The yeast, Candida albicans, is the causative organism of most common yeast infections. As the yeast infection symptoms vary from person to person and often involve various parts of the body, this condition can rarely be diagnosed by the patient's history and physical examination alone. Only a yeast infection test performed by a physician can provide an accurate and definitive diagnosis. This includes: a history, a pelvic examination, a pH test, a wet prep, and a whiff test. If itching is present and yeast is not detected under the microscope, then a yeast culture on Sabouraud's medium is imperative.
The physical examination includes using a speculum to inspect the vulva, vagina and the cervix. The doctor takes a swab of the discharge and may obtain cultures to rule out infection by other bacteria or parasites. To perform the test, a swab of yeast is mixed with a drop of potassium hydroxide and is placed on a slide. If a specific branching pattern is seen through the microscope, it confirms yeast infection. A whiff test for the presence of amines is performed by placing a drop of 10% KOH onto the vaginal secretions and checking for a fishy odor. A blood and urine specimen may also be collected for further confirmation. In the case of toddlers with yeast infections, the diagnostic test involves microscopic testing of skin scraping from the affected area. Yeast infections are common in toddlers in the diaper area as the heat and moisture-trapping disposable diapers are an excellent environment for the yeast to proliferate. If a typical diaper rash does not clear up in two days of conventional treatment, then you should consult your pediatrician to determine if the toddler may be suffering from a yeast infection. Yeast infections in toddler can cause severe discomfort and itching.
Simpler do-it-yourself tests have also been developed. It is possible to distinguish between yeast infection, trichomoniasis or bacterial vaginosis simply by testing the pH of the vagina. Some companies have made kits with a test strip for yeast infection that can be done in the privacy of your home. Another home test is the saliva test which can also be done at home. Fill a clear glass with water, work up some saliva, and spit into the cup. This should be done first thing in the morning before eating or drinking or even brushing your teeth. If you see strings traveling downward from the saliva or speckles suspended in the water, or the water begins to turn cloudy and the saliva sinks to the bottom of the cup, you may have a yeast infection.
Once yeast infection is confirmed, treatment should be started immediately. Alternative or holistic treatment program is safer, cheaper, and more effective in controlling the yeast infection than conventional treatment with antifungal medications.