In most cases, a person does not need to seek medical treatment for a yeast infection. However, if symptoms are severe or home remedies do not work, urgent care centers can provide fast access to treatment.

A yeast infection, which doctors also call vaginal candidiasis, is a relatively common fungal infection. It can cause painful itching and burning in the vagina and around the vulva. Although it can also infect the penis and other areas of the body, this is less common.

Yeast infections are not usually dangerous, but untreated infections can spread throughout the body. In rare cases, they can cause the dangerous infection candidemia.

People can typically manage a yeast infection with home remedies, but if these do not work, they may need to seek medical care.

Read more to learn about when a person should seek urgent care for a yeast infection, what to expect, and how doctors treat infections.

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Urgent care centers offer immediate, same-day care without an appointment. They treat people with immediate health needs and symptoms that are not life threatening. Some centers also allow people to book an appointment over the phone or online.

If a person needs prompt medical attention for a yeast infection, they should visit an urgent care center instead of an emergency department. The emergency department is primarily for health issues that cannot wait, such as broken bones, or symptoms that could be life threatening, such as chest pain.

However, most people with a yeast infection do not need urgent care.

It is usually safe to treat a yeast infection with over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Because it is not common for yeast to quickly spread or cause serious complications, it is usually safe to wait a few days to see a doctor.

However, some people may choose to visit an urgent care center to get immediate medical attention. Some situations in which urgent care may be appropriate include:

  • Uncertainty: If a person has never had a yeast infection before, they may assume vaginal itching is a yeast infection. However, an older 2002 study found that most people incorrectly diagnosed themselves with a yeast infection and took the wrong medications. If an individual is not sure what is causing their symptoms, they should see a doctor.
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy, a person’s body is more vulnerable to infections, so it is a good idea to see a doctor.
  • Unsuccessful treatment: If a person has already tried OTC treatment without success, a doctor can diagnose the condition and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
  • Severe symptoms: A person with severe or worsening symptoms should seek medical attention, or if they want to try prescription treatment rather than waiting for an OTC remedy to work.
  • Compromised immune system: If a person is immunocompromised and develops a yeast infection, they should see a doctor right away.
  • Fever: If a person develops a fever along with a yeast infection, they should seek medical attention.

Urgent care centers are typically open 7 days a week and are less busy than emergency departments, so a person will likely be seen quicker.

After checking in and describing their symptoms, a person will wait for a medical professional to see them. They may have to wait for care, especially if they do not have a medical condition that makes yeast infections dangerous. Wait time depends on how busy an urgent care center is on any given day.

A medical professional will examine the person’s genitals for signs of a yeast infection. They will ask about a person’s symptoms, which usually include itching, burning, and pain.

If a person has other symptoms — for example, a fishy vaginal odor — they may have a different condition, such as bacterial vaginosis.

A healthcare professional can accurately diagnose the cause of a person’s symptoms and decide on the best course of treatment.

Yeast infections are fungal infections, so antibiotics will not resolve them. Instead, a person needs antifungal medication.

A doctor may recommend a prescription antifungal medicine tablet, a vaginal cream, or both. They may also recommend a cream to relieve itching and pain while the medication starts to work. This cream is available OTC or by prescription.

People with frequent yeast infections may want to discuss strategies to prevent future infections. These include:

  • keeping the genitals dry by toweling off after bathing and removing wet clothes and swimsuits
  • never douching
  • not using scented vaginal products such as deodorant sprays or scented tampons
  • controlling blood glucose if a person has diabetes

Below are the answers to some commonly asked questions about yeast infections.

A yeast infection can be uncomfortable, but people can usually manage it with OTC medication. If this does not resolve their symptoms, they may want to visit an urgent care center.

People with certain health conditions, recurring infections, and who are pregnant should also seek medical attention.

Urgent care can reduce the length of time a person waits to see a doctor and help them get rapid care — often in the form of prescription medication that can clear up the infection in a few days.