Is this a yeast infection or am I overreacting?
March 24, 2010 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Is this a yeast infection? WAAAAAAAAY TMI inside.

I'm kinda an anxious person to start with.

I've been taking this antibiotic, Cephalexin if it matters, for my acne for about 2 weeks now... and for the past two weeks I've noticed a bit of a change in my discharge. In my opinion it smells distinctly more yeasty than usual and it's kinda thicker, but (this is really tmi) it's not like I'm constantly dripping thick white discharge, I only see it when I'm pushing a little whilst using the bathroom. It comes out in globs but I would definitely NOT describe it as cottage cheese like. I've had thick white discharge before and it's rather normal for me at some parts of the month but it usually doesn't come out in globs like that. Otherwise my discharge is fine though: I don't really notice anything different in my underwear, I'm not dryer than usual, and when I get aroused it's the same stuff as usual and the same amount.

So really my only discharge related symptoms are the kinda strangely yeasty smell and the kinda thick white discharge sometimes.

Otherwise I have no symptoms. No itching, burning, blah blah, nothing.

Also, I've been seeing these "symptoms" since a day after I started the antibiotic, and I went to the doctor and had a pap smear done about four days after. I stupidly didn't mention gee maybe I have a yeast infection, but I did mention I was concerned about getting one. I figured either she would test anyway or she would notice.

I would feel kinda foolish going back to the doctor two weeks later for symptoms I also had when I went to the doctor two weeks prior.

I have also been taking some acidophilius I got at the grocery store since I started taking the antibiotic. It wasn't refrigerated at first but it says it should be refrigerated after opening.

I'm starting to get really frustrated. I'm concerned about my boyfriend touching me then getting some in his mouth then getting an oral yeast infection (also unless I give him every little detail like I did here a yeast infection sounds like a gross thing, with cottage cheese discharge and such. If, as a dude with no experience with yeast infections, my girlfriend thought she had a typical one I wouldn't want to touch her).

So, I figure either I have a yeast infection and my doctor is incompetent or something, or I don't and the fact I'm worried about getting one whilst on this antibiotic is making me imagine my "symptoms" as being worse than they are.

So questions are, does this sound like a yeast infection to you? What are the repercussions of letting my boyfriend ingest my fluids? If this was a yeast infection would my doctor have been able to tell when she did the pap smear, and would the pap smear test for yeast anyway? She didn't say anything, but she knew I was concerned and she knew I was taking an antibiotic.

Thank you.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
You're bean plating, but this sounds exactly like a yeast infection to me. I get them every single time I go on antibiotics, without fail--to the point where I'll usually ask for a dose of diflucan along with any prescribed antibiotics. I can eat all the acidophlous I want/chug kiefer daily/stick garlic cloves up my hooha and it doesn't make a dent. Either over-the-counter (monistat/generics of. I'd go for the 3-day treatment rather than the one day unless you like to feel your crotch burn) or prescription medicines are necessary to get rid of it.

I wouldn't assume your doctor is incompetent. Pap smears are looking for different things, and it's possible that the yeast wasn't prolific enough by that point for it to be detected. I also wouldn't worry about your doctor thinking less of you for this, because yeast problems can develop pretty suddenly. It's really pretty normal--which is why yeast infection medicines are available over the counter these days.

Oh, and you're right about the possibility of giving your boyfriend oral thrush. Don 't have him go down on you until the problem is gone. But, uh, they have commercials for monistat. I'm sure he knows what a yeast infection is. Yeast infections are gross, but they're not that gross. Just tell your bf no oral sex until your yeast infection clears up. Really--no biggie.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:38 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

But I would recommend you go back to a doctor, in the event that it's something like BV (bacterial vaginosis) and not yeast. BV can be caused by lots of sexytime, and the symptoms can look pretty similar to yeast, but it's treated differently. That being said, what you have is pretty much how my yeast infections always start--if I leave them untreated, it eventually progresses to the SUPER itchy/cottage cheesey stage. Which is as terrible as it sounds.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:45 AM on March 24, 2010

My gyno has always run a yeast infection test at my yearly appointments whether I ask her to or not; I assumed it was standard procedure. I don't know if it's a separate test from the pap smear. You could call the office and ask either of those questions to make sure.

Don't feel foolish about talking to your doctor about your health concerns; it's smart and sensible to be aware of your body & concerned about changes. Your doc's not judging you! She's there to help you, and if for some reason she does make you feel bad about it, get a new doctor. Your health is important and our bodies don't always do things in logical, appropriately scheduled ways, so don't worry about going back so soon after your last visit. You've got to advocate for yourself and your own health, and now is a good a time as any to get comfortable with that.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 7:46 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

You need to go back to your doctor. This sounds like a typical yeast infection, but it could also be any number of other things (most of them nonserious, but over-the-counter yeast cream won't cure them). And yeah, practice safer sex until you have a diagnosis.
posted by decathecting at 7:46 AM on March 24, 2010

Sounds like a yeast infection --- not everyone gets the same symptoms for it (i.e, cottage cheese like discharge has never happened to me).

Get some over the counter treatment, wait for sex until 24 hours after you're done using it, and presto! You should be good to go.

If it persists after self-treating with the standard OTC, you should see your doctor again as it could be bacterial vaginosis instead, and that requires a different type of treatment that is usually prescription only.
posted by zizzle at 7:48 AM on March 24, 2010

Who knows, my personal preference would be to avoid anti-yeast meds if you have no negative symptoms and use a barrier for oral sex. Dental dams aren't the other option, you can also use plastic wrap (I have no idea if this works to protect from STDs, folks, so research that on your own if it's a problem, but it's great for covering the whole area) or a glove. With the glove, you can cut it in such a way that your tongue goes in the thumb. It's like a little condom for your tongue! With all of these, use lube on the outside to increase the sensation.

I stole all of these ideas from Tristan Taorinimo (I spelled that wrong) but have found them all to range from good to hilarious. Compared to going to the doctor, I think they are more awesome by far.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:01 AM on March 24, 2010

In my experience, doctors don't test you for a yeast infection unless you ask for it, so I wouldn't bet your doctor would have tested you when you got your Pap Smear.

The fact that you're on an antibiotic seems to point to a yeast infection in my experience. However, there are other things that act an awful lot like yeast infections. I once was trying to treat myself for a "yeast infection" for a solid month with OTC stuff, none of which worked -- and I finally went to the doctor and they ran the tests, and revealed that "oh, wait, you have something completely different." However, the fact that you're on an antibiotic seems to indicate a yeast infection.

There actually is an over-the-counter testing kit now -- you may want to pick one up and see what it says. If it also points to a yeast infection, maybe go back to your doctor with the results and see what they say, or even just call and talk to them (if they say to just pick up some Monistat or something over the counter, then you're all set).

And don't be embarrassed about going back to your doctor a second time. That's what they're there for. They've seen everything.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:38 AM on March 24, 2010

I'm going to disagree -- it doesn't sound like a yeast infection to me.

It sounds like you have a higher quantity of cervical mucus. Women get this during the most fertile time of their cycle. It helps the sperm swim up to fertilize an egg.

For some reason, antibiotics increase cervical mucus, so much so that women who are having fertility problems sometimes go on antibiotics to increase their cervical mucus and thus their chances of getting pregnant.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:47 AM on March 24, 2010

Your doc isn't incompetent. A pap will show yeast cultures if it's present. Many times I have had zero symptoms and they say "yo, you have some yeast. Want meds?"

I would go with what the results say and move on from there. You may or may not have the start of one or the meds are changing your discharge and it's nothing to worry about. but many medications do cause yeast. So be alert.
posted by stormpooper at 9:13 AM on March 24, 2010

I'm inclined to nod when I read rabbitrabbit above -- though I'm not a doc, I do have a vagina. I've also noticed the thicker discharge when I'm not properly hydrated. Any chance your meds are also dehydrating you to some degree? It's all just speculation on my part, but it may be something to consider.
posted by heyho at 10:22 AM on March 24, 2010

The fact that you can even think about sex and not scratching off your vagina or mentally picturing it on fire, would have me believe you don't have a yeast infection, or those symptoms will show up soon. It seems worthwhile to call your gyn and see if any cultures were taken, and if it was positive for yeast.

As for him: oral thrush is pretty rare for a healthy adult. The urethra, and foreskin (if present) can be an inviting spot to yeast, so a condom might be a good idea. Otherwise, urinating after sex and washing up can also be preventative. But again, if you can even be considering sex, I think you don't have an infection, or at least not a typical yeast infection. Not an MD, just a vagina owner.

When it comes to freaking out over sexual health, the best answer is always get tested, and know for sure. Whatever the cost for a second visit is certainly worth the mental relief. I do think you're over-worrying this.

Also, it's likely that your probiotics aren't going to help you much while you're still taking antibiotics-- they're just dying like all your "native" bacteria, (and hopefully your acne.) Not like its hurting, or a waste of lots of money, but a bit of a placebo for now. Better preventatives for yeast infections are cotton panties and avoiding tight pants, wet swimsuits, or sweaty gym clothes. Sleeping without bottoms on is a good idea too.
posted by fontophilic at 2:11 PM on March 24, 2010

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