Vaginal Yeast Infection Symptoms
Yeast infections of all kinds tend to develop in areas of the body where conditions are most favorable for yeast and mold to reproduce easily. Yeast and fungus thrive in moist conditions, so damp folds of the body are usually more prone to infections and outbreaks, including:
- the mouth and throat
- vaginal itching
- vaginal discharge thats white, thick, clumpy and odorless
- slight bleeding
- vaginal pain, especially during intercourse or during menstruation
- pain when going to the bathroom or when urinating
- sometimes a slight smell thats unusual
Usually, yeast infections are obvious and somewhat uncomfortable, especially if left untreated, and the symptoms continue to worsen. However, some people dont realize they have a vaginal yeast infection or mistake it for another problem, like a urinary tract infection, side effects from birth control pills or irregular periods, or a sexually transmitted disease, for example.
When candida yeast multiplies, its capable of spreading to different parts of the body and causing all types of problems. Just like you can experience a vaginal yeast infection caused by overgrowth of Candida albicans in the genitals, candida virus can take over your digestive system too. This is like a form of an internal digestive yeast infection and causes symptoms such as fatigue, digestive upset, changes in appetite or food cravings.
When To Contact A Healthcare Provider About A Yeast Infection
Many women who have had several yeast infections can tell that their symptoms indicate a yeast infection. But those who are experiencing symptoms for the first time should see their healthcare provider for an appropriate diagnosis . Other women who should contact their healthcare provider include:
- Those with 4 or more yeast infections per year
- Women who may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease
- Women with certain conditions such as diabetes, or who are immunocompromised from certain medications or conditions like HIV or cancer
- Women who have not had success with OTC treatments
Home Remedies For Yeast Infection
Mild yeast infections often clear up in a few days. More severe or recurrent yeast infections can take up to two weeks to heal completely. If you are experiencing yeast infection symptoms for more than three days, talk to a healthcare provider. Also see a doctor if you are pregnant, have chronic yeast infections, have symptoms related to an STD, or are unsure if you have a yeast infection.
On the other hand, if you have mild symptoms and want some relief, certain home remedies may help. Heres a breakdown of what may help and what doesnt seem to work.
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When Should I Make An Appointment To See My Provider
The first time you experience the symptoms of a yeast infection, you should see your doctor to rule out any other conditions. Even if youve had a yeast infection before, you should consult your physician if the condition isnt improving despite using medication, or if you experience four or more yeast infections per year. You might need something stronger than whats available over-the-counter. Finally, if your discharge has a bad odor, if you have a fever, or if you have other serious medical problems, you should definitely seek medical attention.
Can A Yeast Infection Be Prevented
You can prevent some yeast infections by doing these things:
- Use good oral hygiene to help prevent yeast infection in your mouth . This includes brushing and flossing your teeth every day and using mouthwash as needed.
- Wear cotton underwear to help to prevent a vaginal or genital yeast infection. If you are a woman and get vaginal yeast infections often, you may want to take probiotics.
- Keep areas where skin rubs up against skin dry and try to reduce friction.
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Does My Sexual Partner Need To Be Treated If I Have A Vaginal Yeast Infection
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Yeast infections are a very common fungal infection that most women or people assigned female at birth will have in their lifetime. Its highly treatable with medication, some of which are available to purchase at your local drug store without a prescription. Even though you may know the signs of a vaginal yeast infection, its important to get examined by your healthcare provider. They can recommend the best treatment based on the type of yeast infection you have and its severity.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/02/2022.
How To Get Rid Of A Yeast Infection
If youre a woman, youve got a pretty good chance of experiencing a yeast infection at some point in your lifetime. Vaginal yeast infection, or candidiasis, is a very common condition and can cause skin rashes, itchiness and irritation, and strange-looking discharges. It can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable condition to have, but luckily, its very treatable and typically goes away in just a few days with medications. Knowing the symptoms and what to look for are important to be able to diagnose and treat them quickly. Below are answers to some common questions about yeast infections.
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What Happens If A Yeast Infection Is Left Untreated
Start treating a yeast infection as quickly as possible. The wait and see approach will likely just make your yeast infection worse, with redness, itching, and inflammation all over the genital region. Open sores and cracked skin could occur, which could turn into a skin infection. Then, when you do treat it, the infection could take much longer than if you had initially treated it. Untreated yeast infections can also pass between sexual partners, cause complications in pregnant women, and could pass to the baby during childbirth.
Women who get yeast infections on a regular basis may benefit from keeping treatment at home, so it is ready to use when needed.
When To Contact A Doctor
Most home remedies bring relief within a few days. Some may take up to 1 week.
If your infection goes away with treatment but then returns, contact a doctor for advice. You may need a prescription-strength treatment to get rid of the infection for good.
Follow these tips to help prevent future yeast infections.
- Limit the amount of sugar and processed foods you consume. Yeast thrives on sugar.
- Wear loose-fitting, cotton underwear.
- Dont spend extended periods of time in wet clothes or bathing suits. Yeast grows in warm, moist environments.
- Only use antibiotics when necessary.
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The Real Underlying Causes Of Vaginal Yeast Infections
At any given time, many millions of yeast live within, and on the surface of, your body. Its estimated that among these microorganisms, several hundred different types of yeast exist, which take up residence mostly in damp places throughout the body. While most yeast pose no threat at all to your health, a small percentage of yeast cultures are potentially harmful and capable of causing infections.
While common species of yeast especially thrive in places like the mouth, throat, nose, intestines and armpits, if you were to look under a microscope, youd find that theyre always present all over the body and on the skin of most humans and animals. Yeast also live within our digestive systems, specifically in the internal lining of the bowel.
This is completely normal and, in fact, beneficial in some ways, since certain types of yeast help ensure that we have regular, normal poop! This is even true of candida yeast, which we all have in amounts that normally dont cause any trouble when they dont multiply rapidly and begin to crowd out other bacteria and microbes.
So where do things go wrong, and how does an infection develop?
When someone has a strong immune system that works properly, shes able to maintain a balance between all different strains of microbes, allowing them to fight candida the natural way and stay healthy before a problem starts.
The odds of developing a vaginal yeast infection are highest:
It Can Infect Other Parts Of Your Body For Example The Throat Brain Eyes Skin And Esophagus
Other complications of untreated vaginal yeast infections are infections in other parts of your body.
Some of these other parts include the throat, brain, eyes, skin, and esophagus.
If left unchecked, the presence of these other infections can lead to more severe health problems in your body and make it harder to treat them.
If left untreated for a long period of time, yeast infections can even weaken your immune system to the point where you can develop serious diseases such as HIV or possibly diabetes.
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Yeast Infection In Pregnancy
Yeast infections are common during pregnancy because of hormone fluctuations. See a doctor if youre pregnant and suspect a yeast infection so you can get the right diagnosis.
A yeast infection during pregnancy isnt always treated in the same way as nonpregnant women are treated. You wont be able to take oral antifungal medications due to possible birth defects. Topical antifungals are safe to use during pregnancy, though.
diagnosis from a doctor. This ensures that your symptoms are related to Candida overgrowth and not a more serious condition.
Your doctor will first conduct a pelvic exam, noting any visible discharge, redness, and swelling. They will ask you about other symptoms such as burning and painful urination.
If needed, your doctor might order a vaginal fluid test. They will first collect a sample of vaginal discharge with a cotton swab, which will then be sent to a lab for study under a microscope. Once your doctor has determined its a fungal infection or another type of infection they will then be able to prescribe the correct treatment.
How Is A Yeast Infection Treated
Yeast infections are usually treated with antifungal medicine. See your doctor or nurse to make sure that you have a vaginal yeast infection and not another type of infection.
Your doctor or nurse can also give you a single dose of antifungal medicine taken by mouth, such as fluconazole . If you get more than four vaginal yeast infections a year, or if your yeast infection doesn’t go away after using over-the-counter treatment, you may need to take regular doses of antifungal medicine for up to six months.
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What Is A Yeast Infection
Different parts of your body, including your mouth, moist parts of your skin, and your digestive tract, contain a natural balance of yeast, candida albicans , and bacteria. Most of the time, this balance remains in check, with the good bacteria in your body keeping your candida levels under control. But when the balance of candida, yeast, and bacteria are off, candida can overgrow in these areas and cause a yeast infection to occur. If left untreated a yeast infection could take up to two weeks to go away and may end up returning.
Yeast Infection And Periods
Having both a yeast infection and your period can feel like a double whammy. However, this isnt uncommon. Yeast infections are most likely to occur in women during the final days leading up to their period.
If you experience white to yellow discharge in the week before your period, this isnt automatically a yeast infection unless you have other hallmark symptoms, too, such as redness, burning, and itchiness.
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Identifying A Yeast Infection
How To Self Treat A Yeast Infection: Heres What Works
Some of the most popular home remedies for a yeast infection are listed below.
This reduces the chances of it growing and spreading.
Repeat two times a day for a week.
If youre not fond of garlic, you can also try eating yogurt with live cultures or taking a spoon of probiotic yogurt in your mouth and eating it.
Eating coconut oil gives you a lot of health benefits.
First of all, its high in unsaturated fats, which are good for your health.
Second, coconut oil has some antifungal properties that help fight yeast.
To apply coconut oil, boil a few sesame seeds or garlic cloves and place them in a pan with just a small amount of coconut oil.
This natural antifungal is found mostly in Australia, but it is available worldwide.
You can either buy pure tea tree oil or you can buy probiotic supplements that contain it.
Take a spoonful of it three times daily after meals.
If youre allergic to garlic, you can also try consuming tarragon and oregano, which are also antifungal agents.
There are many other types of antifungals that you can try just take a look around your kitchen at what you can do!
Plain Yogurtis the perfect food for treating a yeast infection.
It contains lactobacilli, which are helpful bacteria that fight off yeast.
For best results, you should eat yogurt with live cultures instead of adding sugar, vinegar, or sugar substitutes because these ingredients will only make the problem worse.
These supplements are made from live microorganisms .
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Can A Yeast Infection Go Away On Its Own
Mild versions of yeast infections have the chance of going away on their own, explains Dr. Sonpal. However, it is not recommended to ignore a yeast infection because it is most likely to return if not medically treated.
While some individuals may choose to try home remedies for yeast infection or over-the-counter treatments, there are certain people who should visit the doctor when they have symptoms of a yeast infection. These patients include:
- Those who have recurring yeast infections
- Those who were possibly exposed to a sexually transmitted disease
- Women who are unsure if their symptoms are from a yeast infection
- Women who do not have success with home remedies or over-the-counter medicines
- Patients with uncontrolled diabetes or a weakened immune system due to certain medications or conditions such as HIV
Can I Get A Yeast Infection From Breastfeeding
Yes. Yeast infections can happen on your nipples or in your breast from breastfeeding. Yeast thrive on milk and moisture. A yeast infection you get while breastfeeding is different from a vaginal yeast infection. However, it is caused by an overgrowth of the same fungus.
Symptoms of thrush during breastfeeding include:
- Sore nipples that last more than a few days, especially after several weeks of pain-free breastfeeding
- Flaky, shiny, itchy, or cracked nipples
- Deep pink and blistered nipples
- Shooting pain in the breast during or after feedings
If you have any of these signs or symptoms or think your baby might have thrush in his or her mouth, call your doctor. Learn more about thrush in our Breastfeeding section.
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Stopping The Oral Thrush Cycle
Like the genital area, Candida is naturally occurring inside your mouth. But if Candida levels get out of control, you may develop thrush.
Symptoms include thick, white lesions that grow on the insides of the cheeks, tongue, and back of the throat. You may also have an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in your mouth. This can cause difficulty eating and swallowing.
Oral thrush tends to be more common in people with weakened immune systems, such as:
- people who have an autoimmune disorder
Wearing dentures or taking antibiotics can also lead to Candida overgrowth in your mouth.
Oral thrush is easily treatable. It involves taking antifungal medication taken by mouth.
Poor oral hygiene can lead to recurring thrush infections. Chronic oral thrush can also occur in babies who need to continue breastfeeding.
Ways to cut down on chronic oral thrush include the following:
- Replace your toothbrush or any mouth gear after an active oral thrush infection so you dont re-infect yourself.
- Clean and sterilize retainers and other dental gear like dentures, mouthguards, and water flossers. Consider consulting a dentist or doctor for tips.
- For babies with oral thrush, both mom and baby need to receive treatment. Having the household take preventive measures at the same time is also important.
Its also possible to develop a throat and esophageal yeast infection. Mucocutaneous candidiasis is behind this type of yeast infection. It affects the mucous membranes in the throat and esophagus.
Should I Call My Doctor Or Nurse If I Think I Have A Yeast Infection
Yes. Seeing your doctor or nurse is the only way to know for sure if you have a yeast infection and not a more serious type of infection.
The signs and symptoms of a yeast infection are a lot like symptoms of other more serious infections, such as STIs and bacterial vaginosis . If left untreated, STIs and BV raise your risk of getting other STIs, including HIV, and can lead to problems getting pregnant. BV can also lead to problems during pregnancy, such as premature delivery.
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