Also known as vaginal candidiasis, yeast infections are caused by a fungus. It generally causes your vagina and vulva (the tissues at the opening of the vagina) to itch. You may also have a discharge.
Yeast infections are common. Three of every four women get one in their lifetime. And many women have more than one.
Knowing how to spot the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection can help you get the most effective treatment.
Common Symptoms in Women
- A burning feeling, especially when you urinate or during sex
- Swelling and redness around your vulva
- Pain and soreness in your vagina
- A vaginal rash
You might also have a vaginal discharge. It could be:
- Thick, white, and odorless, resembling cottage cheese
Common Symptoms in Men
Men can get yeast infections too. They can happen when there’s an overgrowth of fungus (candida) on the skin. This can happen if a man has sex with a female partner who has a vaginal yeast infection. It’s more common in men who aren’t circumcised. The symptoms include:
- Itching, burning, or redness on the penis
- A thick, white substance in the skin folds of the penis, and moistness
- Shiny, white areas on the penis
Signs of a Complicated Infection
Sometimes the symptoms of a yeast infection can be more serious and require extra care. You might need a longer course of treatment or a plan to keep the infection from coming back.
You can get a more complicated infection if:
- You’re pregnant
- You have uncontrolled diabetes
- Your immune system is weakened by medications you’re taking or a health condition like HIV
Your infection might also be more complicated if it’s caused by a different type of fungus than what commonly causes yeast infections.
Signs of a complicated infection include:
- Symptoms (such as redness, swelling, and itching) so severe that it causes tears or sores
- A recurrence of yeast infection four or more times in a year
When to See a Doctor
Call your doctor if you have any signs of a complicated infection.
You should also make an appointment with your doctor if:
- You’ve never had a yeast infection before.
- Signs or symptoms of a yeast infection didn’t get better with after treatment with an over-the-counter cream or suppository.
- You have new or unusual pain or discharge in your genital area.
- You get other symptoms.
- You have pain during sex.
If you think you have a yeast infection but aren’t sure, it’s important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. A doctor can also let you know if something else may be causing your problems.
Treatment can help relieve symptoms and prevent you from spreading any potential infections during sex.