While back pain is not one of the most common symptoms of a yeast infection, some people may still experience it.
However, there are many potential causes of back pain, so it does not always indicate a yeast infection. Because of this, it is best to be aware of the other possibilities and use any other symptoms you have as a way to narrow down the cause of your back pain.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Yeast Infection?
- Common Yeast Infection Symptoms
- Can a Yeast Infection Cause Back Pain?
- Maybe It’s Not a Yeast Infection at All!
- What Could Be the Cause of Your Back Pain?
- When to See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
What Is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection results when the vagina experiences an overgrowth of yeast, a type of fungus belonging to the genus candida. It may also be referred to as vaginal candidiasis, candida vaginitis, or vulvovaginal candidiasis.
Yeast is naturally found on the skin and in the body, and problems only occur when it grows out of control. This can result from a diet high in sugar, using scented products near your vagina, or wearing tight-fitted and non-breathable clothing.
The most common culprit of a yeast infection is Candida albicans, but this fungus can easily be treated with antifungal medications.
Common Yeast Infection Symptoms
The most common symptoms of a yeast infection include the following:
- a clumpy, cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge
- watery vaginal discharge
- pain or discomfort when urinating or during intercourse
If the infection is severe, you may notice symptoms of swelling, redness, and cracks in the skin outside the vagina.
Can a Yeast Infection Cause Back Pain?
While back pain may not accompany every case of a yeast infection, it is a possible symptom.
The yeast infection doesn’t actually affect your back, though, despite some people feeling pain here. Instead, the burning, swelling, and general discomfort experienced from this type of infection can extend to the pelvic area, which may then translate to lower back pain.
Maybe It’s Not a Yeast Infection at All!
If you’re experiencing back pain from a yeast infection, it will likely be only low back pain. However, this is not a symptom that everyone with a yeast infection experiences, so you will want to look for other symptoms of a yeast infection to determine if your back pain is from this, or something else.
Furthermore, if your back pain is located in your mid or upper back, it is likely from another cause, and determining the cause can help you address it and find relief.
What Could Be the Cause of Your Back Pain?
A yeast infection is not the only possible cause of your back pain, with the following being alternative options:
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Caused by bacterial infection of the bladder (and potentially the kidneys), a UTI may cause low back pain in addition to the following symptoms:
- burning or pain when urinating
- frequent and urgent needs to pee
- difficulty fully emptying the bladder
If you have unusual discharge and low back pain, another potential cause is pregnancy. However, while pregnancy can cause vaginal discharge to increase in volume, it shouldn’t appear clumpy and cottage cheese-like in the way that a yeast infection will.
If you are sexually active and think you might be pregnant, an at-home test or visit with your doctor can help determine if this is the cause of your back pain.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
This condition occurs when the upper genital tract (which comprises the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus) becomes infected. While it can affect women of any age, it is most common in those under the age of 25.
PID can cause pain around the pelvis, which may radiate to the back. Other symptoms include:
- yellow or green vaginal discharge
- pain when urinating
Sprain or Strain
The back is composed of various ligaments, muscles, and tendons, and an injury to one of them can cause back pain. For example, lifting something improperly or twisting your back too much may cause a sprain, which leaves you with back pain until it heals.
Recognizable by its side-to-side curving, scoliosis causes the spine to be misaligned. This then causes your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to extend in ways they shouldn’t, which can cause back pain.
Arthritis results in inflammation of the joints in the spine, neck, or pelvis, meaning you may feel this pain at any point in your back. There are many potential contributors to arthritis, including autoimmune disorders, wear and tear, and infection.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the back, and while it can affect any part of the back, it is most common in the neck and lower back. In addition to back pain, those with arthritis may also experience stiffness.
Kidney stones are hard deposits of salts and minerals that form inside the kidneys. They can be painful, especially when it comes time to pass them, and they can sometimes present with back pain.
If your back pain is from a kidney stone, you will often feel sharp and severe pain on one side of your lower back or on one side below the ribs. Sometimes this pain may also radiate to the groin and lower abdomen, generally coming in waves.
Other symptoms of a kidney stone include:
- pain or burning when urinating
- cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- brown, pink, or red urine
When to See a Doctor?
If you suspect a yeast infection, it’s best to see a doctor to get medication. OTC varieties are available, but they’re not recommended unless you’re certain that you have a yeast infection.
Your doctor can prescribe you antifungal medication, which is usually available as a tablet, ointment, cream, or suppository.
If your symptoms do not improve after treatment, visit your doctor again to see about stronger treatment options.
How Can DrHouse Help You?
DrHouse is an online telehealth platform that connects patients to experienced healthcare professionals. Our doctors can provide a diagnosis, recommend the best treatment plan for you and even prescribe medication when necessary.
With us, you can get the medical advice that you need without having to wait in line or make an appointment with a doctor. You can see an online doctor within just 15 minutes from the comfort of your own home.
DrHouse understands that yeast infections can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and sometimes even difficult to treat. That’s why we’re here to make sure you get the best medical advice and treatment available for your condition.
Back pain is one of the most common ailments within the general population and can range from a dull, constant ache to sharp and sudden pain. Not only that, but the part of your back affected can also vary.
Sometimes, back pain is not due to a problem with the back itself but another condition with pain radiating to the back. This is the case with a yeast infection, which may cause pelvic pain that extends to the low back.
However, unless you also have a cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge or other symptoms of a yeast infection, your back pain is likely from another cause. Knowing what is causing your back pain is crucial for treating it, as applying treatment for a yeast infection will not help those with back pain from another cause.
If you’re experiencing back pain, reach out to an online doctor for quick and convenient guidance that can help you get to the bottom of your pain.
- Sobel, J. (2018). Patient education: Vaginal yeast infection (Beyond the Basics) – UpToDate. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c182047b98a7863185b26e9/t/5c2ec371b8a045dd90ffb4a3/1546568561672/Vaginal+Yeast+Infections.pdf
- Yadav, L., & Yadav, R. (2022). Prevalence of vaginal yeast infections in pregnant and non-pregnant women attending at Gynecology and Obstetrics Department of the tertiary care center in Central region of Nepal. Microbes And Infectious Diseases, 0(0), 0-0. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.21608/mid.2022.123756.1250
- Low Back Pain – OrthoInfo – AAOS. (2023). https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/low-back-pain
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). (2023). https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/pelvic-inflammatory-disease?utm_source=redirect&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=otn
- Vaginal discharge. (2020). https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/vaginal-discharge/
- Bladder Infection (Urinary Tract Infection—UTI) in Adults – NIDDK. (2023) https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-infection-uti-in-adults