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A common yeast infection can’t cause back pain. Vaginal yeast infections commonly cause symptoms localized to the genital area, such as itching, burning, redness, and discharge. These symptoms are specific to the site of the infection and do not usually affect distant areas like the lower back.
Neither do other types of yeast infections, such as oral or skin yeast infections, cause back pain.
However, in rare cases, a systemic yeast infection also known as invasive candidiasis can lead to generalized symptoms throughout the body including joint and muscle pain. This may include back pain, but this is not a common occurrence.
Your back pain is most likely due to either a coexisting condition that causes back pain or it could be another condition that shares some symptoms with a yeast infection, such as a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or a sexually transmitted infection.
If you experience back pain along with other symptoms of a yeast infection, it is important to consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Common yeast infections do not cause back pain.
- Systemic yeast infections can cause generalized symptoms, including back pain, but this is both a rare condition and not a common symptom.
- Your back pain may be due to a coexisting condition such as a muscle strain.
- Back pain may also be due to another condition that shares some symptoms with a yeast infection such as urinary tract infection, PID, pregnancy, kidney stones, or a sexually transmitted infection.
- If you have back pain and other symptoms of a yeast infection, consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Continue reading to learn more about yeast infections and back pain and what other conditions may be causing your back pain.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Yeast Infection?
- Common Yeast Infection Symptoms
- Can a Yeast Infection Cause Back Pain?
- It Most Likely Isn’t Due to a Yeast Infection at All
- What Could Be the Cause of Your Back Pain?
- When to See a Doctor?
- In Conclusion
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?
A common yeast infection cannot cause back pain. Most yeast infections, such as those caused by Candida albicans, are localized, affecting areas like the mouth (thrush), skin, or genital region.
Yeast infections trigger an immune response at the site of infection but this response is localized and does not typically extend to other areas like the back. Therefore, the inflammation and discomfort are usually confined to the site of the yeast infection.
The only type of yeast infection that has the potential to cause back pain is a systemic yeast infection (invasive candidiasis). It is a serious and rather rare infection that happens when Candida enters the bloodstream or internal organs and causes an infection. This infection can affect various parts of the body, including the bloodstream, heart, brain, bones, eyes, and joints, and lead to a variety of symptoms including joint and muscle pain.
However, invasive candidiasis is not common and the primary risk factors are being hospitalized, having a weakened immune system, or undergoing invasive medical procedures.
It Most Likely Isn’t Due to a Yeast Infection at All
So as we’ve established, a common yeast infection cannot cause back pain, and systemic yeast infections are rare. It is most likely that your back pain is due to something else entirely.
The two more likely culprits are:
- Your back pain is due to a coexisting condition that causes back pain.
- Your back pain is due to another condition that shares some symptoms with a yeast infection.
What Could Be the Cause of Your Back Pain?
Conditions that could share some similarities with a yeast infection while also causing back pain include:
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 lower 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
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
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Certain STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can also potentially cause back pain. These infections are often accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- unusual discharge
- burning or pain when urinating
- itching or irritation around the genitals
Other causes of back pain could include:
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.
Pinching a nerve can cause back pain, but it can also result in leg pain. A herniated disk occurs when one of your disks becomes damaged and slips out of position, causing pressure on the nerves that run through your spine. When this happens, lower back pain is common, and you may experience numbness or tingling in the legs.
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.
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.
Now if you have yeast infection symptoms and back pain at the same time, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention immediately. This does not mean your back pain is anything serious – it’s just better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.
If you are experiencing back pain without other symptoms, it is still a good idea to see your doctor. Your doctor can help determine the cause of your pain and provide you with proper treatment.
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.
Both back pain and yeast infections are common conditions that can be caused by a variety of factors. However, yeast infections do not cause back pain.
If you are experiencing both symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible as it most likely indicates another underlying issue.
- Candida Albicans. Cleveland Clinic. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22961-candida-albicans.
- Vaginal Candidiasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/genital/index.html.
- 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
- Invasive Candidiasis. Cleveland Clinic. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22308-invasive-candidiasis.
- Invasive Candidiasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/invasive/index.html.
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