Vaginal yeast infections are fungal infections that can cause a variety of difficult, uncomfortable symptoms. If you have experienced one before, you know just how intense the discomfort can be. Its impacts can extend further than just your personal health. Common symptoms of yeast infections can affect your daily routine, social calendar, and overall quality of life if left untreated.
According to the Mayo Clinic, three out of four women will experience a yeast infection at some point in their lives. Below, we’ll cover five of the most common symptoms of a yeast infection, and what you can do to find relief.
Common Symptoms of Yeast Infections
Symptom 1: Itching and Irritation
One of the tell-tale signs of a yeast infection is intense itching and irritation around the vagina and vulva. As you know, this is quite a sensitive part of the body, and as a result, itching in this area can often lead to much more serious discomfort as compared to fungal infections on other parts of the body.
Normally, a healthy vagina contains balanced levels of both good and bad bacteria and some yeast cells. However, when this balance changes, yeast cells have a tendency to multiply. As a result, the multiplication of the yeast cells then causes the vagina and vulva to swell, irritating the skin, and causing the itching sensation that so commonly accompanies yeast infections.
Symptom 2: Vaginal Discharge
Discharge alone does not mean automatically mean you have yeast infection. A certain amount of discharge is normal, especially during ovulation, but there are also many STIs and other issues that can cause an overproduction of vaginal discharge or changes in consistency, color, smell, frequency, etc.
The primary indicator of a yeast infection stems from the color and consistency of said discharge.
In most cases, vaginal discharge from a yeast infection is thick, white, and odor-free. Often, it has a thick, almost chunky consistency, which is a direct result of the yeast cells multiplying uncontrollably within the vaginal microbiome.
Symptom 3: Pain During Urination
Another sign that you may be experiencing a yeast infection is pain during urination. This can be quite intense, and manifests as a burning sensation when urine makes contact with the irritated membrane of the urethra.
As yeast cells multiply, the same mechanisms that trigger the itching of the vagina and vulva can eventually lead to inflammation in the skin and protective membranes located around your groin area. The pain occurs when the urethra also becomes inflamed from the infection, and then interacts with the urine from your bladder.
What You Can Do
First and foremost, if you are experiencing symptoms of a yeast infection, you should go see a doctor. Nobody knows your body, understands its symptoms, and can properly diagnose issues such as yeast infections as well as a trained medical practitioner.
Once you have the proper medication and professional guidance, the next step is to take care of your body on a daily basis. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, avoiding activities such as using hot tubs, unnecessary antibiotic use, and tight-fitting clothing, and taking a daily probiotic to support a balanced gut can all help promote vaginal health.
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