Yeast infection symptoms are never a walk in the park, but getting control of them early on means you’ll have an easier time dealing with them.
Sometimes, you’ll be able to treat a yeast infection at home, but sometimes you will need the help of a healthcare professional. Knowing what symptoms to pay attention to will help you know when it’s time to head to a doctor or not.
Common Yeast Infection Symptoms
Here are the most common symptoms of a yeast infection. These are tell-tale signs that something is wrong, so it’s important not to ignore them.
1. Vaginal discharge
One of the most common signs you have a yeast infection is the sudden appearance of a thick, white discharge that is often described as looking like cottage cheese. This discharge should not have a noticeable odor but there may be a faint yeasty smell.
Another telltale sign you might be dealing with a yeast infection is itchiness down below. The itching is usually just mildly irritating. But if it becomes severe, it might lead to more complicated yeast infection symptoms like sores or cracks on the vulva.
It’s not unusual to notice swelling on your vulva if you are dealing with a vaginal yeast infection. Swelling occurs because inflammation is your immune system’s natural defense when you have an infection.
Swelling and irritation might also occur while using one or three-day vaginal topical treatments. So if you are sensitive you might want to choose a seven-day topical treatment instead. You also could look to other options like Boric Acid suppositories to treat your yeast infections.
4. Discomfort during sex
Pain and soreness are common symptoms associated with a yeast infection, so it’s not unusual to feel discomfort during sex. You might find that sex is downright painful at this time.
While yeast infections aren’t considered to be sexually transmitted, there is a chance your partner could get the infection from you. To be safe you should wait until symptoms subside before having sex.
5. Vaginal rash
Another skin symptom associated with yeast is the development of a red rash on your genitals. Rashes can be itchy and uncomfortable, but they usually don’t cause any harm. In some cases, a rash might develop into bumps or sores that could become infected without treatment.
A rash can be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection, so it’s a good idea to get it checked out. It’s especially important to have it checked if you have recently had a new sexual partner, or have never had these symptoms before.
6. Burning sensation
A burning sensation felt in the vaginal area is a common yeast infection symptom. This sensation may be more prominent while using the washroom or engaging in sexual intercourse.
This symptom could also be a sign of other common issues like a UTI. So if you aren’t sure you have a yeast infection, you should make an appointment with your doctor right away.
Complicated Yeast Infection Symptoms
Complicated yeast infections are usually caused by a type of fungus other than Candida albicans. These types of infections will require a visit to your doctor and some extra treatments but they can still be easily handled.
You might have a complicated yeast infection if you are experiencing severe symptoms like redness, swelling, or itching that is so intense it causes sores or tears to develop near the vagina. This can be a concern because the sores could become infected and it’ll take longer for the initial infection to clear up.
If you have four or more infections in a one-year period, you have what is called recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Sometimes recurring infections are caused by a different strain of yeast, but often they are caused by something else.
Other causes for recurring yeast infections are:
- – The initial infection wasn’t treated properly
- – Pregnancy
- – Uncontrolled diabetes
- – Weakened immune system
- – Certain medications
- – Sexual activity (passing the infection back and forth)
- – The infection is caused by something other than yeast
If you have a recurring infection, it is advised to meet with your doctor right away. They will do an examination to rule out other causes and prescribe treatments that might work better for you.
When To See a Doctor for Your Vaginal Yeast Infection Symptoms
When It’s Your First Yeast Infection
If this is the first time you are experiencing symptoms, it’s a good idea to get examined by your doctor to rule out other types of vaginal infections.
Symptoms of yeast infections are very similar to those of STIs which you can’t treat at home using OTC products. Once you are familiar with these symptoms and you feel comfortable, you can treat the infection at home.
When You Have A Recurring Infection
Recurrent yeast infections can be a sign that you are dealing with a drug-resistant strain of yeast, unknown medical issues, or a different type of vaginal infection.
You may be required to take antifungal medication for a longer period of time (up to six months), antibiotics, or receive treatment for an underlying medical issue. This will be up to your doctor to diagnose and discuss treatment options with you.
When You’re Pregnant
During pregnancy, you need to be mindful of what medications you are taking including OTC antifungal treatments. This is why you need to get any vaginal infections treated by a doctor to ensure the health of yourself and your unborn baby.
Always remember that a yeast infection is normal. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Sometimes our bodies just get a little out of whack. As long as you’re paying attention to your symptoms and treating things quickly you’ll be back to your normal self in no time.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.