The Most Common Yeast Infection Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Photographed by Ashley Armitage.
Chances are if you have a vagina, you’ve experienced all different kinds of discharge, discomfort, and other lovely irritations over the course of a lifetime. And often, those annoyances are the result of a yeast infection.
About 75% of all women will have a yeast infection at least once in their life, with 40-45% being graced with multiple occurrences, according to WebMD.
Dr. Laura A. Carinci, an OBGYN at NYU Langone, says that with any type of pain, discomfort or abnormalities when it comes to your vagina, it’s vital to listen to your body.
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“The bottom line is any discharge that is persistent, or any symptom that is not going away within a few days, or getting worse, you need to get it checked out so you know what you’re dealing with,” Dr. Carinici says.
And while yeast infection symptoms will vary, if you’re experiencing any of the following, it’s definitely wise to take note and, if they persist for days on end, schedule a trip to the gyno.
1.) Your vagina itches and burns
Okay, so chances are that occasional and annoying itching and burning is a normal occurrence. But when you have a yeast infection, it’s usually incessant and unignorable. If it’s so distracting that you can’t think of anything else, see a doctor.
2.) Your vulva is swollen and red
Everyone’s vagina can be sensitive from time to time, but when you have a yeast infection the vulva may be swollen and red, and it may get worse as the days go on. The sensitivity may also cause pain while you pee which just isn’t fun for anyone.
3.) Your discharge looks like cottage cheese
One of the most recognizable signs of a yeast infection is thick, white, odorless discharge that resembles cottage cheese. Again, occasional discharge is most likely a normal thing for people with vaginas, but if you suddenly find cottage cheese in your undies, it’s most likely an infection.
4.) You're having pain during sex
All of the above symptoms can contribute to painful sex, but it’s also possible to experience pain during penetration without other symptoms due to a yeast infection. Again, the main factor in most of these situations is persistent symptoms that can’t be ignored and aren’t going away.
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A quick Google search will lead you down a rabbit hole of various home remedies and solutions for a self-diagnosed yeast infection. While Carinci says that some of this can be helpful, like taking a probiotic, the research doesn’t back up the claims just yet.
And when it comes to grabbing a quick over-the-counter medication versus taking the time to meet with your gyno, Carinci says that a lot of it comes down to your own personal experience with yeast infections.
“Any woman who really has never experienced anything like the symptoms that they’re having, if they’re not something that’s been diagnosed by a physician before, probably would do better seeing a physician first,” Carinci said.
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