Although yeast may appear to be an innocent-sounding substance that helps your bread rise, it is actually a fungus.
Fungi come in a variety of forms. In this case, diseases cause infections, such as vaginal candidiasis, often known as a yeast infection, which we’ll discuss today.
We can assist you if you are concerned about yeast infections and want to know how to recognize one before seeing a doctor. We shall discuss the infection’s definition and symptoms in this blog.
What Causes Yeast Infections?
Yeast infections, specifically vaginal yeast infections, are caused by a fungus called Candida albicans.
It is a fungus that acts very peculiarly. It is classified as a dimorphic fungus, which translates into two forms. This feature is also known as dimorphism.
One form, known as the mold form, occurs when the temperature is ambient, 25 degrees. This form is usually present in and around your house, especially when the temperature feels comfortable and cozy.
The other form is the yeast form, which is the form it takes when exposed to body temperature. Vaginal yeast infection symptoms are usually presented in this form.
This is also one of the most common infections in sexually active individuals, specifically women. At least 75 percent of women experience a vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lifetime.
What are the Different Types of Yeast Infections?
There are multiple infections caused by yeast, specifically the yeast or fungus Candida albicans. They are majorly classified as:
Infection of the mucosal layer of the body: This class includes vulvovaginitis, or vaginal infection in women, balanoposthitis in men, and oral candidiasis, or thrush, in both sexes.
Infection of the skin: This class includes nails, hair follicles, and diaper infections and is commonly observed in babies.
Invasive infections: This class includes infections of the body’s major systems, such as uterine tract infections, lung or pulmonary infections of yeast, and meningitis.
Allergic infections: This class includes infections caused not by yeast as an organism but by allergic reactions when a person with low immunity comes into contact with yeast, such as eczema.
What are the Most Common Early Vaginal Yeast Infection Symptoms?
Among yeast infections, vaginal infections are the most widespread among women. More awareness is needed.
Hence, we have based this article on the same to help you identify some very common and easily identifiable yeast infections. So, the common early vaginal yeast infection symptoms in women may be classified into common signs and other less common symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infections
Most women present with these symptoms.
1. Pruritis or vaginal itching:
It is caused due to irritated skin due to yeast secretions. Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis, caused by the vulva and the vagina infection, presents with severe itching and discomfort.
It is one of the most common and important yeast infection symptoms.
2. Burning sensation when urinating:
As with any infection of the pelvic floor, it is very common for women, especially those who present with symptoms of burning sensation or burning urination.
It is the easiest and most easily identifiable vaginal yeast infection symptom.
Women present with a curdy white vaginal discharge. The color may vary to a light yellow discharge. It may also be described as having a cottage cheese appearance. The vaginal discharge may be foul-smelling in some women, while others may present with non-foul-smelling vaginal discharge; this variation may be due to other opportunistic infections.
This is considered one of the most classic yeast infection symptoms in women.
4. Redness and swelling in the vulva:
The vulva is a sensitive and highly vascularized part of the pelvic floor. The irritation caused by pruritis due to yeast infection causes redness and discomfort in the vulva.
5. Vaginal pain and soreness:
Due to the inflammatory reaction caused by the yeast infection, the vagina becomes inflamed, causing pain and soreness. This causes severe discomfort in performing basic day-to-day activities such as walking. It is fairly common and may be considered an important vaginal yeast infection symptom.
6. Pain during intercourse:
One of the key features of any inflammatory condition of the pelvic floor, especially in women, is pain during intercourse in otherwise normal conditions. Exceptions to this may include cases of vaginismus or spasm of the vagina.
But in most sexually active women who don’t experience pain, this is an important identification of vaginal yeast infection symptoms.
7. Vaginal rash:
An unusual rash or sore, sudden in origin that may be painful or painless, is important in identifying vaginal yeast infection symptoms.
What Causes Most Yeast Infections?
Yeast infections can be caused for many reasons, such as;
1. Bad hygiene practices:
In both men and women, when there is no importance to maintaining the hygiene of genitals, yeast infections become regular guests.
People who do not wash their underwear frequently do not wash their genitals with mild soap and water at least twice a day, and women who do not maintain period hygiene are most affected by this infection.
2. Loss of the ideal vaginal pH
Since vaginal yeast infection occurs most commonly in women, it is important to know that the vagina maintains an acidic pH of around 3.8 to 4.5.
When this pH is disturbed, it leads to a higher risk of vaginal yeast infection.
3. Unprotected Intercourse:
Yeast infections in men commonly occur as a sexually transmitted infection. It is because women are more prone to yeast infections. In unprotected sex, specifically in uncircumcised men, this is common.
4. Immunocompromised states:
Health conditions that lead to a weak immune system are very important risk factors for yeast infection.
Pathological conditions such as HIV or AIDS cause yeast infections in both sexes, while physiological conditions such as pregnancy cause an immunocompromised state, leading to yeast infections in pregnant women.
5. Long-term antibiotic therapy:
Taking antibiotics, specifically broad-spectrum antibiotics causes yeast infections. It is because broad-spectrum antibiotics reduce natural immunity in the body.
6. Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus:
Diabetes mellitus is a very important disease that alters normal body physiology. Especially when left uncontrolled, the hyperglycemia states of the body promote infections and poor wound healing.
This is one of the leading risk factors for getting vaginal yeast infections. This may also increase the risk of recurrent infections.
7. Hormonal imbalances:
Hormonal imbalances caused by excessive use of birth control pills/morning-after drugs, hormone therapy, or hormonal contraceptives improperly lead to an increased risk of vaginal infection.
It occurs because hormones like estrogen and progesterone are steroids. They reduce immunity in abnormal amounts. A weakened immune system leads to infections.
How Is a Yeast Infection Treated?
Your doctor would usually start with a physical examination of the site of infection. Most vaginal yeast infections are required a pelvic exam. After this, you may be asked to provide blood or urine samples, and your doctor may take a swab for culture and sensitivity testing.
It is important to provide your healthcare provider with accurate medical history. This helps assess precisely the underlying reason that is causing symptoms.
Once your culture and sensitivity testing come back with a positive fungal culture for Candida fungus, then a vaginal yeast infection is diagnosed.
Your doctor will prescribe oral medications and antifungal creams to treat your candida infection. You may also be advised to use tea tree oil to temporarily reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms.
Oral treatment medications usually combine multiple antifungal medications to avoid any systemic complicated yeast infection.
The antifungal cream helps with physical lesions such as sores or rashes. Your doctor may also provide medical advice to maintain personal and genital hygiene to prevent the risk of recurrent yeast infections.
These were the most common early yeast symptoms, associated management, and treatment. Please contact a medical professional if you experience any yeast infection symptoms. Do not resort to home remedies.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some uncommon symptoms of vaginal yeast infection?
A smaller percentage of women present with these symptoms.
Fever: Fever is not considered one of the common yeast infection symptoms. Some people with weakened immune systems may present fever as a common vaginal yeast infection symptom.
Fatigue: Tiredness or fatigue is not one of the common vaginal yeast infection symptoms. This may occur in weak individuals or those with low immunity.
Abdominal pain: a yeast infection does not commonly translate into abdominal pain. This may occur due to a long-standing untreated infection.
2. Does Yeast Infection Symptoms affect Men (Known as ):
Yes, it does affect men. It is called Balanoposthitis.
Rashes or pus-filled lesions: The most common yeast infection symptoms are small, clumpy, white, pus-filled lesions. These rashes grow around the penis and cause pain.
Severe itch or pruritis: Men may present with inflammation and a severe itching sensation on the penis, scrotum, and skin folds of the groin. The skin may turn flaky and white (not to be confused with the dryness of the skin).
Inflammation of the foreskin with discharge: Men may also produce white, curry, or cottage cheese-like discharge n consistency, which presents with inflamed foreskin. This is one of the more common yeast infection symptoms in men.
There is pain during intercourse and burning urination: This is one of the most common yeast infection symptoms in men and women.
Diarrhea or associated gut symptoms: Loose stools, which may progress to diarrhea, are less common yeast infection symptoms in men.
Don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned earlier.
3. Can I use home remedies to treat vaginal yeast infections since yeast infections are common?
NO. Please contact your physician or another healthcare professional to receive treatment. You cannot safely or effectively use over-the-counter antifungal medications. Due to the possibility of recurrent yeast infections being increased by creams, many women experience vaginal infections.
It’s crucial to note other severe illnesses resembling vaginal candidiasis, like bacterial vaginosis. Please contact a medical professional to control such contagious infections since only a skilled doctor would be able to recognize the same.
4. How Can I Prevent Yeast Infections in the Future?
You can prevent yeast infections by
Maintaining good hygiene
Yeast infection cannot thrive on healthy tissue.
For men, please ensure you use only clean undergarments and wash your genitals with warm water.
For women, never use bleach or harsh chemicals on their vaginal area.
Never use scented soaps and other over-the-counter “vaginal washes” to help prevent vaginal yeast infections. Also, avoid extremely tight-fitting clothing for longer hours that do not allow proper movement or ventilation.
Avoiding unprotected sex: When you’re affected by a sexually transmitted infection, your chances of contracting a yeast infection increase. Always use a condom.
Maintain gut health: Your gut is home to a diverse flora of healthy bacteria that help you digest certain foods and provide your body with otherwise impossible-to-produce nutrients. Maintain this flora by consuming probiotic foods and drinks such as kombucha and Yakult. This flora helps prevent the complications of yeast infections.
Protect your immune system: Your immune system is your first line of defence. Make sure you eat healthily and maintain good hygiene to help your body fight infections.
Use boric acid: In your shoes and the damp, clammy corners of your house to prevent the development of fungal spores in your home. This helps avoid fungal infections.