You’ve probably heard that, among all the yeast infection symptoms, “cottage cheese–like” discharge is common. However, “many yeast infections don’t have any,” Dr. McDonald says. “Yeast doesn’t always replicate in abundance to cause that type of discharge,” she adds. The lesson: Don’t brush off itching and assume it’s not a yeast infection just because you’re not saddled with this symptom. Learn about more ways your vaginal discharge is a clue to your health.
In people who have a weakened immune system because of cancer treatments, steroids, or diseases such as AIDS, candida infections can occur throughout the entire body and can be life-threatening. The blood, brain, eye, kidney, and heart are most frequently affected, but Candida also can grow in the lungs, liver, and spleen. Candida is a leading cause of esophagitis (inflammation in the swallowing tube) in people with AIDS.
According to the Department of Clinical Research at Merck Research Laboratories, candidiasis can become invasive in cancer patients and present a serious complication. (3) In this study, one-third of patients being treated for cancer had “invasive” candidiasis. Chemotherapy and radiation can both work to kill cancerous cells and tumors; however, they also kill off the healthy bacteria that naturally fight candida.
Candida yeasts are generally present in healthy humans, frequently part of the human body's normal oral and intestinal flora, and particularly on the skin; however, their growth is normally limited by the human immune system and by competition of other microorganisms, such as bacteria occupying the same locations in the human body. Candida requires moisture for growth, notably on the skin. For example, wearing wet swimwear for long periods of time is believed to be a risk factor. In extreme cases, superficial infections of the skin or mucous membranes may enter into the bloodstream and cause systemic Candida infections.
Individuals who treat their asthma with corticosteroid inhalants are at an increased risk of developing candida in the mouth, leading to systemic candida overgrowth. (2) It is imperative that individuals using corticosteroid inhalers for asthma follow the directions for swishing the mouth out after each use. If oral candidiasis is detected, it can be treated with the gargling of coconut oil and a drop or two of essential clove oil.
Efforts to prevent infections of the mouth include the use of chlorhexidine mouth wash in those with poor immune function and washing out the mouth following the use of inhaled steroids. Little evidence supports probiotics for either prevention or treatment even among those with frequent vaginal infections. For infections of the mouth, treatment with topical clotrimazole or nystatin is usually effective. By mouth or intravenous fluconazole, itraconazole, or amphotericin B may be used if these do not work. A number of topical antifungal medications may be used for vaginal infections including clotrimazole. In those with widespread disease, an echinocandin such as caspofungin or micafungin is used. A number of weeks of intravenous amphotericin B may be used as an alternative. In certain groups at very high risk, antifungal medications may be used preventatively.
As McHugh mentioned, some women get stuck in a hellish cycle of constant yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis — treating BV causes a yeast infection which causes BV and so on and so forth. This isn't something you're just doomed to live with forever. McHugh said if this is happening to you, you should see an ob-gyn or pelvic health specialist. Both to rule out any other underlying issue, and see if there's another way to treat either issue to break the cycle.
In people with weakened immune systems, oral, vaginal, and skin candida infections usually can be diagnosed by visual infection. When a person becomes sick, the health care practitioner may perform more invasive tests to confirm the diagnosis. Specimen collection may be necessary to check for Candida in the blood and urinary tracts. People with catheters may have their catheters changed and the catheter tips sent for culture. If a CT scan or MRI indicates candidiasis of the brain, health care practitioners may take a biopsy to distinguish between Candida and other diseases. Usually health care practitioner give IV medications for serious systemic infections.
It can be hard to tell if this is the problem because the patches in her mouth can be very small and the only symptom thrush nipples have had for me is that they get dry. She was prescribed nystatin suspension drops and I put Lotrimin on my nipples. We have been fighting thrush for a while, now, as it is VERY hard to get rid of. If my nipples are dry, I know that it has spread to me. You have to boil EVERYTHING that comes into contact with the baby's mouth. We use clothe diapers, and she hasn't gotten any more diaper rashes since I started using Lotrimin on her bum. I still don't know if we've gotten rid of the thrush, but we are still in treatment mode and I'm boiling everything AGAIN... Anonymous
If you have fatigue or exhaustion that you simply cannot shake, regardless of the number of hours you sleep, you may have chronic fatigue syndrome. The disease is characterized by fatigue that lasts a minimum of six months and is often accompanied by other candida symptoms, including headaches, joint pain, difficulties with memory and concentration, and sore throat. (5)
If the discharge is foul-smelling, yellowish, and frothy, you may be infected by a one-celled protozoa called Trichomonas, or "trick." If you have a heavy discharge without much irritation and notice a fishy odor, particularly after intercourse, your symptoms may be due to a bacterial infection that doctors call "bacterial vaginosis." Indeed, bacterial infections are the most common cause of vaginitis. Both of these infections require treatment with prescription medication.
Treatment is equally as simple. If you’ve had yeast infections in the past and are sure this is what the problem is, it’s fine to try an over-the-counter medication, Ghodsi says. However, it’s probably worth checking in with your doc. Not only can they screen you for other problems, but if it really is a yeast infection they can prescribe you a stronger, faster-acting medication, she adds.
A small percentage of women (less than 5 percent) develop recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC), defined as four or more symptomatic vaginal yeast infections during a 12-month period. Although RVVC is more common in women who have diabetes or problems with their immune system, most women with RVVC have no underlying medical illness that would predispose them to recurrent candida infections.
A yeast infection results from an overgrowth of yeast (a type of fungus) anywhere in the body. Candidiasis is by far the most common type of yeast infection. There are more than 20 species of Candida, the most common being Candida albicans. These fungi live on all surfaces of our bodies. Under certain conditions, they can become so numerous they cause infections, particularly in warm and moist areas. Examples of such infections are vaginal yeast infections, thrush (infection of tissues of the oral cavity), skin, including diaper rash, beneath large breasts, and nailbed infections.
A yeast diaper rash is a common rash that develops on the bums of babies and young toddlers. “It’s very normal in infants and toddlers,” says Natasha Burgert, MD, FAAP, pediatrician at Pediatrics Associates in Kansas City, Missouri. “Yeast is a fungus that lives on your skin and in the intestines, and when you have a warm, moist environment in the diaper area, it can cause a bit of a rash.”
Yeast infection is not usually detected in mild cases; however in severe cases, the rash may appear beefy red with well-defined little raised borders and active lesions. The skin of child becomes scaly. Another clue to identify yeast infection is a yeast rash that doesn’t respond to any traditional treatment and will hang around more than 2 days. It can also appear on skin folds of groin area.
Maintenance plan. For recurrent yeast infections, your doctor might recommend a medication routine to prevent yeast overgrowth and future infections. Maintenance therapy starts after a yeast infection is cleared with treatment. You may need a longer treatment of up to 14 days to clear the yeast infection before beginning maintenance therapy. Therapies may include a regimen of oral fluconazole tablets once a week for six months. Some doctors prescribe clotrimazole as a vaginal suppository used once a week instead of an oral medication.
“If you've been clinically diagnosed by a physician with a yeast infection on ... prior occasions, and the symptoms that you have are consistent with the symptoms that you had before, I do think that it's reasonable to try some of these over-the-counter remedies,” Chantel Cross, M.D., assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine, tells SELF.
There are plenty of reasons why having a vagina can be great. It can lead to some pretty pleasurable experiences (hey, hey, G-spot orgasms, if that’s a thing your body can do). And, obviously, it often comes with that whole miracle-of-life potential. But there are downsides, too. Enter the dreaded yeast infection: You’re going about your business and suddenly your underwear is covered in a sticky, white residue, or you’re having sex and realize it’s not so much hot as it is burning.
The doctor then may insert two fingers into your vagina and gently press on your uterus, ovaries, and surrounding areas to check for any tenderness or other problems. The health care practitioner also may take blood and urine specimens after this exam. You should not douche or have sexual intercourse 1-2 days before the exam, because doing so may make the diagnosis more difficult.
Symptoms in men may include itching, burning, and pain at the tip of the penis. Discomfort during urination can also occur. The area may appear reddened or irritated. Symptoms may resemble those of other diseases, including some sexually-transmitted infections (STDs), so testing should always be carried out to determine the cause of symptoms in men.