Candidiasis or yeast infection is caused by fungi named Candida albicans. An infection can be detected by following certain symptoms. However, the symptoms are often inconclusive and may be mistaken with other infections. Therefore, medical examinations are the only way of confirming a yeast infection. The various symptoms of yeast infection consist of a variety of things. In women, it consists of vaginal irritation, itching and burning. Whitish-gray curds like discharges are common symptoms. Sometimes the infection is also associated with pain and swelling of the infected areas. In males, the symptoms are similar and consist of itching and burning sensations along with redness of the genitals.
Microscopic examinations and culturing are the two main methods that are used by doctors for confirming a yeast infection. It becomes difficult to diagnose the infection once the symptoms subside. So, diagnosis must be carried out before any treatment and when the symptoms persist. This makes it easier to confirm the infection and gauge its extent. A swab or scraping of the affected area is taken and then it is placed on a microscope slide, for the microscopic method. 10% potassium hydroxide solution is then added to the slide, beside the swab. It is effective in dissolving the skin cells taken in the form of the swab. If there is a yeast infection, the fungi, Candida, is left behind.
Microscopic examination of the slide shows the yeast buds and hyphae, if Candida is present in the scraping. The presence of fungi in large numbers confirms a yeast infection. In the culturing method, a sterile swab is taken and rubbed on the infection. This is rubbed across a culture medium and it is allowed to incubate for a few days. It provides enough time for the bacteria or fungi, whatever is present in the swab, to grow colonies. A diagnosis of these colonies provides concrete evidence about the particular type of microorganism which is causing the infection. However, this method is generally used for women who suffer from recurring yeast infections and do not respond to treatment. It also helps in determining the presence of other species of yeast and guides treatment accordingly.
Certain self diagnosis methods can also be used for confirming yeast infection. Males can feel bloated; suffer from indigestion, frequent diarrhea, intestinal gas etc. Those experiencing such symptoms can carry out a simple self examination for the presence of yeast. Immediately after getting up in the morning, one can spit into a glass of water and see whether it completely dissolves or comes up to the surface in spiral forms or leaves residues. It is a convincing method that can declare the results within 5 minutes. So, if this works, medical advice must be sought immediately for effective treatment of yeast infection.