How Do I Know If I Have a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Spotting a vaginal yeast infection can be tricky. There are symptoms that resemble other infections, numerous potential causes, and sometimes there are no symptoms at all. So how do you even know if you have one?
What is a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Yeast infections are caused by the fungus Candida. Typically, yeast keeps your vagina clean. However, when the composition inside the vagina changes due to the growth of Candida, this creates an imbalance in the vagina and causes an infection. Simple enough, right? This means that pretty much all women can get a vaginal yeast infection. In fact, three out of four women experience at least one during their lives.
What May Be Causing a Yeast Infection?
While not always the case, a yeast infection can also spread by sexual activity. However, there are a number of factors that can cause an imbalance of yeast. For instance:
- Hormonal changes, either by using antibiotics or having your period
- Becoming pregnant
- Living with diabetes
- Douching or using scented soaps
- Wearing tight pants
- Not washing after you sweat, often after sex or exercise
How to Know If You Might Have a Yeast Infection
As we mentioned above, symptoms can sometimes resemble other infections or ailments. Because of this, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if you have a yeast infection or if your symptoms are a sign of something else. If symptoms do occur, they may include any the following:
- A thick, white vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese but doesn’t have an odor.
- Itching, burning, and/or redness and swelling in and around the vagina. The more you itch, the more severe your irritation can get.
- Pain during sex
- Discomfort when urinating
In order to relieve these yeast infection symptoms, the infection must be diagnosed and treated. Sometimes treatment can be as simple as an antibiotic or a topical cream.
Testing: The Only Way to Know for Sure
While it is helpful to recognize the signs of a vaginal yeast infection mentioned above, some yeast infections do not show any visible symptoms at all. The only way to truly know if you have an infection is to be tested.
Luckily, the testing process doesn’t have to be a headache like it used to be. In fact, you can now use an at-home testing kit to screen yourself without even leaving your home. myLAB Box has two testing solutions that will allow you to take control of your health.
- An individual test kit for Yeast/Candida.
- V-Box– the most comprehensive test kit available for screening common causes of abnormal vaginal discharge. This five-panel test kit screens for yeast/Candida as well as for bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis.
Reviewed by Luis Ferdinand M. Papa, MD, MHA