What is a systemic yeast infection?

You know what a yeast infection is. It is the bane of every woman's existence. However, did you know that yeast infections can be even worse? Yeast infections can become a systemic yeast infection. This means that the fungus associated with this type of infection starts to spread to other areas of your body. A systemic yeast infection can be a life-threatening condition and one that requires aggressive treatment. It is important to know about this serious infection, especially if you are prone to yeast infections.

How Does a Systemic Yeast Infection Occur?

A systemic yeast infection occurs very similar to a vaginal yeast infection. It is just that a systemic infection affects the whole body rather than just one part, such as the vagina or mouth. The fungus responsible for causing a yeast infection is very much an opportunist. So, if the environment and associated conditions are right, this fungus can flourish and cause major problems.

What are the Symptoms of a Systemic Yeast Infection?

There are general symptoms and then, because a systemic infection affects the whole body, symptoms specific to certain body systems. Some of the general symptoms include fatigue, headaches, dizziness, low blood sugar, respiratory issues, lethargy, weakness, sensory disturbances, muscle pain and chemical sensitivities.

This infection can also affect your genitourinary, gastrointestinal and dermatological systems. Some symptoms associated with these body systems include constipation and diarrhea, skin infections like ringworm and athlete's foot, bladder inflammation, flatulence, urinary tract infections, rectal itching and eczema.

This infection can even impact your psychological and emotional well-being. Some symptoms include irritability, insomnia and memory loss.

Diagnosing and Treating a Systemic Yeast Infection

In some cases, diagnosis is made simply by analyzing your symptoms. To confirm your diagnosis, your doctor will take samples of the fungus to be further evaluated under a microscope. To obtain samples of the fungus, your doctor will need to get smears or scrapings from your nails, vaginal mucosa, oral mucosa and skin.

As was stated above, a systemic yeast infection can be potentially life-threatening. In some cases, oral fluconazole (an antifungal medication) can be effective in treating this infection. However, this infection is most often treated with an intravenous medication called amphotericin B. The typical course of treatment is two weeks. In order to be given amphotericin B, you must be in the hospital because this medication must be administered in a hospital. You will get a dose of medication every 24 to 48 hours. This medication is not just pushed in quickly. It is slowly injected over a two to six hour period.

One to three hours after the infusion of this medication is started, it is possible to experience the following side effects: fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, headache, fast breathing, shaking, flushing, dizziness, vomiting and shortness of breath. To prevent these side effects, your doctor may administer other medications, such as diphenhydramine, hydrocortisone, acetaminophen or others.

If you have any of the following medical conditions tell your doctor before starting treatment with this medication: white blood cell transfusions, liver disease, heart disease or kidney disease.

You must also tell your doctor about any other medications that you take, especially the following: anti-cancer drugs, azole antifungals, cidofovir, flucytosine, potassium-lowering medications, muscle relaxants, zidovudine, kidney-affecting medications and digoxin. Tell your doctor about these before starting amphotericin B.

This is a powerful medication, but necessary to treat a systemic yeast infection. Make sure that you know what to expect before starting treatment so that you can be prepared.

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