What are the common symptoms of a yeast infection?
Sometimes the symptoms of a yeast infection are only slightly annoying. But even when they cause you a lot of discomfort, they're usually not serious and most are simple to treat.
The most common symptoms that women experience are:
- Vaginal and labial itching.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge that is odourless and can range from a slightly watery, white discharge to a thick, white, curd-like discharge.
- Pain and/or burning during sexual intercourse.
- Redness and swelling in the vaginal area.
Of course, it's important to differentiate between symptoms caused by a yeast infection and those caused by other vaginal infections. So if you have any doubt about your symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Symptoms that aren't caused by yeast infections
Some conditions can cause similar symptoms to a vaginal yeast infection (VYI). Both bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted infection) share most of the common symptoms of VYIs. The main difference with both of these conditions is the discharge associated with them.
Bacterial vaginosis often produces a thin greyish-white discharge that smells "fishy," while trichomoniasis produces a yellowish-green discharge that also smells unusual. Both of these conditions are relatively easy to treat if you see your doctor.
However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately, as they could be signs of a more serious condition:
- foul-smelling discharge
- abdominal pain
- pain upon urination
- unexplained pain in your lower back or either shoulder
What should I do if my symptoms return?
Many women experience infections that come back. If your yeast infection returns within 2 months of finishing treatment, or if you have more than 4 yeast infections in a year, see your doctor†. It's important to rule out underlying health problems that may make you more susceptible.
It could also be possible that you have a complicated yeast infection that needs to be treated more aggressively with antifungal medication under the care of a doctor.
†Public Health Agency of Canada