What are the signs of a yeast infection?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 20, 2016
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What are the signs of a  yeast infection?


Expert Answers

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is the author of a popular blog and podcast at BetterHealthWhileAging.net. She is also a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics.

The signs of a yeast infection (also known as a fungal infection) depend on what part of the body is affected.  It also depends on what kind of fungus is involved; there are several different types that can affect people. 

Often the term "yeast infection" refers to vaginal candidiasis, or Candida-type yeast in the vagina.  This usually causes an itchy, whitish, odorless discharge.  Vaginal yeast infections are common in younger and middle-aged women, women with diabetes, and the immune-suppressed, such as those undergoing chemotherapy. Candida yeast do well in moist warm places, so sometimes older people can get a Candida yeast infection between skin folds, such as under the breasts or between the thighs.  The skin in that area is usually damp, red, and may have some small sores; it may or may not be itchy. 

Also common in older adults are fungal infections in the skin due to a type of fungi called tinea.  Common names for skin infections caused by tinea include jock itch (when it's in the groin), and athlete's foot (when it's on the feet).  Athlete's foot, or tinea pedis, is the most common skin fungus doctors see.  It usually causes itchy red skin on the toes, and there may be some blister-like small sores.

Over-the-counter antifungal creams are easy to find, but if you suspect that you or a family member has a yeast or fungal infection it might be wise to have a doctor take a look before you start treating it yourself.  Not all itchy red skin is fungus or yeast.