Oral thrush - vaginal yeast?
August 7, 2008 3:54 PM   Subscribe

I was diagnosed today with oral thrush. How did I get it? Can I pass it orally? Other-than-orally? More inside.

I've noticed there are a lot of yeast-related AskMe questions, and there seem to be a lot of yeast-knowledgeable folks here. So, here goes.

- Earlier in the week, I noticed my tongue hurting towards the front, like a canker sore. I've gotten canker sores on my tongue before.
- Around Tuesday, I noticed the papillae (?) on the right and left corners of the tip of my tongue were somewhat elongated, and whitish at the tips. Odd. I didn't have time to go to the doctor (the medical clinic/aid station, since I am in the Marines and live on base).
- Yesterday and more so today, the papillae on the left and right tip of my tongue are elongated and white. My tongue itself, in the same place, has shallow vertical cracks that hurt, esp. when exposed to toothpaste or stuff of that nature.
- I went to the Naval Hospital today. The doctor took one glance at my tongue, declared it oral thrush, and walked out. I got his assistant to go ask him a few questions for me while he was writing up my prescription for Nystatin.

Questions and given answers:
Q: Is it contagious? A: It shouldn't be, so long as I have been using the medication consistently for about two days. Also, periodically rinse with warm salt water.
Q: Could I have gotten it from my girlfriend? Through contact with her mouth or her vagina? A: The only way to tell is if my girlfriend develops similar symptoms of oral thrush.
Q: Can I transfer it back to her? A: Again, stay consistent with the medication, and "give it a few days" to be safe.

My questions to you: Were those answers correct? I wasn't able to sit down with the doctor and actually discuss with him the relationship between the fungi that cause oral thrush and vaginal yeast infections (which are supposedly the same). I personally don't think I got it from the gf this past weekend - we've been sexually active together since last year, and this is the first occurrence of its kind.

I would likely have to schedule another appointment simply to speak to another doctor on the subject, and that might not be feasible until next week. I am seeing my girlfriend again this weekend and, getting straight to the point, we kiss, we have oral sex, and we have sex. Is this a recipe for fungal disaster?

Lastly, should she visit the OBGYN for this? What are her risks? Should she be concerned? About what?

Thanks in advance for your input. I'll be checking back often so feel free to ask followup questions.
posted by crunch buttsteak to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
I'm afraid I don't have any useful concrete medical information, but fwiw I have had oral thrush (and other yeast infections) in the past as a consequence of taking medication that apparently threw things off balance. So if you have been taking antibiotics or the like lately, perhaps that is how it happened?
posted by sueinnyc at 4:11 PM on August 7, 2008

Also, I hope that you feel much better soon.
posted by sueinnyc at 4:12 PM on August 7, 2008

I got it once after going through rounds and rounds on antibiotics. It was super gross. According to my physician father it is basically a yeast infection of the mouth. Eww. So yeah, I would say oral sex is probably not a good idea. LOL As for getting it from kissing, I'm not sure.
posted by gwenlister at 4:17 PM on August 7, 2008

Best answer: If it's thrush, you probably aren't going to feel much like kissing anyway. I got it last year after undergoing a course of IV antibiotics and between the terribly salty taste in my mouse and the pain I didn't want anyone near me. Yes, it's contagious and yes, your gf can get a wicked yeast infection from you going down on her. That being said, it only takes 2 days or so of the nystatin to clear it all up.
posted by hollygoheavy at 4:51 PM on August 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks guys.

hollygoheavy, I'm not sure, maybe I caught it early? Or my case isn't so bad? There's no taste and not much pain. Nothing I can't handle, anyway. Just feels like two dozen canker sores, TBH.


If there might be a direct risk of me transmitting it to my gf then I'll definitely keep that in mind. Thank you.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 4:54 PM on August 7, 2008

Anecdotal TMI warning: a few times I was a little yeasty down there (which happens every time I take antibiotics), and my boyfriend got oral thrush. Now, I just ask for a prescrip of diflucan with any antibiotic, and we forgo that behavior if there seems to be any risk. It's icky on . . . both ends? but not harmful. Though it might feel weird, in light of this stuff, you should probably definitely skip the kissing and certainly skip oral sex.

You can try taking acidophilus daily to avoid this sort of problem in the future. She doesn't need to go to the gyno specifically. Her generally practitioner should be able to get her a diflucan prescription for her to take prophylactically. Or, she can wait and take something over the counter, but in my experience, those things don't work nearly as well.

Also, be careful of the canker sores--if they're actually cold sores, you can give her herpes through oral sex. Generally, oral sex is a bad idea if there's anything disease-y going on in your mouth.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:02 PM on August 7, 2008

Argh. General practitioner, rather.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:04 PM on August 7, 2008

Best answer: Definitely have your girlfriend get checked out for yeast--not all women exhibit the really obvious symptoms (itching, odor, discharge) when infected.

Keep that mouth AWAY from her until your infection clears up. For REAL.
posted by Anonymous at 8:38 PM on August 7, 2008

I hear oral thrush in an ostensibly otherwise healthy adult, and I think opportunistic infection incidental to HIV/AIDS. Why didn't the military doctor order up a Western Blot?
posted by orthogonality at 11:06 PM on August 7, 2008

Best answer: Just a reminder that oral thrush is very contagious. Its commonly passed between a nursing infant's mouth and the nipples of his mother. My understanding is that both parties have to take the Nystatin simultaneously to stop the circle of contagion (sp ?)
posted by AuntLisa at 10:21 AM on August 8, 2008

Response by poster: orthogonality: I hear oral thrush in an ostensibly otherwise healthy adult, and I think opportunistic infection incidental to HIV/AIDS. Why didn't the military doctor order up a Western Blot?

We're screened annually for HIV, and I know the both of us were negative when we met. I don't think that's a concern.

Thanks again, everyone. We'll get this thing worked out.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 1:00 PM on August 8, 2008

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