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Avatar universal

Fungal infection

First of all, I am a male, in his mid-40s, who is relatively healthy except for a positive diagnosis of Hepatitis B (but that is not what this post is about). I have been dealing with what I believe is a fungal infection since beginning of August. I had a sexual encounter a week before that. It was with a woman I did not know very well. We had sexual intercourse with a condom, and there was no oral sex. I asked her to penetrate anally, to try something new, and she did that, while wearing some kind of latex glove. We were in her bathroom which was wet from a shower.

Anyway, about a week later, I experienced a redness and itching at my penis head and anus, which also affected my left leg and foot. The left leg and foot also itched, burned, and tingled, although there were no outward signs of any lesions. I immediately went to the doctor and had a full STD panel of tests done - Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Trichomoniasis - all came back negative.

The pain in my left foot got so bad I could barely walk or stand. I bought Clotrimazole cream from the pharmacy and applied on my penis and anus, and suddenly the left foot no longer tingled or had pain. I followed the directions for a few weeks applying the cream twice a day morning and night. I also used Apple Cider Vinegar as an anti-fungal wash. By the time October came, I was symptom-free in my foot and my groin, so I put it all down to a fungal infection of some kind.

October was great, I was back to normal. Then November came, and the leg/foot pain came back with a vengeance. I had slacked off on using the Clotrimazole because of the lack of symptoms, although I was still wiping my skin with the Apple Cider Vinegar.

Now it is Nov 23, and I have been plagued with left leg and foot pain. It is not as bad as before when I could barely stand, but it is still there, and the fact that the pain is still there means I still have a fungal infection.

Recently, my doctor said I have a candida infection, and gave me Diflucan (flucanozole) to take for 10 days. I just finished it and there was no apparent effect. Now, I'm not so sure it is a fungal infection. Urine and blood analyses done back in August showed no bacteria in the blood or urine. Could it still be a bacterial infection?

I am still going through various anti-fungal topicals - Clotrimazole, Miconzole, Tonaflate, etc. and they work to some extent, but the pain doesn't completely go away like it did before. I even started taking Caprylic acid supplements.

Any ideas on what else this could be besides a fungal infection? If it is a fungal infection, what other treatments are there? Enemas? Nystatin?

Thank you.

195 Responses
1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
We don't have doctors on these sites but I can advice you. One thing I want to mention is that some strains of Candida albicans are resistant to fluconiazole. So, using terbinafine (Lamisil cream) should work if that is what it is. But the best thing to do is to have your doctor have it cultured. They can do a skin scraping of an area and send it to the lab. That way you don't just keep using many different medications. If it isn't Candida albicans some of the other yeasts are very resistant and you really need to know what it is. Usually, fungi cause a lot of itching and not pain. The way you describe your pain sounds like sciatic ir some type of nerve pain. Perhaps you pinched the nerve the day you had the sexual activity. So, you may have more than one thing going on here.
This is starting place. Hope this helps.
mkh9
Avatar universal
Thank you, mkh9. While the Diflucan didn't do anything, I found that a lotion from Vitamin Shoppe store worked very well. It has 1% Tolnaftate, which is something I never used before. Within an hour of applying that lotion, my left leg/foot stopped hurting. So, I have to believe there is a connection. I will continue to use the Tolnaftate.I'm only day two into the lotion and see real results.

This is definitely a fungal infection.

Do you think I still need to get a culture?
1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
See how this goes. If it goes away great if not get the culture. I wouldn't put vinegar on your skin any more as that can disrupt the normal skin bacteria (flora) and long chain fatty acids on the skin which can help fight off fungi. I'm not sure why the fungi is causing pain rather than itching. But, if it works that is good.
mkh9
Avatar universal
Actually I realized my left foot has a pinhole in the sole from stepping on a nail a few years ago. And a few months ago I was walking barefoot in a public shower at a gym. It could be the fungus from that rather any sexual activity.

When I apply Tolnaftate cream on the sole of my left foot, the pain goes away. After several hours the pain comes back, and I am guessing the fungus is growing back. My question is, will I have to do this for the rest of my life, or will the fungus (or whatever is kept in check by the Tolnaftate) eventually die off?
1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
If the growth on the foot is a fungus it should die off provided
1. that it is sensitive to the topical you are using.
2. that your shoes or other places you are stepping don't keep contaminating the foot/feet.

It is easy to keep getting fungus on the feet because fungi are in the dirt and around the house and in the environment. Try to keep your feet clean and dry. The fungi don't like being dry. Putting talc in your sock or shoes might help. If you belong to a gym wear flip flops in the shower etc. Keep the floor of your shower clean. It is hard to get rid of fungi. I get them as well as most people. It may be an off an on thing.

Once you have the right treatment it should be gone in a week. If not you should see a doctor. Or, try terbinifine (Lamisil). It is the only thing that works for me and my husband. My doctor has it too. LOL.

mkh9
Avatar universal
Thank you again for your response mkh9. Actually, this is strange. Rubbing Tolnaftate cream on the sole of the foot does help it to start hurting. But I do need to apply it around the anal area as well. If I don't, there is an internal warmth building up in my left leg. Once I do, it is gone. So I believe the fungus or whatever is growing in two areas.

I completely agree with you about keeping the foot clean. My foot pain is worse in the day because I have to wear socks and it gets fungal build-up. At home in the evening I walk around barefoot and it is much better.

But, I never had this problem throughout my entire life until a few months ago. i walked on some nasty floors before barefoot and it hasn't affected me.

Do you think the fungus is reproducing from within me, and is only causing pain when it reaches the extremities (anus and foot)?

I am going to take caprylic acid supplements as an internal anti-fungal. Do you think that would be effective?
1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
I think your problem is superficial because if it is a fungus and the only reason it seems to be is that the anti-fungal creams work for the dermatopytes. Dermatophytes don't live inside the body. They live on hair, skin and nails and are external fungi. But you could have a yeast. Until you get tested you really don't know. It can't hurt to take the caprylic acid to see what happens but it won't help internally. It has a lot of saturated fat which isn't good for you but temporarily you could try it. I don't recommend it myself but if you want to try it for a couple of weeks that is up to you. It can work on some yeast and maybe fungi as well as some bacteria. I hope it doesn't cause any problems with your normal bowel flora (bacteria).
mkh9
Avatar universal
Again, thank you for helping me out mkh9. I want to say yesterday (Sunday) has been the first day without any kind of pain. I rubbed tea tree oil on the sole of my foot and around the anal area. Today marks the second day. Do you know much about tea tree oil? Does it kill fungus?
1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
Actually, yes it does. Here is a technical article but I gave it to you to prove that it does have some antifungal properties. It works better on some strains of yeast and dermatophytes than others.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9055360

so the fact that it is helping to me means that it is probably a fungus and that the other antifungal you used was ineffective. That is good news.

mkh9
Avatar universal
That's good to know. So my regimen includes tea tree oil, but is not entirely limited to it. I also still use the Tolnaftate lotion, and I started taking Caprylic acid capsules and cranberry pills. The Caprylic acid capsules supposedly will attack the fungus inside. i do believe it helps. What do you think about it?

The anal area and my leg/foot still gets itchy and tingly after some time passes, so I have to continue with the tea tree oil/anti-fungal lotion.

1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
There seems to be some antibacterial and antifungal properties with the Caprylic acid.  I don't know how many studies have been done on it but is sounds like it also can work on this.
mkh9
Avatar universal
mhk9, I want to say your input is a great comfort to me in this rather scary period for me. Scary because I fear this may go on for years. I'm glad you're here to walk me through all this, and your educated advice is very helpful.

What is the cycle of regrowth of these dermatophytes? Today I felt pretty clear because I have been applying the tea tree oil every few hours. If I don't, the pain/itchiness will come back to my anus and left foot. Is this a regimen I will have to live with for the rest of my life? Is there nothing that can kill all these micro-organisms permanently? I'm only 7 days into the tea tree oil, so would you say 4 weeks is long enough to see if the TTO will kill all the fungi forever? Is that how long it takes?

Thank you, and sorry for all the questions.
1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
The dermatophytes grow to full potential so to speak in a few days. But they can start regrowing in hours. I think the problem is that the TTO isn't killing them off rather it is fugalstatic (keeping them at bay). If you had it cultured and find exactly which species it is which yeast or which fungus then you can determine the best treatment plan. There are some yeast that are very resistant and need different antifungal medication and some fungi are different than others. So that is why it is best to have it cultured rather than just treating the fungus. Also, trying to keep the environment as clean as possible with bleach and dry. For example with the shower my friend uses her overhead shower fan and then gets out and drys down the shower each time instead of letting it dry on its own. I can't do that myself at this point due to a back injury but I think it is a good idea. Also, keep your feet dry and you can use non talc powder on the groin area and feet to try to keep the area dry.  Pat dry the anal area with a towel after showering and wash all the towels and dry.  Dryness is important. If you can find which fungus you won't have to keep treating you will kill if off. It may return at some point but at least you can use possibly the right treatment. Environmental organisms are hard to control.  If your skin loses its long chain fatty acids from too much showering that is not good either. So depending on how dry your skin is you may think of showering every other day unless you jog or something like that. Just some suggestions.
mkh9
Avatar universal
Hello, I should clarify my symptoms. Starting the Sunday of December 7, which is the first day I used tea tree oil, my symptoms went down significantly.Every few hours I do apply to keep the pain at bay. However, the pain is less intense and less frequent than before using the TTO. I would say there is progress in terms of overall affliction of symptoms.

While I am looking to get a culture of my particular fungal infection, what I am also thinking is that every time I wipe my skin down with TTO that I may miss an area or pocket of fungus. So, it keeps growing back. I'm thinking about getting a basin and filling it with TTO and water, and then dunking  my foot or my butt in it for a period of time. It's hard to get ALL the areas that have fungal growth on them. Any area I missed will of course experience re-growth.

What do you think of this approach?

Also, since the severity of the symptoms have lessened since using the tea tree oil, would you consider that progress? I guess in my last post I was lamenting that there are still even symptoms, but I should clarify that they are indeed much less.

Thank you again.

1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
I'm glad that the TTO is working so well. It is possible that you are missing a spot here and there. But I still think it is fungistatic rather than killing it totally off. But if you see a decline over all and you think it is going away that is good. It has only been about a week so that is not too bad. I am not up on the idea of "dunking your butt" in the TTO" because it might irritate the sensitive parts of you and possibly cause more harm than good. So, that is my view on it. Are you trying to avoid a oral antifungal? or did you already try one and it failed? I can't recall. Still if you do get the culture you would have to stop the TTO for a while. I don't know how long. Because it may interfere with the culture. So that is something to think about too. The oral antifungals are hard on the liver.
mkh9
Avatar universal
Yes I tried Diflucan which is the only antifungal approved by my gastroenterologist. I did take Diflucan for 10 days but it seemed to have no effect. In my research I noticed Nystatin bypasses the liver so that might be a possibility. If Nystatin fails to work, I don't have any more oral antifungals I can take.

I understand I have to let the fungus grow to get a culture sample taken of it. My doctor is on vacation until January, so I have to wait until then to get that done.

There are other topicals I have not used - Terbafine, etc. I'm sure they would work,but for now I'm sticking to TTO and Tolnaftate, although I think the latter is really fungistatic (TTO too perhaps).

1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
Terbinifine would work better than the diflucan because the fungi are often resistant to it. Yes I would just wait until after the holidays if you can. Maybe it will be gone. If not then you can try the Terbinifine and go from there.  They have oral terbinifine tablets as well and that might be better since it is in more than one place. I'm not sure since it is in the anal area whether you should use a topical on that. I just don't have that background. To me if you do it would be only on the outside. But i would prefer you ask you doctor about that. I am not qualified to make that kind of decision. Also a pharmacist may answer that question.You would have to be specific with them.

mkh9
Avatar universal
Hello mkh9,

Happy Holidays! I hope you and your family are doing well this season. I appreciate your internet presence on my post.

Lately the symptoms (leg/foot pain, anal itching) are still there, but they come and go and are very mild. I did dunk my butt in a tub of TTO and water for a few days. It did help a lot.

However, I have stopped using tea tree oil altogether because I believe the skin around my anus got irritated from the TTO - rash, very itchy, scaly. I have been applying aloe vera gel and moisturizer instead to restore the skin. I also made the mistake of exposing my penis and foreskin to diluted TTO - the foreskin swelled up to the point I could hardly retract it to urinate! It was a little alarming. But in a few days the swelling went down. So, I am really leery of using TTO now.

But in the last couple of days my anus, scrotum, and penis started burning and got very itchy. It was so itchy a couple of nights ago I couldn't even sleep my anus was so itchy. Then I got this idea that I might have pinworms instead of fungus. Because the anus itched at night at bedtime and not during the day. I thought, this could be the dermatitis from the TTO  or that I had pinworms all along, and that the TTO was keeping the pinworms at bay.

So, I went and bought clove oil and mixed that with the aloe vera gel. That clove oil burned when I applied it on my buttocks and anal area, but the itchiness went away. I read that clove oil kills pinworm eggs, which are laid at night (thus the itchiness at night).

Before going to see the doctor about this (I have an appointment with her on Jan 6 when she gets back from vacation), and get prescription medication for pinworm (which I'm not sure I even have) - I'm going to try some natural/home remedies such as clove oil, garlic, etc.The few times that I did use clove oil did really take away the anal itchiness. Subsequently, the penile and scrotal burning and itchiness went away too.

So, pinworms instead of fungus? Or both? What do you think?



1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
Happy holidays to you too. Although it sounds like you have been very unconfortable indeed!  I did mention that I didn't think you could use those solutions on your private parts. It is too irritating. I think that you have both a fungus and possible pin worm. You need to get tested for it. They do a pin worm "paddle" or scotch tape method first think in the morning. They give you a paddle with scotch tape on it and first thing in the early morning you put the paddle on the anal area press and remove it and cover it with the tape they give you so the laboratory doesn't get it too. This is when the pinworm comes out. We can see the classic eggs under the microscope. They can then give you the right medication. You will then have to change yoru clothes and bedding and then I think in a week repeat the process. The pinworm wouldn't be the reason for the leg/foot pain. I would ask about that. I think the herbal meds might help topically but not get all of them out internally. So I would go with what treatment they give you in my opinion, if you have it.
mkh9
Avatar universal
Okay, I will get tested for pinworm. I think the leg/foot pain is from fungal infection via the nail hole in the sole.

Yes, you did warn me about dunking myself in TTO. I am pretty desperate to get rid of whatever I am afflicted with.

What do you think about the consumption of diatomaceous earth for either fungal or pinworm infection?

1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
I don't think you should try the diatomaceous earth for pinworm it is something you need strong meds for. If you have it knock out with a good antiparasitic. You probably will need one dose then clean everything as I think I mentioned then in a week I think you have to repeat it again meds and cleaning. I don't think so for the fungal infection either. Not for the anal area. I would see if they have some topical other than fluconazole for this. Or at least ask about what they have for that area other than fluconazole for the anal area.
mkh9
1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
Be sure to tell them the fluconazole didn't work. Also regarding your feet/foot. Did you say you tried Terbinafine on the foot? If you did it takes a week to work.
mkh9
Avatar universal
Today has been a practically pain-free day. It's a break-through day for me. No leg/foot pain, just some mild anal itching that came up around 6:00 pm in the evening - but the itching comes and goes on a momentary basis.

I haven't been using tea tree oil on the anal area at all. I used to wipe TTO there undiluted and I think that is what caused the rash/skin irritation. The tub was filled with 9 liters of water per 3/4 teaspoon of TTO. I still use the tub to soak my foot twice a day. But because of the direct TTO wiping I have chafed skin around my anus. It is prickly and I think that's where the itchiness comes from, rather than pinworms.

Last night, for the first time I did make a salve out of virgin coconut oil, garlic powder, and clove oil. Coconut oil -> supposedly anti-fungal, garlic -> supposedly anti-fungal, clove oil -> supposedly pinworm/egg killer. I wiped that around the anal opening before going to bed. There was some slight itchiness but overall not nearly as bad as a few nights ago.

But today has been stellar. Related? Who knows. I'll do the same thing tonight and see. I'm beginning to think I don't have pinworms at all.

I did tell the doctor before that the Fluconazole tablets did not work, and she seemed surprised by this. While she was away on vacation, I went back to that physicians group and another doctor said to take the Fluconazole for a longer period. I never tried a Fluconazole topical. The topicals I used were Tolnaftate, Miconozole, and Clotrimazole, and they all helped a lot.

I haven't used Terbafine but I have confidence in it, and will save it in my arsenal when the need arises. It's good to know what other solutions are out there to turn to.

The foot still aches a little, especially toward the front of the sole where the nail went in. It seems some unsavory biological microorganism got in there. But it is much better than when I first posted on this site.

I'm not totally ruling out pinworms, but I will wait and see with a skeptical eye if that is the case. The anal itching feels like it could be pinworms but could also be extreme skin irritation, dryness, and rash.













1415174 tn?1453243103
COMMUNITY LEADER
Glad you are feeling better. I hope it keeps up!
mkh9
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