Most vaginal yeast infection symptoms are similar to the signs of other forms of vaginitis, so having a swab analysed is the surest means of knowing with absolute certainty just what you have.
Even experts have difficulty making an accurate diagnosis based on symptoms alone.
Most types of vaginitis will have some or all of the following symptoms so whilst you will probably have some of these symptoms - none of them automatically diagnosis the infection as yeast. (To help with that see the Top Tips below.)
Most male partners will not develop any yeast infection symptoms but a few get a temporary rash and a burning sensation. This only happens if a condom is not used.
These tips will help to differentiate yeast from other types of vaginal infection.
Tip 1. The most obvious sign is a thick white vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese and often clings to the vagina walls. That's the giveaway - the way it coats the wall. But do remember, discharge can vary from woman to woman, and some women don't have a noticeable discharge at all. With other women, it can vary from watery to thick.
Tip 2. The vaginal itch is intense and often worse at night. It can be bad enough to make sleeping difficult. There is often a redness of the area and pain is usually more pronounced than in other vaginal infections. If there is NO itchiness, then it is more likely to be one of the other vaginal infections.
Tip 3. If the vaginal pH is 4.5 or less it is more likely to be yeast and less likely to be BV. A reading of between 3.8 and 4.5 is the normal vaginal acidity. Yeast and BV are often confused with each other, but usually the vaginal pH will be different with each infection.
You can buy kits to test your vaginal pH at home and if you're prone to vaginal infections then it could well be worth your while to invest in one.
Unfortunately, the rule is that when it comes to yeast infections symptoms - there are no rules. If you're worried, get it checked out by your doctor. That really is the only way to be absolutely sure of what you have so that you can be confident you're choosing the correct treatment.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases