If you think you have a yeast infection it is important to at first seek medical advice to ensure that the infection is diagnosed correctly and that you have not got a different type of infection which requires different treatment. Yeast infection is easy to diagnose by medical examination. However a doctor may want to take a swab or scraping of the infected area and send it to the laboratory for confirmation. This is the best way to know if you have a yeast infection.
It may take several days to get the results so treatment is usually started before the results come back. Laboratory tests include looking for the typical yeast cells under the microscope and culturing onto specific agar for 24-48 hours and looking for the typical yeast colonies.
Many people are well aware of their own symptoms and self diagnose and treat. This is especially true if you are a sufferer of recurrent thrush. It is safe to manage your own thrush treatment once you understand the symptoms and are sure that the infection is definitely caused by yeast.
When yeast infection is diagnosed it is also important to ensure that there are no other underlying medical reasons why you have a yeast infection. This is particularly important if you suffer from recurrent thrush or have any long term illness. The doctor may also take blood tests to rule our other conditions which may attribute to the yeast infection, such as diabetes.
Underlying conditions which contribute to recurrent thrush are things like diabetes, hormonal changes associated with pregnancy or the contraceptive pill, antibiotic or steroid therapy, stress or any underlying illness such as flu. Thrush is particularly risky in people who are immunocompromised e.g. those suffering from cancer or AIDS.
The best way to know if you have a yeast infection is to make sure you understand and can recognise the typical symptoms of thrush which include:
• Vaginal thrush (odourless discharge, white patches on the mucous membranes, inflammation, intense itching and soreness)
• Oral thrush (white patches on the mouth and tongue, inflammation, soreness)
• Jock itch (red moist itchy rash in the groin which may spread to the penile area)
• Balanitis (white patches on the penile shaft with inflammation and soreness)
• Skin infections (red moist itchy rash on the skin in moist areas, such as under the arms, under the breasts and in folds of skin)
• Paronychia (inflammed, sore, swollen area around the base of the nail)
• Nappy rash (sore, red, moist rash around baby’s bottom and genital area)
Outbreaks of symptoms in recurrent yeast sufferers are sometimes triggered by things such tight jeans, synthetic underwear, certain washing powders or douches. Excessive sweating and chafing is also a common trigger of yeast infection. It is important to get to know your own symptoms and triggers to make it easier to know if you have a yeast infection.
A theory has been raised by some alternative medical proponents that yeast infection is systemic and the cause of a number of different non specific symptoms. These symptoms have been associated with Candida hypersensitivity syndrome, yeast allergy, or gastrointestinal Candida overgrowth. Symptoms include:
• abdominal bloating
• reflux and gas
• bad breath
• pre menstrual tension
• muscle pain/stiffness
• sexual dysfunction
Because the symptoms of Candida overgrowth syndrome are so varied and non specific it is very difficult to know if they are caused by a yeast infection. Many of these non specific symptoms such as indigestion and bloating can also be attributed to many other diseases and problems. Gluten intolerance and Coeliacs disease have almost identical symptoms to an overgrowth of yeast in your bowel.
This means you need to be tested by a doctor to be sure that there are no other underlying diseases. Many doctors disregard Candida as a cause of these non specific symptoms and don’t test for it, even though it is now becoming more recognized as one of the biggest underlying causes of many health problems. How do you know if you have a yeast infection which is causing these symptoms? It is very difficult to diagnose and is often a matter of elliminating other causes. Treatment for yeast infection often offers relief for these non specific symptoms.