Just Itching to Share the News

So I get this e-mail from Web Editor Tara Dairman one day asking me if I’ve ever had any experience with diabetes-related yeast infections and would I like to blog about it.

"You want me," I zapped back, "to tell the world about my itchy hooha?"

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I thought about it and, in the spirit of being up-front about what it’s like to live with diabetes, decided to go for it.

If any one thing causes me to try and keep my blood glucose under control, it’s to avoid yeast infections which, for about a three-year period back in the day, would absolutely not go away. I itched. I burned. I wriggled and scratched. I wished sandpaper was absorbent and came in a roll. I treated and treated and treated with over-the-counter creams that were formerly available only by prescription. I applied a cream that a doctor prescribed for me. It soothed the itch, but didn’t cure the infection.

It wasn’t until I switched to a female doctor that I finally got somebody who really understood what I was going through. It was a time when Diflucan (fluconazole) was new and the general wisdom was that you need only take one pill, and voila!

Not with diabetes, you don’t. Yeast loves sugar, and I was very sweet in those days. The doc prescribed two pills and a prescription vaginal cream. It took two courses of that for the yeast infection to go away.

And stop snickering, guys: You can get diabetes-related yeast infections, too. In fact, I know of one man who was diagnosed with diabetes when his “little friend,” as he called it, got a red, itchy rash that wouldn’t go away.

Now comes news from a study in India that, in women with diabetes, a 14-day course of using boric acid vaginal suppositories is better at clearing up yeast infections than one Diflucan tablet. (Heck, I coulda told ‘em that one Diflucan won’t work!) At any rate, the researchers found that the cure rate was 64% for women with Candida glabrata infections (a type of yeast infection more common in women with diabetes) who used the suppositories versus a 29% cure rate in those who took one Diflucan.

With my blood glucose under control now, my main risk factor for getting yeast infections is taking antibiotics. I had a particularly bad one a couple of years ago when I got a snakebite while substituting for a fifth-grade teacher. (That’ll teach me to take dares from 10-year-olds!) The school corporation insisted that I go to a doctor, who insisted that I take some major antibiotics. The antibiotics did a number on my stomach and contributed to a raging vaginal yeast infection. I should have just nodded my head and skipped the drugs. It was only a scratch and I immediately washed and disinfected. Well, actually, I shouldn’t have taken the dare to pick up the snake, but what fun is that?

Guys, you can also pick up yeast infections from your partner, so keep away until the lady is over it. While the man may be symptom-free, he can still reinfect his partner, leading the two of you to keep passing the infection back and forth.

Also, my neighbor the med student says that many yeast infections stem from sexual relations when the man hasn’t practiced good hygiene, so wash your “little friend” off good before frolicking.

And keep that blood glucose down. Like a stray kitten or puppy, if you feed it, it’ll keep coming back.

  • Gma

    Don’t forget that you can also get yeast infections under your breasts and just about anywhere else your skin touches your skin.. I was at my wits end with the problem of constant yeast infections under my breats and my doctor did not seem to know what to do except prescribe medication, when his nurse stepped in and told me she had the same problem and cleans her skin with a mixture of vinigaer and water then uses antiperspirants under her breasts and in the crack between her butt cheeks. I am so grateful for her help. It works very well for me.

  • aivey

    Diflucan is a wonder drug for me because I am alergic to all of the over the counter yeast meds they are like pouring acid on my “hooha” to quote Jan. I totally agree with Jan about the “one dose”. This has never worked for me. After 6 months of the one dose treatments every few weeks my doc decided to do a two dose treament, 3 months later I was still climbing the walls what we found is a low dose Diflucan for 5 days will do the trick. On day six I felt like a new woman, I had been in discomfort for the better part of a year. My best suggestion to everyone is to remind your doctors that you are diabetic and this means you need to treat any infection very agressivly and diabetics don’t fit in to any mold each of us are different. I have found that if you have a problem and the doctor is not giving you a solution you agree with, research research research and bring to your doctor printouts and articles of other methods and discuss other options to better health but be reasonable!!!

  • Ephrenia

    GMA – Thank you! I have lost 70 lbs and the hanging skin under my belly was having the problems you described. I had already started using antiperspirant there. I wondered if this was “normal” but hadn’t yet asked my Dr about it (long story, but I now have a new Dr I think I can work with much better)

    On a funnier note – before I was DXD, I had a THING growing in my toilet that nothing would kill. I thought it was my well water. NO! It was being fed by my sugar spill! After getting my blood sugars to normal ranges, it just withered away. CREEPY!

  • Country Hick

    I thought that sprinkling baby powder on the places where my skin touches other skin prevented the problem.

    I have always eaten yogurt to help get rid of the problem.

  • bonnie daputra

    I was having a hard time with yeast infection and doctor told me to Caldence powered and as long as use I do not have a problem. After surgery I had it even in the wound and this was the only thing that got rid of it.

  • GMA

    What is Caldence powered? And where do you by it?

  • Joan

    Well, from reading so many comments about yeast infections on this Comment Board, and elsewhere I have one comment. The “meds” are usually a cover up; not necessarily a cure!! A persons with diabetes should seek a better method of control of their condition is my suggestion for less complications of all kinds. Of course it not easy but possible if we educate ourselves. Watch the daily carb intake (leave junk food alone), have ratio of insulin to carbs that works best for the individual (each of us must tweak our daily routine), shower daily, and educate ourselves so that we understand our individual metabolic system dealing with diabetes.

    In 1967 a doctor told me to stop taking tub baths and only shower. The Doc had Type I and said “you gals” need to especially use this method (the female plumbing environment needs special care). Since 1967 I have not had one yeast infection. Type I diabetic since 1957!

  • Babbs227

    I have to disagree with the keep your sugar under control comment. I have very good control (my A1C is less than 5) and I’m miserable with this burning and itching being described. It is part of the reason I went to the doctor in the first place when I was Dx’d. That and my vision. I work in a lab and was afraid maybe I picked up herpes or something like that there as we have all sorts of people coming in. I was never tested for that and all my doctor said was it looked really irritated. Well, I’ve had this itching and burning for almost 2 years now. I’m Vagisils best customer. I go through at least 3 tubes a week. Over the counter creams just seem to irritate it more. It has never gone away. If anyone has any other suggestions I’d be ever so grateful. It’s driving me crazy. I’ve searched the web for this Caldence powdered and can find nothing. I’ve tried the pill you spoke of but only 1 (that’s all the doctor prescribed). That didn’t work either. Help me out here.

  • acampbell

    Babbs227,
    Make sure you see a gynecologist and ask to be tested for other conditions, such as bacterial vaginosis (which is actually more common than yeast infections), trichomonas, lichen sclerosis and lichen planus. Not all itching is due to a yeast infection. A good resource for you is “The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health”, written by Elizabeth Stewart, MD. Bring the book with you to the doctor, if he or she isn’t familiar with these conditions.

  • Jan Chait

    Babbs227, acampbell (DSM blogger Amy Campbell) gave you some very good advice: See a gynecologist and ask to be tested. I can also empathize with you, since I had a long-term vaginal infection, too. It’s miserable! As I said in my blog, I get two Diflucans and a prescription vaginal gel, which is Metrogel (Metronidazole vaginal gel). Thankfully, it’s been a long time since I’ve needed any. Also, after my long-term bout with a vaginal yeast infection it took two courses of the treatment. I also saw some references to boric acid suppositories in a medical research site. Keying “boric acid vaginal suppositories” into Google came up with a list of references, too.

  • fredpat@frontiernet.net

    Can someone help me find this Caldence powder? Please! I am wondering if is what is in calamine lotion? Thank you for your help. Redhead!

  • bonnie saputra

    the powder is Caldesene is a Zinc Oxide/Talc it works great for yeast infection to prevent them. I use everyday when I shower. Bonnie Saputra

  • ritu

    I am also having vaginal infections since an year and its painfui.I am a type I(on insulin).My sugar levels will go high with infection,i’ll take more insulin,and the day it goes normal,i’ll go into hypoglycemia(because of high insulin).next day agin the infection will flare up(cause of hayway sugar levels).I am taking Candid V6 or candizole,it takes 2 packets i.e.. 12 days for it to get controlled.Are there any antibiotics to control it?The infection flares up with one high reading(above 200).Don’t how and where it will stop.Any suggestions??

  • colorado

    I don’t see any recent posts, but I have some questions from my fellow female diabetics. I have been a diabetic for 24 years, last 2 on the pump. I am in the best control of my life. I have been married for 19 years and our sex life is better then ever. My problem is that when we get a weekend without the kids and have great vigorous sex, I end up with a yeast infection. All I get from my PCP is a lecture about my blood sugars, they are not perfect, but like I said really good. Does anyone have suggestions for preventing the yeast infection in the first place so I don’t feel like I am being punished!

  • toshia

    Caldense baby powder is a mircle worker. It helps to reduce redness, rashes, and sweats from occuring. I know from experience when nothing cleared up my daughter’s terrible diaper rash until Caldense was suggested by a good friend, her bottom was cleared within 3 days

  • butterfly103

    I am a 26 year old that has been diagnosed since 1989 with type ! insulin dependent diabetes. I was actually diagnosed because of a yeast infection when I was 7 years old. I had a great A1C when I was younger and still got yeast infections, since I was so young I was prescribed to use Lotramin AF while at diabetes summer camp. It worked wonderfully till I started having significantly higher A1C’s(up in the 16’s)as soon as I was around 12 years old. The only thing that corrected my A1C was an insulin pump. It allowed me to compete in gymnastic tournaments and cheerleading competitions, with out worrying about severe low’s and high’s. I started using Diflucan as my treatment then. I found out if I took 1 high dose pill at first and 1 low dose pill exactly a week later, my yeast infections went away. I hope this can help some other women out there ’cause suffering with continual yeast infections until I was 20 was horrible. My mom jokes that it stopped me from “being sexually active till I was in college though”, I was too embarrassed to do much more than kiss of course. I guess things always have away of working out. Good luck to all you others though!

  • pizzafarmer

    I am a male yeast infection sufferer. I was having very bad infections and tried all manner of over the counter yeast treatments without any relief at all. After a visit to my (female) PCP she suggested Lotramin AF Spray – It works like a dream.

  • Lucy

    Thank you so much for posting this blog about yeast infections. I had never heard about this being a problem with diabetes until I had it and could not get it to go away. I now use monistat 7 daily by just smearing it on and I feel almost normal again.

    Thanks again for your blog. So many people benefit from it.

  • Glen Hopkins

    Thanks for sharing a very informative article. I also have a mild skin disorder that can be triggered by allergens, thus I am finding ways on how to manage it. I am glad that I found this blog, I got some ideas in managing health problems.

  • PAT

    Recently sugars reading are all over the place. Plan on speaking to the dr soon. Anyho I had a yeast infection about 4 of 6 years ago. (Type 2) Diflucan did not work for me. I had more success with over the counter creams. At present time I need to visit the store again. I know better than to stratch though.

  • Kay Lain

    For yeast infections, I use bayberry herb as a tea and drink a glass of Apple cider vinegar in water (about two teaspoons). I take these two daily and it usually keeps it at bay.

  • stephanieInisNYC

    I have suffered every month, for years with a yeast problem. Avoiding sex, chocolate and wine were hardly a solution for me!!!!!!!!

    These are the important ingredients you should be taking:

    1. Eat yogurt & cereal on an empty stomach.

    2. Take an acidophillus supplement with grapefruit. I take the Lady Soma Candida Supplement which has all the ingredients you need. After about 2 weeks of taking the Lady Soma Candida Pills each morning with pure grapefruit juice, I started to notice I wasn’t miserable below my belly button, if you catch my drift.

    This made me NORMAL. Hooooray!

  • DJ

    Another suggestion Im surprised nobody has mentioned from an RX side is Nystatin. It works amazing on candida issues be it male or female. As a nurse Ive seen it used on many of my diabetics both as treatment and as prophylactic (primarily as a powder but also comes in creams and ointments) its pretty effective across the board and seems to work wonders even for myself. Male 40 with Type II but take supplemental insulin (high doses, not kidding were talking 5X standard sliding scale numbers usually). Anyway just wanted to add that as food for thought (no pun intended fellow DM sufferers).

  • John

    For Ms. Colorado, keep in mind, ejaculate has sugar in it. And not just normal sugar, but a sugar that is very easily processed by the sperm for energy. So every time you have intercourse, your husband is giving you a 1/2 tsp of sugary goo ( I apologize for the visual). You are already prone to this infection if your blood sugar rises. So it may very we’ll be controlled almost all the time, but in that area, your dumping quite a lot of sugar to the region. Not to mention if your husband has elevated blood sugar at the slightest at the time of intercourse. My wife and I had issues over this very thing. Her solution, Vaginal condom…and almost 2 years later with not one episode after a good weekend. Hope this helps.