Diagnosing a Yeast Infection

A yeast infection, a condition caused by Candida yeasts, can be diagnosed using two main methods - microscopic examination and culturing.

  1. Microscopic examination starts by collecting a sample from the potentially infected area. This usually only requires a swab of the affected area. The sample is then placed on a microscopic slide for examination. Potassium hydroxide solution is then placed on the slide. The hydroxide solution is able to break down and dissolve normal skin cells, but not Candida. When the slide is examined using a microscope, the certain spores of the Candida yeast are visible. A large number of the visible spores can suggest a yeast infection.
  2. Diagnosing a yeast infection using the culturing method starts by swabbing the infected area in order to collect a sample. The swab is then smeared across a culture medium. A culture medium, or a growth medium, is a substance that supports the growth of microorganisms or cells. By leaving the medium to incubate for several days, Candida yeasts are given opportunity to grow and develop. A diagnosis of the organism that is causing the yeast infection symptoms can be drawn by examining the characteristics of the microorganism's growth after the incubation period.
Once a patient is diagnosed with having a yeast infection, the patient has a number of natural treatment options.