|What Are The Symptoms of Yeast Infections?
A yeast infection can occur any where along the digestive tract, and most commonly occurs in women in the 20 to 55 age group. The classical symptoms are:
A white, thick and sticky vaginal discharge which is sometimes described as looking like cottage cheese. It may smell sweet or bread-like.
Itchiness & Burning
Itchiness and burning of the vulva (vulvodynia) which can be internal or external. It may or may not occur with the presence of a vaginal discharge.
Red & Soreness
The vulva appears sore and red which can make urination painful (vulvitis). Sexual intercourse may also be painful (dyspareunia) which can lead to reduced libido and emotional difficulties between a woman and her partner. See causes of yeast infections for an overview.
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
Women with a long-term overgrowth of yeast are much more prone to urinary tract infections, in particular more prone to interstitial cystitis.
Yeast infections can indirectly cause weight gain. Women with persistent overgrowth of Candida albicans are likely to crave sugar and refined carbohydrates (cakes, cookies, candy). These are the 'food' which yeast feed on, and they also happen to be high in calories. Additionally toxins released from the overgrowth of yeast can trigger allergic reactions and hormone imbalances, which may in turn lead to depression and binge eating. See candida diet guidelines and yeast infection diet plan for tips on how to break this vicious cycle.
Take The Yeast Symptom Test - Quiz
If you suffer any of the following problems, it may be connected to yeast overgrowth (also known as thrush). Do you:
• Feel sick all over but doctors have not discovered a cause?
• Have taken antibiotics for longer than a month?
• Taken birth control pills for more than 6 months?
• Experience all-over muscle aches regularly?
• Constantly feel fatigued?
• Crave sugar on an almost daily basis?
• Suffer depression or irritability?
• Suffer food intolerance's and allergies?
• Have digestive problems with bouts of constipation and/or diarrhea?
• Sometimes feel spaced or zoned-out?
• Feel sensitive to perfumes, tobacco or odors?
• Regularly suffer athlete’s foot or fungus infections of the nails?
• Suffer regular headaches?
Other Conditions Related to Yeast Infections
The following is a list of conditions which may be related to persistent chronic yeast infections.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
There is evidence to suggest that women who regularly eat too many refined carbohydrates or sugar are prone to developing PMS symptoms. In many of these instances, the woman has a yeast infection. Treating the yeast infection may reduce cravings for sugary foods, and in turn reduce severity of symptoms associated with PMS.
The overgrowth of Candida albicans is a very common cause of vaginitis. Other types of vaginitis are caused by bacteria, parasites and STDs. If you suffer symptoms it is important to obtain a correct vaginitis diagnosis, as treatment varies depending on the cause. Symptoms of Candida vaginitis include a white-thick discharge which may smell yeasty like bread. This is usually accompanied by itching and burning. The vulva may also appear red and swollen.
Endometriosis is a painful condition where the cells from the lining of the uterus attach themselves to other areas of the body and grow. One of the symptoms is severe pelvic pain. Some doctors have noticed that many women with endometriosis also have chronic yeast infections, pelvic pain and allergies. Treating the yeast infection may in fact improve overall symptoms of all conditions. Whether this is because yeast infections cause endometriosis or whether some other common factor predisposes a woman to both, is not clear.
Nearly 19 million Americans suffer from clinical depression. The mechanism of depression is little understood. Certain chemicals are known to be involved with brain function, and when these are disturbed depression is thought to occur. Toxins released by an overgrowth of Candida albicans may play a role in upsetting this balance. Many studies show that patients suffering from depression also have a history of vaginal candidiasis. Those treated with anti fungal medications such as Nizoral or Nystatin reported feeling less depressed. Note: depression is a serious condition which should never be self-diagnosed or treated without proper medical consultation.
Nearly 45 million Americans suffer from chronic and recurring headaches. According to the National Headache Foundation, 62 percent of these are migraines. Nearly three times the amount of women as men suffer from headaches. Women between the age of 20 and 45 who have taken birth control pills are most at risk. Many women with chronic yeast infections also complain of depression, fatigue and headaches. The cause is not clear, but chronic infections can lead to a 'leaky gut' and the absorption of toxins which may be connected to food allergies, particularly to foods that trigger migraines.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)
Those with fibromyalgia experience widespread muscle pain and fatigue. FMS is characterized by fibromyalgia tender points on the body which are highly sensitive to pain at the slightest pressure. Although it can affect men and women, nearly 90 percent of patients are female. Many women with FMS have food absorption problems and crave carbohydrates although they may be allergic to them. This can lead to general fatigue and muscle pain. Any infection (including yeast) in the digestion tract may agitate the lining of the colon, making it more susceptible to leaking toxins (leaky gut syndrome).Those with FMS, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome, lower back pain and irritable bowel syndrome may benefit from Candida therapy.
Yeast infections are not a cause of infertility. However women who experience difficulties in becoming pregnant because of conditions such as endometriosis should consider anti-yeast therapy, particularly where there is a history of yeast infections. For natural remedies, see Natural remedies for yeast infections.
Almost 32 million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis. In a 1999 Mayo Clinic report, 96 percent of patients with rhino sinusitis were found to have fungi in the sinuses; of these fungi types 20 percent were Candida albicans. A study in 2000 of patients with long-term sinusitis and who tested high for Candida were treated with Diflucan (see yeast infection treatment). After 4 months all but one patient reported significant improvements.
Other common conditions and complaints which may be related to common yeast infections include:
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Crohn's Disease
• Myasthenia gravis
• Numbness & tingling