Of all the various horrible injustices in the world, it can often feel as though there is no injustice greater than that of having a yeast infection.
This probably isn’t fair. There are many things that, if we are going to be super technical, are far worse than a yeast infection–ISIS, for example–but if you’ve ever had a yeast infection, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Besides, yeast infections themselves don’t seem to be playing particularly fair, either. There’s the itching. The smell. The horrible amount of discharge that cannot be ignored. The weird burning sensation that happens when you pee. Having a vagina in, like, its regular state is hard enough, so to add an overgrowth of literal yeast into the mix can seem almost unbearable.
But the only thing worse than a yeast infection is having a yeast infection and not knowing that it’s there. Yeast infections are easily treatable–all it takes is an antifungal pill or cream–but it’s easy to guess wrong about them, too, so your best bet is to see a doctor if you suspect anything is up. If you’re pretty sure you have a yeast infection, though, and you want to double-check before going to going to a doctor, check out these common signs of a yeast infection to be sure:
Itching And Inflammation In The VaginaItchiness, irritation, and inflammation are some of the main symptoms of a yeast infection. And, if you feel any of these things, chances are good that you'll probably know something's up right away, since itching and irritation are never good things to feel down there. Image source: iStock
External Redness And IrritationIn addition to the itch, you might also notice redness and flakiness on your vulva, which is the skin outside of your vagina. If this happens to you a lot, make sure you're wearing cotton underwear and looser-fitting clothes--non-breathable underwear and clothing are one of the main causes of yeast infections, since it creates a moist, warm atmosphere that yeast thrives in. Image source: iStock
Super-Thick DischargeAs in, discharge from your vagina that looks like cottage cheese--as in, white, clumpy, and thick. (Sorry. I don't make the rules.) This discharge is usually odorless (or smells like bread because, you know, yeast), and sometimes appears watery instead of thick and clumpy. Again, you'll definitely know if this discharge is something you should be paying attention to--it'll look different from your regular discharge and be accompanied by some or all of the other yeast infection symptoms. Image source: iStock
A Burning Sensation Down ThereWhen you pee. Or have sex. Or put a tampon in when you're on your period. Since a yeast infection means that your vagina is swollen and irritated, it makes sense that anything that passes through it while there's a yeast infection going on might feel painful. None of these things should feel painful, so if you're noticing a definite burning sensation when it's happening, see a doctor. Image source: iStock
A Rash Around Your VaginaIf you have any kind of rash around your vagina, that probably feels a little scary. But if it's accompanied by a bunch of the other symptoms on this list, there's a good chance that it means a yeast infection, since diaper rash-type irritations are one of its most common symptoms. (Particularly if you've had the infection for a while.) Visit a doctor! They'll be able to tell you what the rash is for sure and prescribe you something to get rid of it quickly. Image source: iStock
Being On AntibioticsObviously, being on antibiotics doesn't automatically mean that you have a yeast infection. But if you have some of the other symptoms, and you're on antibiotics (or have been recently), that's a pretty good sign that you probably have a yeast infection, since the antibiotics can kill good bacteria that keeps yeast in check in your vagina. So, keep track of antibiotics that your doctor is prescribing you--if you're noticing itching and burning down there shortly after getting over strep throat, that could very well be a yeast infection. Image source: iStock
Feeling All The Symptoms...In Your MouthYeast infections: not just for your vagina! Vaginal yeast infections are probably the most talked about--and the most feared--type of yeast infection, but it can also happen in your mouth. The good news? This--which is commonly referred to as "oral thrush"--mainly affects older adults and young kids, so chances are good that it won't happen to you anytime soon. Still, it's important to remember that yeast infections aren't vagina-exclusive--so, if you notice painful white bumps in your mouth that really hurt when you accidentally touch them, that could be a yeast infection in your mouth. To be sure, visit a doctor! Oral yeast infections are just as treatable as vaginal ones. Image source: iStock
Have you ever had a yeast infection? Do you agree that it’s one of the worst things in the world? Let us know in the comments!