder, will a yeast infection go away on its own? The answer depends on how serious it is.

If you experience mild versions of the above symptoms, you may choose to let the yeast infection run its course or use a home remedy to relieve your symptoms.

However, if your symptoms are uncomfortable or last more than 3 days, you may want to speak with your doctor and decide on a treatment plan.

Over-The-Counter Treatment Options

Non-prescription vaginal creams and suppositories can help treat yeast infections. The most common brands are Monistat, Vagisil, and AZO Yeast, which contain ingredients designed to kill yeast upon contact.

(Refrain from using condoms as a main form of birth control while on these such regimens, as the ingredients may also weaken latex).

Creams are applied topically, while suppositories are inserted into the vagina where they dissolve.

These medicines can be purchased at any drugstore and come in a variety of strengths to lengthen or shorten a treatment period.

Prescription Yeast Infection Medicine

Prescription antifungal pills such as Diflucan are only available with a prescription, and require one pill to kill most yeast infections. For persistent yeast infections, your doctor may recommend you use this method.

Home Remedies for Yeast Infection

Many women prefer to use home remedies to get rid of yeast infections. It is important to consult a doctor before you decide to go this route, especially if you have not experienced a yeast infection before or are unsure if your symptoms indicate a yeast infection. 

Popular home remedies include:

  • Oil of oregano – The oil of oregano has strong antifungal properties and is taken orally (in a carrier oil or highly diluted—NEVER in essential oil form) to ward off yeast infections.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Apple cider vinegar can be taken orally to strengthen your immune system. For yeast infections, try taking a warm bath with half of a cup of apple cider vinegar dissolved in the water.
  • Coconut oil – The gentle yet powerful antifungal properties of coconut oil can be used topically to treat yeast infections.
  • Plain Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt that is free of added sugar can be used topically to stimulate the growth of bacteria which will fend off yeast. However, eating yogurt with added sugar will usually make the problem worse.
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Yeast Infection?

How long does a yeast infection last? Without treatment, it takes 3–7 days to recover from a yeast infection. It can take 1–2 weeks to recover from a moderate to severe yeast infection.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a yeast infection, it is important to seek medical treatment for the following reasons:

  • It may not be what you think – Yeast infection symptoms are similar to those of other genital infections and sexually transmitted infections. Before you choose not to treat the problem, you need to know exactly what the problem is.
  • It could get worse – Even if your symptoms start out mild, choosing not to treat them could make the infection worse. If the cause of your yeast infection is environmental or because of a lifestyle habit, not treating yourself could make your body more vulnerable to other infections.
  • It could infect your partner – Choosing to opt out of treatment when you have a sexual partner can cause problems for the both of you. Yeast infections can be transmitted back and forth through genital contact. Without treatment and with continued sexual contact, your partner may develop a yeast infection. The infection may continue to be transmitted until one of you seeks treatment.

In mild cases of yeast infection, the problem may go away by itself. However, without knowing the cause of your yeast infection, choosing not to treat your infection may make it worse.

You should contact your doctor before you decide to let a yeast infection go away on its own.

How Do You Know When a Yeast Infection Is Gone?

To know if your yeast infection is going away, you should experience these stages:

  • First, you will notice that vaginal discharge has returned to a normal consistency and smell.
  • Second, you will notice that itching has gone away, alleviating much of the discomfort associated with the infection.
  • Third, you will notice that any rash, swelling, or redness has subsided. Your genitals should return to a healthy appearance and feel.

Other forms of yeast infection, like a yeast infection of the breast (common during breastfeeding), may take longer to completely go away.

Talk to your doctor to make sure you are choosing the right treatment option for your yeast infection.

Signs That Your Yeast Infection is Something Else

If you decide to let a yeast infection go away on its own, you should be especially wary of these symptoms which may indicate a more serious problem. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor and seek treatment immediately.

  • Vaginal discharge with a sour, pungent odor may indicate a sexually transmitted infection or disease, including herpes and trichomoniasis.
  • Itching near your anus may be a sign of hemorrhoids or other genital infection.
  • Blood in your stool/near your vulva is also a symptom of hemorrhoids. Contact your doctor immediately should you experience this.
  • Fishy white or gray discharge is a strong odor associated with thin white or grey discharge could indicate Bacterial Vaginosis, a bacterial infection of the vagina.
  • Prolonged itchiness is associated with use of a new hygiene product or detergent—allergic reactions to ingredients in soaps or detergents could cause itchiness in the vaginal area. Changing your hygiene regimen may relieve these symptoms.

Do What’s Right for You

Your genital health is a personal and important subject. You should only opt out of treatment if you have experienced a yeast infection before and are comfortable with your body’s response, or if your symptoms are very mild and you have received an official diagnosis from a doctor.

Even in these cases, it is best to be cautious and ask your doctor for their recommended treatment plan. The sooner you are diagnosed and begin treatment, the sooner you can get back to living free of discomfort.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Treated Online | How PlushCare Works

In today’s age of unpredictable waiting rooms and swamped doctors, online services like PlushCare save you time and stress. All our visits with patients are confidential and convenient and require as little as a phone or video consultation. This can be especially helpful for addressing personal health problems, especially when they are of a sensitive nature.

Our team of medical professionals has extensive experience consulting with patients about their treatment options, including both over-the-counter and prescription medicines. Our top doctors can help you understand your symptoms and what treatment options are right for you. Book an appointment at PlushCare today.


Read More About Yeast Infections


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Vulvovaginal Health. Accessed on November 3, 2020 at https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/vulvovaginal-health

Office on Women’s Health. Vaginal yeast infections. Accessed on November 3, 2020 at https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/vaginal-yeast-infections

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015. Accessed on November 3, 2020 at https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/tg-2015-print.pdf

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

Our commitment to you.

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

  • right Tick Image

    Research from sources you can trust

  • right Tick Image

    Medical reviews by field experts

  • right Tick Image

    Frequent content updates

More to learn.

What is Bacterial Vaginosis? Signs, Symptoms, Treatments and More

What is Bacterial Vaginosis? Signs, Symptoms, Treatments and More

What is Bacterial Vaginosis? There are different kinds of bacteria or microflora living in your vagina, both good and bad….

Sofie Wise 12 minutes
What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control?

What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control?

What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control? Can you just stop taking the pill? When you stop taking the…

Dr. Heidi Lightfoot 11 minutes
Missed Birth Control Pill: What Does This Mean?

Missed Birth Control Pill: What Does This Mean?

Missed Birth Control Pill: What Does This Mean? Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives, are most effective if…

Laurel Klafehn 9 minutes