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Yeast Infections That Don't Respond to Treatment

Q: Exactly 19 months ago, I got my first yeast infection. My doctor called it when she saw me for a pap smear, and had me use Monistat's 7-day treatment. She also told me to use cotton underwear, don't go swimming, only take showers, don't wear tight clothes, and use a condom if I have sex. A week later, it was back. I saw the doctor, and she prescribed something like Monistat, only it was by prescription. A week later, it came back. I went back to the doctor, and she didn't know what to do. So she had me tested for HIV, diabetes, and tested to see if I was deficient in any vitamins or something. No HIV, no diabetes, no vitamin/nutritional issues came back. She also asked me to explain exactly how I was using the products that she had prescribed before, and confirmed that I was doing it properly. She tried prescribing Diflucan.

The Diflucan didn't work either, and a yeast infection was back again in about a week's time. At this point my doctor was annoyed and not helpful. She gave me something like Monistat's treatment (again- even though it didn't work the first time), and sent me on my way.

Months passed, and I dealt with the symptoms of a yeast infection (which were, at times painful and always very itchy and difficult for me) almost every freaking day. For a long time, I couldn't remember a day that went by without having major issues with the symptoms. I finally went to the doctor's office again, and spoke with different doctors there, on separate occasions. They each evaluated me, and tried making suggestions. One tried having me insert a pill of boric acid into my vagina, to try to flush it out. That led to massive amounts of discharge that was equally uncomfortable and even more annoying because I had to use a pad.

Another doctor suggested that I stay away from certain foods and see if one food or another leads to more symptoms. That process takes a long time, but I keep working at it. So far, no foods make it worse. So here we are, 19 months after my first yeast infection, and I sill have it. There have been days (even periods lasting up to three days) where I remember not having so much discomfort (to the point that I thought the yeast infection might be gone!), but it ALWAYS comes back, and lately, it has gotten much worse.

My boyfriend and I haven't had sex in over a month because of this. At the beginning of June (this year), I noticed the symptoms clicked up a notch, and I saw my doctor again. She tried to really wipe it out, and had me take Diflucan once a DAY, for three days straight, and then once a week thereafter for three weeks. She also had me use a prescription 7day treatment like Monistat. Exactly 2 days after I finished using the 7day treatment, the symptoms came on stronger than ever before. It flat out hurts to be examined. I went back to the same doctor, and she examined me, and confirmed the yeast infection was back, and said that my skin was extremely tender due to the infection. She asked all the doctors in the office for a suggestion. She came back with this deep-purple colored stuff that she said she was going to "paint" onto my vagina, inside and out. She said that this is a very old fashioned treatment that people just don't bother using anymore, but she wanted to give it a shot.

Well that was about a week ago and it's back and yesterday the symptoms were pretty hardcore. The itching, the discharge (which isn't cottage cheese-like, but just thick with no odor), it's all really difficult to deal with. And the thought that I have been dealing with this for OVER A YEAR is really starting to get to me. My boyfriend and I would rarely have sex past a month ago, and there is no chance of him sleeping with other people and spreading this thing to me. It seems like I am out of options, and this is painful and no way to live. I've tried acidophilus, and I've tried eating massive amounts of plain yogurt with live cultures. Nothing has worked. Is there anything you can do or anyone that you can lead me to, to help me solve this problem?



Dr. Donnica: I am sorry to hear about your stressful condition. Unfortunately, stress itself can also exacerbate this condition. I am glad to hear that you were tested for diabetes and HIV and that those tests were negative. It sounds like you have been offered every possible treatment and nothing is working. There are only two additional suggestions I can offer you:

  1. Read the book The Yeast Connection and the Woman by Dr. W. G. Crook (available at amazon.com). Follow all of his suggestions.

  2. Read the book Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, by Dr. Robert Atkins and go to the chapter on yeast infections. He has found that women with recurrent yeast infections often respond well to his diet, which essentially eliminates ALL, processed carbohydrates (flour, sugar, starch--no bread, rice, pasta, desserts, etc) as well as eliminating other foods such as cheeses. While this approach may sound radical--especially if you are not overweight--I think it's certainly worth a try for 2-4 weeks.

With best regards,
Donnica Moore, MD
President, DrDonnica.com

Created: 7/18/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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