Because fungal infections can occur almost anywhere on or inside the body, their symptoms vary.
External Fungal Infections
Fungal infections that occur on the skin typically grow from the inside out, leaving skin broken and irritated or appearing as an inflamed round patch, as in the case of ringworm. Fungi can infect all body parts, such as the torso, arms, legs, face, hair, groin, soles of the feet, palms of the hands, and between fingers and toes. Some of the more common external fungal infections include nail infections, athlete’s foot and dandruff.
The symptoms of nail infections include:
- The tip of the nail turning yellow or brownish
- The spread of a yellow or brown colour over the nail
- The nail becoming very thick and brittle over time
The symptoms of athlete’s foot are:
- Cracking and peeling of skin between the toes
- Areas of white, dead skin
- Moistness or blistering
- Itching or soreness
The main symptoms of dandruff are:
- Flakes of dead skin that appear in the hair and on the shoulders
- Itchy scalp
Internal Fungal Infections
Fungal infections can also occur inside the body, such as in the mouth, esophagus and vagina.
Infections in the mouth and esophagus are called thrush and are caused by Candida yeast. Candida can exist in the mouth and intestines without creating a problem, but it sometimes grows out of control, leading to the development of a white coating in the mouth and a clear mucous membrane with sores under it.
Vulvovaginitis, a yeast infection of the vagina, is sometimes hard to diagnose because its main symptom is a discharge, which is a normal occurence for most women. However, a vaginal yeast fungal infection has some specific characteristics:
- Pain during urination or sex
- A thick, crumbly, white, odourless discharge