Am I baker inside and out?
April 2, 2009 8:49 AM   Subscribe

Systemic yeast infection? I've got an appointment lined up to check. Symptoms after the jump. YANMD, but some advice would be appreciated.

A few weeks ago, I attempted to treat a suspected vaginal yeast infection (with canesten 1 day treatment), and accidentally expelled the tablet before it had had a chance to dissolve completely. The slight burning sensation has been kept under control with intermittent use of clotrimazole cream, but I've noticed a few other symptoms cropping up that concern me:

1st: around the same time I treated the infection initially, I noticed a small area of dried, cracked and sore skin on my perineum. I only noticed because it started to bleed ever so slightly any time I had a bowel movement.

2nd: Straining bowel movements have become constant. I've added lots of fiber and water to no avail. My stools look like rabbit poop, except with bigger pellets. I'm still relatively regular (once a day or so) but it feels like I'm constipated.

3rd: I have 3 cracks in the corner of my lips that haven't come close to healing in over a week. There are also a couple strange patches of dry skin on my body that aren't responding to moisturiser. (on is on my shoulder for example, and about the size of a nickel)

Could any of this be related to yeast? Is it possible that I'm just reinfecting myself through vaginal/oral sex with my husband? He's uncircumcised and I've noticed that there's a off-putting scent under his foreskin that wasn't there before a month or two ago. Even if he's showered that day, it's kind of 'funky'. If he washes immediately before, it's not such a problem.

I've been checked as recently as 3 months ago for STIs and had a pap at the same time which came back normal. We are both faithful and committed.

I'm not on birth control or any other medication, although I did go through several rounds of antibiotics for a series of UTIs back in Dec/Jan.

Am I barking up the wrong tree here? What can I do to weather the storm until my appointment next week?

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posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could any of this be related to yeast? Is it possible that I'm just reinfecting myself through vaginal/oral sex with my husband? He's uncircumcised and I've noticed that there's a off-putting scent under his foreskin that wasn't there before a month or two ago. Even if he's showered that day, it's kind of 'funky'. If he washes immediately before, it's not such a problem.

Either go see a doctor together or go see two doctors at the same practice that can communicate about this.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:52 AM on April 2, 2009

Make sure you mention it to your doctor. If he or she believes that your husband is reinfecting you-- which is possible; men can have asymptomatic yeast-- they can write him a scrip when they write yours.

I'm assuming you've mentioned the funk to your husband. He might want to come along to your appointment just in case.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:11 AM on April 2, 2009

I'm not on birth control or any other medication, although I did go through several rounds of antibiotics for a series of UTIs back in Dec/Jan.

This alone suggests that the vaginal stuff is a yeast infection, although, of course, IANYD. You and your husband can definitely pass a yeast infection back and forth between you. You both need to be treated, mostly likely.

The bowel stuff and the skin stuff might be related or it might not. I have stomach problems sometimes, and I usually make myself a huge salad of dark greens with lemon juice for dressing to keep stuff moving if I get badly constipated. You might try the same.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:31 AM on April 2, 2009

Inform your doctor / ob-gyn.

In the meantime eat yogurt with live active cultures daily and drink a glass of cranberry juice everyday to help mitigate, possibly eliminate infection.
posted by eatdonuts at 10:37 AM on April 2, 2009

Yogurt with active like cultures might not even be enough to help out - I strongly recommend going to a health food store (even Whole Foods) and finding a product called FOS, or fructooligosaccharide. It is a sugar that the flora in your guts can consume but your body will largely ignore. Sometimes people start eating lots of yogurt cultures thinking it'll just fix everything, not realizing that the environment in your bowel is still hostile, even though you've stopped taking the antibiotics.

I also tend to think you're just experiencing a monster yeast infection that your husband has as well, with the bowel component as a leftover from the medications you took - the antibiotics for UTIs are crazy strong, and if you needed several rounds than you likely had a resistant strain. I'm not surprised you're feeling poor 3 months later.

In the meantime, keep up the topical treatment of the clotrimazole cream.
posted by Subspace at 11:36 AM on April 2, 2009

It sounds likely to me that you and your husband are passing a YI back and forth. Definitely see a doctor, but my inclination would be to get him a prescription for diflucan. I had a similar experience and it wasn't until I made my SO take a diflucan pill that my chronic YI finally dried up.
posted by telegraph at 11:58 AM on April 2, 2009

Yeah, I've had almost the exact same thing and so have some of my friends. As far as my experience, the other bad stuff besides the vaginal infections are because yeast infections are taxing on your immune system.

I had success in eating lots and lots of dark green salads and kefir. My friend with the same problem recently did a no-sugar (not even fruit) diet for two weeks and that did the trick for her.
posted by idle at 2:02 PM on April 2, 2009

A friend who has candida issues (systematic yeast infections, basically) can usually clear hers up and keep reoccurances at bay by controlling her diet--she'll cut out vinegar, alcohol, sugar, simple carbohydrates, and mold-containing foods like cheese. She sticks to protein, veggies (esp. leafy greens), and small amounts of fruit and whole grains. It's not the easiest diet to get into, but two weeks of it always gets her healthy again. Here's a page about candida (haven't looked at it much, but it looks pretty reasonable).
posted by aka burlap at 3:53 PM on April 2, 2009

Data point: gf has been warned away from Canesten (clotrimazole) by multiple doctors because, put simply, it's really really bad for your vagina and overuse will contribute to further breakouts, or whatever you want to call them. Instead, these doctors recommend people put some natural "live" yoghurt inside themselves (natural "live" yoghurts are the ones that taste really sour and unpleasant, and thus the vagina is a better place for them than your mouth).
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:57 PM on April 2, 2009

There is, of course, the possibility it isn't a yeast infection after all -- I once finally went to the doctor to figure out why the yeast infection I'd had for a month and been treating with over the counter medicines wasn't going away.

He tested me and then said, "it's not going away because it's not a yeast infection."

Some other vaginal infections are very, very good at mimicing yeast infections; fortunately, they're also easy to treat.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:39 PM on April 2, 2009

"..I did go on several rounds of antibiotics..."

That would put you in the high risk zone for candidiasis, which is the condition of over-proliferation of the ever-present candida albicans in the colon. aka burlap mentioned a diet a friend of hers goes on to correct this condition when needed. In my experience, the diet alone didn't get me out of the woods, but caprylic acid did. It kills the overrun of yeast (candida) without hurting the 'friendly' bacteria. (My recolection is that a healthy 'gut' has about 13% of its bio-whatever as candida albacans. This balance is upset with ingestion of antibiotics, or eating of lots of sweets, or birth-control pills, or copious quantities of yeasty Guiness...all of which kill the friendly bacteria or make the 'gut' climate more favorable to the yeast/candida) You can get caprylic acid at a health food store. And along similar lines, the current preferred treatment is oregano oil, which is also available at a health food store. I suggest you look into the candida thing and see if you see your symptoms fall into the profile. Bloating, digestive problems, yeastiness, skin problems, all can be part of the mix with candida.

One more thought. After you've looked into this and decided it might be what's going on with you, while at your health food store you might also want to pick up a bottle of refridgerated live acidofilous and bifidus cultures. This highly concentrated liquid supplement will reestablish your healthy bacteria after the caprylic acid or oregano oil wipe out the over-proliferation of the candida.

Good health to you!
posted by sparrowdance at 7:50 PM on April 2, 2009

I've had oral thrush, and the cracked, raw lips at the corners that wouldn't heal were one of my symptoms (sore throat and burning tongue were others). My regular doctor doesn't see enough of this, so when I went in and said "Hey, I'm pretty sure I have oral thrush" (I have a depressed immune system, so I knew it was more likely because of this), she laughed and said "No, a yeast infection looks like cottage cheese! You probably have coxsackie virus, and there's no treatment, just wait a month or so and it should go away on its own."

A few days later I was slightly worse, and still pretty convinced I had thrush, I just wasn't stupid enough to let it go long enough start making cheese in my mouth. So I got in to see my dermatologist for an emergency appointment (usually she books a month out). Sure enough, she sees a lot more of this sort of thing and took one look and confirmed oral thrush, complicated by a secondary bacterial infection in the cracked skin. The moral of the story is that your GP may not recognize oral thrush unless it's pretty advanced. Try there first, but think about seeing a specialist if you think you need to.

Turgid dahlia is full of crap, by the way. Yogurt is not enough to treat a full-blown infection (either applied topically, or ingested), especially systemic (if that's what you have), and most yogurts contain added sugars. I don't have to tell you what that means.

Also, if you do have yeast, your husband will need to be treated as well.
posted by tejolote at 12:09 AM on April 3, 2009

Huh, I never thought about the caprylic acid. It's in coconut, which I started eating a lot of when I was working to get rid of the yeast infections because it works so well in the paleo diet. I now cook with coconut oil and frequently with the milk. It's a great food and no, I haven't gained any weight and my cholesterol is fine. I also suggest other anti-microbial spices like tumeric. Coconut milk + those spices + meat or fish = the best sort of meal to fight this thing.
posted by idle at 2:28 AM on April 3, 2009

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