Most women are likely to experience a vaginal yeast infection at least once during their lives. The infection causes multiple symptoms, including a thick, white discharge, itching, and a burning sensation. Although the treatment is simple, you should consult a healthcare provider if you suspect that you have a yeast infection. The symptoms share many similarities with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other vaginal infections. A serious infection, if left untreated after being mistaken for a yeast infection, can be injurious to health.
Signs and Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infection
Itchiness inside the vagina or in the vulva is the most frequently occurring symptom of a vaginal yeast infection.
Some other symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are:
- Painful intercourse
- Painful urination
- Redness, swelling, or burning in the vagina or the vulva
- Thick, white, odorless, cottage cheese-like discharge
You may have one or more of these symptoms. The degree of severity of the symptoms can vary.
What Should You Do If You Suspect That You Have a Yeast Infection?
If you think you may have a yeast infection, consult your healthcare provider. The only way to confirm that you have a yeast infection and not something more serious is by talking to a professional.
The symptoms of conditions such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be very similar to those of a yeast infection. BV and STIs should be treated promptly because they can increase susceptibility to other STIs such as HIV and can make it difficult to get pregnant. Bacterial vaginosis can also cause complications during pregnancy, such as premature birth.
Your healthcare provider may perform a pelvic exam to test for swellings and discharge. The provider may take a sample of the vaginal discharge using a cotton swab. A lab technician will then screen for overgrowth of Candida, the fungus responsible for yeast infection, through microscopic examination of the sample.