Symptoms of a yeast infection vary greatly depending on the location of the infection. Different types of yeast infections, such as a vaginal yeast infection, oral candidiasis, or a yeast infection on the skin, show different signs of the yeast’s presence. Yeast infections are not pleasant to have or see, but it is estimated that three out of four women will have at least one yeast infection during their lifetime. Men certainly get yeast infections as well, but it is much more common in women because yeast is naturally present in the vagina. Just a fair warning, you may want to finish eating your lunch (or skip it all together) before you read the symptoms.
Vaginal yeast infections show their existence with a white, cheesy discharge that irritates the vagina and the outer tissues of the vagina and causes intense itching. Usually, vaginal yeast infections are accompanied by a burning sensation during urination. Sometimes pain during sexual intercourse can be a sign of a yeast infection, but this isn’t as common with vaginal yeast infections as it is with other vaginal infections. If a vaginal infection is not treated quickly, the itching can cause swelling and lesions in the vaginal area.
Oral candidiasis is also known as thrush. As the name suggests, this is an infection of the mouth and symptoms can be seen anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, palate, and cheeks. Thrush causes thick, white patches on the surfaces of the mouth that can resemble milk curds, but these white patches cannot be wiped away as easily as milk can. Thrush can cause a tickling feeling on the affected areas, but more often the infection is painful and can make it difficult to eat. Thrush is most common in newborns and infants, but can affect anyone. Adults that are most prone to yeast infections are those with an impaired immune system. It is important to use a gentle treatment when treating thrush because a harsh treatment can cause the surface of the affected skin to bleed and worsen the infection.
Skin yeast infections are extremely itchy. Yeast infections typically will not go away on their own and will need some sort of treatment, but a skin yeast infection can be spread by scratching. It will continue to spread until treatment is started. This type of rash is characterized by a raised, red patch of skin with intense itching. As the infection spreads, the raised, red patch of skin will also get larger. If not treated as quickly as possible, the intense itching can cause bleeding as the scratching gets worse. Open wounds can make the recovery time take longer as well as risk the yeast getting into the blood stream. When yeast gets into the blood stream, it can cause nausea, diarrhea, and fever, and eventually cause sharp changes in mental function or behavior.
While yeast infections are very common and are nothing to get stressed out about, it is important to treat them as quickly as possible. They can become complicated if ignored, but are very easily treated and can heal very quickly. (Okay, you can resume your lunch now.)