An estimated 75% of women will experience at least one yeast infection or vaginal candidiasis (CV) in their lifetime, and nearly half will experience two or more infections. To make matters worse, yeast infections can be hard to distinguish from other vaginal conditions and sexually transmitted diseases, most notably bacterial vaginosis (BV) and trichomonas vaginalis (TV), as all three are a type of vaginitis (the clinical word for inflammation of the vagina) and can cause similar symptoms, such as vaginal pain, burning, itching and redness. However, when it comes to treatment, there are distinct differences between the three conditions which require different treatment plans, so it’s important to determine which condition you have.
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While it’s always best to see a health care provider if you have any type of unusual vaginal discharge, irritation or pain, another option for confirming CV is by using an at-home yeast infection test. These tests are designed to allow you to get a full understanding of your vaginal health via lab processing or to quickly find out if your pH levels are off.
To help you find the best at-home yeast infection test for your needs, we spoke with our panel of medical experts to learn about the various self-administered yeast infection tests on the market. Our team then researched more than 20 different home-based yeast infection and pH tests and rated each based on accuracy, virtual medical support offered, including prescribing doctors on staff, ease of use, the wait time should your sample need to be mailed and processed by a lab and the test kit’s price point. Here are the best at-home yeast infection tests for 2024, according to our researchers and experts.
How do at-home yeast infection tests work?
There are two different types of at-home yeast infection tests: 100% at-home vaginal pH tests and lab-based tests where you take the sample in the privacy of your home rather than a doctor's office, then ship the sample to a predetermined lab using the shipping materials included with the testing kit.
Vaginal pH tests are done entirely at home and provider results are ready in a matter of minutes. These tests measure your vaginal pH levels to help determine whether or not you have an infection. Different infections are associated with different pH levels: with a yeast infection, in addition to having the usual symptoms of burning, itching and discomfort, you’ll typically have a normal pH. With BV and trich, your pH level will typically be much higher so you can get a quick answer using a process of elimination.
Lab-based tests, on the other hand, are much more accurate, says Dr. Madeline Stark, an ob-gyn based in Chicago. With these tests, only the sample collection is done at home. The testing process is done in a lab using nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT), which can detect the presence of yeast.
How we chose the best at-home yeast infection test
To find the best at-home yeast infection test available, our team researched more than 20 different options and compared them based on cost, ease of use, and accuracy with the help of medical experts. The medical experts we consulted included obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYN) and reproductive endocrinologists, among other healthcare professionals who specialize in female sexual and reproductive health.
How to choose the best at-home yeast infection test for your needs
When choosing the right yeast infection test for you, consider the following factors:
Type of test: When it comes to hat home yeast infections tests, you have the option of either a vaginal pH test (a cheaper option) with on-the-spot results or a lab test for a more accurate, in-depth screening. If you opt for a lab test, also consider what is being tested. Some tests – like the ones from Daye – look at your entire vaginal microbiome and can give you a more detailed understanding of your vaginal health. There are also tests that combine yeast infection and STD screenings. such as the test from MyLab Box.
Accuracy: Lab tests are going to be more accurate than vaginal pH strips. If you do choose a lab-based test, make sure to go with a reputable company that uses CAP- and CLIA-certified labs for the most accurate results.
Time until results: Lab tests can take anywhere between 2 and 10 days for results, so if you need something sooner, vaginal pH tests will give you results instantly.
Medical support: Many lab-based tests offer doctor consultations and treatment options for positive results. With some, consultations are included in the price of the initial test, whereas others will offer consults for an additional fee.
Cost: The tests on this list range from $15 to $200 (or more). Tests that require lab processing are pricier, while vaginal pH tests offer a more affordable option. Also, consider the cost of shipping, treatment options and medical support, as well as if the test is eligible for payment through your HSA or FSA.
Privacy: Make sure to choose a company that is HIPPA-compliant and safeguards your information. Additionally, some tests are shipped in discreet packaging, because there’s no reason to let all your neighbors know you’ve ordered vaginal swabs!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a yeast infection?
Yeast infections are caused by a type of fungi called candida (a genus of yeast). Candida naturally lives in and on your body, but when there’s an overgrowth, it can lead to infections, including oral thrush and vaginal candidiasis.
According to Stark, there are certain risk factors that can make vaginal yeast infections more likely:
Diabetes — Yeast feeds on glucose, so women who have elevated blood glucose levels are often at a higher risk.
Antibiotics — Since antibiotics kill bacteria, including the good bacteria, yeast can grow unchecked.
Compromised immunity — being immunocompromised makes it harder for the immune system to prevent infection.
Increased estrogen — Yeast infections are more common in women with higher levels of estrogen, such as women who are pregnant or on hormonal birth control.
Will a yeast infection go away on its own?
Probably not, says Dr. Stephanie Hack, board-certified ob-gyn, "While a mild yeast infection can occasionally resolve on its own, most of the time, untreated infections will only get worse.
Stark adds, “In some cases, symptoms of itching, irritation and increased discharge can occur and then resolve within a few days, which can be mistaken for a mild infection. But, she says, “In this scenario, it’s more likely that yeast was not the culprit.”
Are yeast infections contagious?
Yeast infections are usually not contagious, says Hack, however it is possible to transmit an infection to a partner. “A large amount of yeast could be introduced into the vagina through a yeast infection on the glans penis,” she explains, adding that the passage of yeast can go both ways; some men — as many as 15% — can develop an itchy rash on their penis after unprotected sex with a partner who has a yeast infection.
What are the signs of a yeast infection?
Yeast infections can cause irritation, inflammation and discomfort of the vagina and vulva, says Dr. Jill Purdie, board-certified ob-gyn and medical director of Pediatrix Medical Group. Symptoms can vary, but they typically include:
A burning sensation when urinating or during intercourse
Redness or swelling of the vulva
Pain or soreness
Red, scaly rash
An abnormal discharge — it can be thin and watery or thick, white and clumpy with a cottage cheese-like appearance
Discharge is generally odor-free
It's important to note that symptoms can vary so it’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare provider, especially if you’ve never had a yeast infection before.
How do you treat a yeast infection?
Yeast infections are treated with a type of antifungal medication called azoles, says Stark. It comes in either topical or oral form and there are both over-the-counter and prescription options available. Over-the-counter medications include topical creams, ointments and vaginal suppositories, while oral medications require a prescription. There is also a prescription-strength cream available.
Both topical and oral antifungals have similar effectiveness, Stark says, so treatment is typically based on individual preference. The only exception, she says, is during pregnancy. Topical medications are recommended for women who are pregnant, especially during the first trimester.
Are at-home yeast infection tests as accurate as in-person tests?
It depends on the type of test you choose, Dr. Purdie says. Tests which are based on vaginal pH are far more limited. If your vaginal pH is higher than normal, it can be indicative of a yeast infection, but these kinds of tests can’t tell you for sure if you have an infection. Lab-based tests, on the other hand, actually check your vaginal fluid for the presence of yeast or other bacteria, so they are equivalent to the type of testing that you’d get at a doctor’s office.
Meet our panel of experts
Dr. Stephanie Hack, obstetrician and gynecologist
Dr. Madeline Stark, obstetrician and gynecologist
Dr. Jill Purdie, ob/gyn and medical director of Pediatrix Medical Group
Aleece Fosnight, physician’s assistant specializing in sexual medicine
Dr. Dan Nayot, reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist
Dr. Tara Brandner, family nurse practitioner and fertility coach
Dr. Janet Choi, reproductive endocrinologist and chief medical officer of Progyny
Dr. Rashid Bani, medical director at Your Sexual Health