Aunt Vadge: yeast-like symptoms, but negative tests

A pair of hands emerge from a cave of mushrooms holding a plate of cottage cheese.

Hi Aunt Vadge,

Been having yeast discharge like flare ups since October. Went to gyno, got meds. It goes away.

But the recurrence made her do a yeast culture test. Which came back negative.

The discharge is white, sometimes yellow-ish. Gets worse before and after my period ends. There’s no strong smell or painful urination. Just really really bad irritation. Painful, red, often itchy.

I’m at a loss. I’ve tried everything.

Sincerely
SK
Age 23, Mumbai, India

__________

Dear SK,

I understand how confusing and uncomfortable these symptoms must be for you, especially with the recurrent nature after treatment and negative yeast culture.

The discharge and irritation you’re experiencing could potentially be due to a condition still yeast related – which is why the meds work for a spell – ‘invasive’ yeast. Invasive yeast can live inside tissue, but may not appear on a test result. An invisible pest.

Hormone levels play a big role in yeast infections and overgrowth, as do other factors like blood sugar and the gut microbiome. My first treatment recommendation for you tackles gut yeast – a possible reservoir for vaginal yeasts – and vaginal yeasts.

Treatment recommendation

If you’re not getting the results you’re after, I strongly recommend you schedule a consultation with our resident yeast expert, Simone Jeffries, for a personalised consultation to help determine the cause of your vaginal symptoms. She’s brilliant!

Schedule a consultation with Simone here

Your symptoms sound very uncomfortable, and without success in treatments so far, distressing. Simone will be able to help you work out where they are coming from, and provide a suitable non-drug treatment.

What else could it be?

An alterntive consideration may be another type of overgrowth, cytolytic vaginosis (CV), which can be a potential outcome of overzealous application of antibiotics and probiotics orally or vaginally.

The symptoms present much like a yeast infection, but yeast tests will be negative, though in this case, yeast treatments will have no impact.

CV will, however, be ameliorated (soothed) by menstrual bleeding, so symptoms being worse before and after – but not during – your period may be a clue.

In the meantime, try to avoid any irritants that might aggravate your symptoms. This includes perfumed products, soaps, and douches. Wear breathable cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting clothing to reduce any additional irritation to the area.

You may also like to take oatmeal baths to soothe external irritation.

Hang in there, and don’t hesitate to seek out the specialist support you need. This does not have to be your new normal, and there are strategies and treatments that can help bring relief and prevent recurrence.

Warm regards,
Aunt Vadge

References​1,2​

  1. 1.
    Chatzivasileiou P, Vyzantiadis T. Vaginal yeast colonisation: From a potential harmless condition to clinical implications and management approaches—A literature review. Mycoses. Published online May 23, 2019:638-650. doi:10.1111/myc.12920
  2. 2.
    Swidsinski A, Guschin A, Tang Q, et al. Vulvovaginal candidiasis: histologic lesions are primarily polymicrobial and invasive and do not contain biofilms. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Published online January 2019:91.e1-91.e8. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2018.10.023


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