Yeast Infection

Symptoms of a Yeast Infection

The most frequent yeast infection symptoms in women are itching, burning, and irritation of the vagina. Painful urination and painful intercourse also are common.
Vaginal discharge is not always present, and may only occur in small amounts. The thick, whitish-gray discharge is typically described as cottage cheese-like, although it can vary from watery to thick. Most male partners of women with yeast infections do not have any symptoms. Some men, however, have reported temporary rashes and burning sensations of the penis after intercourse if they did not use condoms.

Diagnosing a Yeast Infection

Because few specific signs and symptoms are usually present, healthcare providers cannot diagnose a yeast infection simply by a person's medical history and physical examination. They usually diagnose a yeast infection by examining vaginal secretions under a microscope for evidence of yeast.

Treatment Options for a Yeast Infection

Various antifungal vaginal medicines are available to treat yeast infections. Women can buy antifungal creams to be applied directly to the area, tablets to be taken orally, or suppositories (butoconazole, miconazole, clotrimazole, and tioconazole) for use in the vagina. Because bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and yeast infection are difficult to tell apart on the basis of symptoms alone, a woman with vaginal symptoms should see her healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis before using these products.
Other products available over-the-counter contain antihistamines or topical anesthetics that only mask the symptoms and do not treat the underlying infection.
Women who have chronic or recurring yeast infections may need to be treated with vaginal creams or oral medicines for long periods of time.
HIV-infected women may have severe yeast infections that often do not respond to treatment.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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