Yeast is a Candida-type fungus that normally lives in the human body. As with bacteria that are beneficial to the body, it is kept under control by the immune system. However, from time to time, the balance of yeasts can change and lead to overgrowth of this fungus, causing candidiasis, which manifests itself in various parts of the human body, such as the skin, mouth, throat and, more often in the vagina. Having this problem is no reason for embarrassment; about 75% of women will experience this yeast gap at least once in their lifetime. It is an infection that can be very irritating, so it is important to diagnose and treat it as soon as possible. You will need to know what the symptoms are to make an accurate diagnosis of the disorder.
Method 1 of 4: Identifying the Symptoms
Step 1. Look for red dots
Yeast infections can be found in many parts of the body, such as the groin, the folds of the buttocks, between the breasts, the mouth and digestive tract, near the fingers and toes, and the navel. In general, it develops in wetter regions with folds and crevices of the body.
- The red dots can become inflamed, looking like small, red pimples. Try not to scratch them; if they break out, the infection can spread to other parts of the body.
- It is important to know that babies also suffer from these fungal contaminations on a regular basis, leading to diaper dermatitis, a condition similar to redness and which also has small bumps, as described above. They are more common in skin creases, thighs and genital region, due to the moisture retained in a dirty diaper that stays in contact with the skin for a long time.
Step 2. Check for itchiness
The skin and area of the body affected by the yeast will be itchy and very sensitive to the touch; it is possible that there is also irritation, caused by clothes or foreign objects that are rubbed to the infected spot.
It is also possible to have a burning sensation in and around the infected area
Step 3. Be aware of the specific manifestations of different types of yeast contamination
There are three main variations of infections: vaginal, cutaneous and throat infections. Each type has specific symptoms in addition to those mentioned above.
- vaginal infection: It is the most common, especially in women, who will notice swelling, itching, irritation and redness in the vulva. There may also be a burning sensation or pain when urinating or having sex, as well as a thick discharge (similar to curd), white and odorless. Know that 75% of women suffer from vaginal infections at some point in their lives.
- skin infection: A fungal contamination on the hands or feet can manifest as skin rashes, scaly spots, and blisters between each toe. It is possible that there are white spots starting to form on the fingernails.
- Thrush: Also known as oral thrush, it affects the throat, making it red and sometimes bulging or white spots on the back of the mouth and on the tongue. There may be cracks at the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis or mouth) and some difficulty in swallowing.
Step 4. Buy a tape or strip to do the home pH test
Anyone who has suffered a vaginal fungal infection in the past can use these special tapes to self-diagnose at home, in case of suspicion. Normal vaginal pH is 4 (slightly acidic). Follow the instructions provided by the product.
- To test, hold a piece of the special strip against one of the vaginal walls for a few seconds. Compare its color to the corresponding table in the product instructions. The color number that most closely matches the strip color is the vaginal pH.
- If the result is above 4, go to the doctor. It does not indicate a yeast infection, but there may be another type of contamination.
- Results below 4 indicate that there is a fungal infection.
Method 2 of 4: Identifying Symptoms of a Severe Fungal Infection
Step 1. Analyze how the irritation spot is shaped
When no measures are taken to control the growth of yeasts, they may take on a red colored ring shape or no noticeable discoloration. It is possible with both vaginal and skin infections.
Step 2. Know which risk groups are most likely to get serious yeast contamination
- People who have had four or more yeast infections in the space of one year.
- Pregnant women.
- Individuals with uncontrolled diabetes.
- People with weakened immune systems (due to the use of certain medications or due to illnesses such as HIV).
Step 3. Any fungal infection that is not caused by the fungus “Candida albicans” is considered more serious
The vast majority of them come from contamination by the fungus “Candida albicans”; however, another type of fungus may be responsible for the disorder. This complicates the picture of the disease, since a large part of the drugs, whether over-the-counter or on prescription, are aimed at combating the infection of “Candida albicans”, that is, the treatment should be more aggressive.
The only way to diagnose which fungus in question is to collect a sample (using a cotton swab), which must be taken for analysis in the laboratory to identify the microorganism
Method 3 of 4: Knowing what the risk factors are
Step 1. Antibiotic treatments can ease yeast infections
Administering antibiotic drugs for a long time not only exterminates the bacterial pathogen within the body, but can also eliminate the “good bacteria” from the body, leading to an imbalance in the flora of the mouth, skin and vagina, facilitating the growth of yeasts.
Have you recently taken antibiotics and are suffering from burning and itchy sensations? It is possible that there is a yeast contamination
Step 2. Understand why pregnant women are at increased risk for fungal problems
Pregnancy increases vaginal discharge and secretions, produced by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, creating an environment conducive to the development of yeast. When this occurs, the normal vaginal flora is unbalanced, causing fungal contamination.
Step 3. Another risk factor is having high estrogen levels
Women who undergo hormone replacement therapy, or who use contraceptives with high levels of estrogen, have a greater chance of contracting “Candida albicans”.
Step 4. Vaginal douches can cause fungal infections
Generally used for vaginal cleaning after menstruation, this practice is, in most cases, unnecessary and even harmful. Doing this regularly can alter the balance of flora and vaginal acidity, causing a discrepancy between “good” and harmful bacteria; an environment with low acidity facilitates the unrestrained growth of unwanted microorganisms, causing yeast infection.
Step 5. There are medical conditions that can be risk factors for fungal contamination
Some diseases or disorders are correlated with the emergence of yeasts, such as diabetes and HIV (which decreases the effectiveness of the immune system), increasing the risk of contracting Candida.
Method 4 of 4: Knowing When to Seek Medical Treatment
Step 1. Go to the doctor when you have your first fungal infection
People who have never developed this condition should consult a specialist to confirm the diagnosis and find out exactly what the situation is. The doctor will also prescribe medication, if necessary, to help treat yeast contamination.
- This infection can sometimes be confused with some STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), so only a specialist will be able to confirm the diagnosis.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also have the same symptoms as a yeast infection.
Step 2. In case of fever, go to the nearest emergency room
When the appearance of yeast coincides with a fever, there may be a more serious medical problem, so seek urgent care. Some tests can be done so that an accurate diagnosis can be obtained and the specialist can prescribe the correct treatment.
Also report the onset of chills and body aches
Step 3. When Candida infections are recurrent, consult a physician
It is normal for you to suffer from this problem from time to time, and if improvement occurs quickly, there is no reason to worry. However, if the disorder persists almost immediately, there may be an underlying disorder. Inform this to the doctor so that he knows what tests should be done and what treatment is appropriate.
- Persistent yeast infections can be due to diabetes or cancer.
- Don't forget to tell your doctor about any suspicions you may have contracted HIV, correlating it with constant fungal contamination.
Step 4. It is important to see a doctor if the infection does not improve
Many fungal contaminations, after about a day, get better with correct therapy. However, the persistence of the problem signals that other medications must be used or more tests need to be done.
Yeast infections can indicate an underlying disorder, and only a health care specialist can make the proper diagnosis
Step 5. When you notice the presence of yeast during pregnancy, talk to your doctor
It is common for fungi to infect pregnant women, who will be more susceptible, but rarely pose any greater risk. However, there are medications that can be harmful to the mother or the baby, so only the health professional can prescribe the most appropriate therapy. Do not self-treat.
Avoid applying any over-the-counter creams until you talk to a doctor
Step 6. Diabetics should seek urgent medical treatment when contracting “Candida albicans”, as they may suffer complications
Before treating or diagnosing a fungal infection, go to your doctor, who will be able to recommend the best treatments and remedies.