If you think you have signs of a yeast infection, you may want to ask your gynecologist to test you for types of the herpes simplex virus. I recently discovered that the symptoms of a yeast infection and a herpes outbreak are so similar as to be nearly indistinguishable from one another. Had I been more vigilant about the details of my past medical history, and had I known how to test for genital herpes, I could likely have avoided months of discomfort. For a few months, I was absolutely sure that I had a yeast infection, as I had all the typical symptoms: mainly burning, pain, and discharge.
None of the yeast infection medications that I was self-administering had been working at all, so I was forced to continually return to the doctor for more tests, which was incredibly frustrating. Each time I went, the doctor checked for a yeast infection, but was unable to find any yeast under the microscope. Finally, after months of pain, my gynecologist noticed that I had red patches and cuts around my vaginal area, which finally signaled that what I was suffering from was a herpes outbreak, not a yeast infection.
In fact, the yeast infection medications I had been taking had likely only exacerbated the problem. Since I hadn’t had an outbreak of herpes for years, though, I hadn’t even thought to consider this as an option. And while in retrospect, I realize that the stress I was under at the time likely caused the herpes to reemerge, I failed to mention this to my doctor, and because I hadn’t had any red cuts or sores at earlier visits, even the gynocologist hadn’t noticed any HSV 2 herpes symptoms, thus delaying the diagnosis of genital herpes.
The lesson I’ve learned, and which I would pass on to others, is to keep in mind that genital herpes and yeast infections are displayed very similarly, and if your doctor fails to find yeast during initial tests, a herpes test should be ordered—even if you have to ask for it yourself.