Symptoms of a Yeast Infection

What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?
First off, different vaginal infections tend to have very similar symptoms, so if a woman is experiencing one for the first time, or is unsure about a proper course of treatment, she should definitely see her doctor in order to get a proper diagnosis.

With that said, yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of an organism called Candida albicans. This critter is sometimes present in the vagina in smaller numbers without any symptoms, but occasionally a change in their environment gives them a chance to really multiply and grow out of control. These overgrowths are easily controlled with medications designed to kill the Candida organisms. Treatments come in a wide range of forms including pills and vaginal creams, which may need to be taken anywhere from one dose to a week-long course of medication. While some treatments are prescribed by a doctor, many are available over the counter.

So, how can a woman tell that she has a yeast infection? Most women associate a thick discharge that looks like cottage cheese with the Candida bug, although only about 20% experience it. If it is present, the discharge may either have a starchy odor to it, or perhaps none at all, and its color can vary from white to a more yellowish tinge.

Since not everyone gets the discharge, the easiest way for a woman to tell that she has a yeast infection is that she itches in and around her vagina. A lot. The itchiness may be accompanied by a burning sensation, and her vulvar area can be red and swollen. It may also burn or be generally painful for her to urinate, and sex may become painful as well. A good way to distinguish the burning on urination that is due to a yeast infection vs. a urinary tract infection is to pay close attention to exactly when the burning starts and stops. With yeast, the burning is due to acidic urine hitting the irritated skin of the vulva, so the burning starts when the urine reaches the outside. With urinary tract infection, the burning is felt as the urine passes down the tube on its way out.

While these are the general symptoms of a yeast infection, every woman may experience one differently. She may identify an infection by the smell and consistency of the discharge, which can be unique to her. However, certain symptoms definitely do not go along with a simple yeast infection, and they may indicate that something more serious is going on. For example, if she is feverish or is experiencing pelvic pain, these are definitely indications that she ought to see her doctor in order to receive a proper diagnosis and medical care.

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