At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is a Severe Yeast Infection?

A. Pasbjerg
A. Pasbjerg

A yeast infection occurs when levels of the fungus candida albicans, which exists naturally on the human body, become excessive and overgrown. In some cases, the overgrowth becomes a severe yeast infection, where the amount of yeast is so high it becomes painful and difficult to cure. These infections can occur in many places in the body, including the mouth, skin, or intestines, though they are commonly associated with the vagina in women. They may result from an existing infection that is left untreated, or because a person's immune system in unable to effectively fight off the excess yeast. Infections that reach this level of severity generally require medical treatment to clear them up.

While a normal yeast infection is often merely itchy and irritating, a severe yeast infection is normally far more uncomfortable and debilitating. It is often extremely painful, causing swelling, intense itching, and a burning sensation. Depending where in the body it occurs, the infection can also lead to other issues like throat lesions and difficulty swallowing, leaky gut syndrome, or painful urination. Women with vaginal infections will typically notice a thick, strong-smelling discharge, and often experience pain during sexual intercourse. Severe yeast infections tend to be difficult to treat, often lasting more than a week; they may also tend to recur over and over.


A yeast infection may become severe for a variety of reasons. People with compromised immune systems or autoimmune diseases may be unable to fight off a normal yeast infection easily. Those with diabetes are also often susceptible. An infection that is left untreated may progress into a severe yeast infection. Improper treatment may also be to blame; for example, if the issue is misdiagnosed and antibiotics are given, this can aggravate the condition and make it worse.

Treatment of a severe yeast infection typically requires a doctor's assistance. Often, prescription-strength medication is necessary to clear them; Diflucan is one common drug that may be used and can be given at different strengths depending on the severity of the infection. There is a possibility that a person can become immune to certain drugs if they are used excessively, however, so doctors may have patients alternate medications if infections are recurring. Some over-the-counter medications may be useful as well, but patients should usually consult with their doctor before starting treatment to ensure they are taking the best course of action.

Discussion Comments


I had a nasty, nasty yeast infection a few years ago, after I had day surgery. I was on some kind of high powered antibiotics and I had a terrible time. I got one of those high-priced one treatment OTC vaginal suppository things, and it only helped a little. I called my surgeon and his nurse called in some Diflucan for me. I had to take the stuff for a *week* to knock out the infection!

I had terrible burning during urination, and I just hurt! I was so sore and tender from the inflammation that I put vaginal wipes in the fridge and then used them like cold compresses. I cannot begin to say how miserable I was until the meds kicked in.


To me, the itching and burning alone make even a "mild" yeast infection a severe one. I tend to get them when I've been on a round of antibiotics.

Usually, I just ask my doctor to give me a scrip for Diflucan when I get an antibiotics scrip. l get it filled and then, after about three days on the antibiotics, I take a Diflucan and usually don't have any problems. That's a relief, since the OTC remedies just don't work quickly enough for me.

Even though I'm a diabetic, I am not prone to yeast infections unless I'm taking antibiotics.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Nurse