Yeast infection: hearing those two words together is enough to make many women feel all kinds of itchy down there. But it turns out the same type of infection, caused by a fungus called candida, can make other places in your body itch and burn as well. Great. Luckily, Kathleen Green, M.D., ob-gyn, says that yeast infections—no matter where they turn up—can usually be treated with oral prescription medication or the same cream used to treat a vaginal yeast infection.
The fungus alone isn’t the culprit, Green says, but when the yeast outgrows the other “good bacteria” in the body, that’s when an infection can form. Things that add moisture like sweating, having sex, or sitting too long in a wet bathing suit are known to create the perfect environment for yeast to thrive in the vagina. Extra moisture in other already damp, dark places in the body can cause the fungus to grow, too.
Here are some of the other random places in the body that could be affected.
#1. Yeast Infection in SKIN
Yeast infections can pop up in virtually any place on the skin that gets constant moisture, but Green says her diabetic and immunocompromised patients are typically the ones who see this happen. Because the body can’t fight off infection as quickly, doctors prescribe a prescription medication that may be stronger and have a longer course than a drugstore cream.
Yeast infections can also develop under skin folds, Green says, and a cream like Monistat will help clear up the fungus if it is only on one small part of the skin. For systemic infections that spread to larger areas, a prescription medication is usually the go-to solution.
#2. Yeast Infection in FEET
Much like athlete’s foot, an infection caused by another type of fungus (called trichophyton mentagrophytes), Green says yeast can turn up on feet, too. Sweaty socks or shoes could be to blame, so keep your feet clean and free of extra moisture to prevent yeast from growing between your toes. These are best treated with an antifungal over-the-counter cream.
#3. Yeast Infection in MOUTH
This yeast infection is common, but it’s usually only found in babies who are breast- or bottle-feeding, Green says. If they haven’t mastered swallowing yet, the milk can sit on their tongues, causing an infection. Doctors will prescribe an oral antifungal treatment to clear up the infection and white patches on the tongue that may come with it.
#4. Yeast Infection in BREASTS
Breastfeeding moms are more prone to get yeast infections on their breasts, Green says. A baby’s mouth can change the pH balance and add moisture that helps yeast grow. The infection can also occur under the breasts, caused by extra sweat. To keep the fungus from causing problems, keep the area clean and avoid staying in a sweaty sports bra too long after a workout. Like with other yeast infections on the skin, an antifungal cream will clear this up if it stays in a concentrated area. If the infection spreads, it’s time to see an M.D. to see if you need an oral prescription, Green says.
#5. Yeast Infection in ESOPHAGUS
Certain oral medications used to treat other problems in the esophagus can cause yeast to grow there. Thrush, the layman’s term for a yeast infection in the throat, typically affects immunocompromised patients, whether they are undergoing chemotherapy or have an autoimmune disease. Green says if this happens to you, see your M.D., who might prescribe an oral solution to treat the yeast quickly.
#6. Yeast Infection in BUTT
Vaginal yeast infections can spread to the butt, Green says. When women itch their vaginas and then the skin on their butts or between the cheeks, the infection can be transferred by their hands. For a yeast infection here, applying a cream like Monistat on to the skin will treat the infection. For both vaginal and anal infections, Green recommends the three-day or seven-day treatments to kill as much yeast as possible.
#7. Yeast Infection in PENIS
Green says about 15 to 20 percent of penises are colonized with yeast, and while the yeast may not always cause symptoms, sometimes itching and burning can happen because of it. Like on any part of the skin, penile yeast infections can form as added moisture from bodily fluids, like sweat, that help create a friendly environment for yeast. Working out and infrequently changing underwear ramps up chances of contracting one, and the treatment is an antifungal cream.