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Can You Get a Yeast Infection From Sex?

Yeast infections are not sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). However, sex may contribute to them by disrupting the normal ecosystem of bacteria in the genitals that prevents Candida overgrowth.

This can cause a white discharge that resembles cottage cheese and itching. If you are infected, it is best to wait until your symptoms clear up—usually about seven days—before having sex.

Vaginal Yeast Infections

Fungus, called candida, lives in various parts of the body, including the mouth, digestive tract and vagina. Normally, other bacteria keep the Candida under control, but when certain things throw the balance off, a yeast infection can develop. Yeast infections are very common in women, and it’s estimated that 75% of them will experience one at some point.

In a vaginal yeast infection, the fungus can cause redness, swelling, itching and cottage cheese-like white discharge. The fungus can also cause pain with urination and sex, as well as a burning sensation. It’s important to see a doctor to confirm the diagnosis, especially if symptoms are severe or have been persistent for more than a few days. The doctor will take a history of the symptoms and do a pelvic exam, examining the cervix and vaginal walls for signs of infection. They might also ask to collect samples of the white discharge and send them to a lab for further testing.

Sexual activity can make a yeast infection worse by introducing extra Candida into the vagina. A lubricant, new partner or antibiotics can all upset the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina, leading to an overgrowth of fungus. Girls with a yeast infection should avoid oral or vaginal sex and shared sex toys until they are fully cleared up by a doctor.

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Oral Yeast Infections

A yeast infection is a fungal infection that can occur in the mouth, anus, or penis. It causes itching, a thick white or yellow discharge, and pain in these areas. It is also known as thrush.

Yeast infections can be caused by a fungus called Candida. This fungus is normally found in low levels in the bacteria ecosystems of our mouth, gut, skin, and vagina. But when the immune system is compromised, the fungus can overgrow and cause an infection.

Oral yeast infections are often caused by the same factors as vaginal yeast infections, including a disrupted microbiome. However, oral sex can also transfer the candida from your partner’s genitalia to your mouth, which could trigger an overgrowth of the fungus and cause a mouth yeast infection (thrush).

This is because the fungus Candida thrives in moist environments, like the vulva or penis. The same is true for the mouth. Oral sex can also cause vaginal infections because the genitalia contains bacteria that can disrupt the bacterial balance in the vulva and cause an overgrowth of fungus, which is then visible as itching or a bubbly discharge. So, it’s important to avoid sex until you have clear symptoms of an oral or vaginal yeast infection. Or, you can always use dental dams for oral sex or condoms for vaginal sex until the infection is clear up.

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Yeast Infections After Sex

While sex doesn’t cause yeast infections in itself, it can make them worse. Infections can be spread by introducing extra yeast from your partner’s finger, penis, or even a sex toy into your vaginal ecosystem and prompting an overgrowth. In addition, the friction involved in penetrative sex can cause tiny tears in the vagina that can introduce bacteria or viruses that may cause an STD. That’s why it’s always a good idea to use condoms during sexual activity, particularly if you have a yeast infection and don’t know your partner’s HIV status.

Yeast infections are more common in women, but men can get them too. They’re more likely to develop a genital yeast infection when they’re uncircumcised, taking antibiotics for a long time, or have diabetes (the excess sugar in their bodies makes yeast thrive). Yeast infections are not considered sexually transmitted, but they can be passed along during sex if you and your partner don’t practice safe sex techniques.

If you do get a yeast infection, the first step is to try over-the-counter treatments found at your drugstore. Most yeast infections clear up within a week with these treatments. If not, consult with a PlushCare doctor by phone or video chat to determine if you need prescription medication. They’ll be able to advise you on the next steps and give you a treatment plan.

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Yeast Infections After Treatment

The fungus that causes yeast infections can grow in the vagina or the penis, and it is usually easy to treat a yeast infection once you know what it is. Some symptoms of a yeast infection include extreme itching around the vulva, pain when you urinate or have sex, and cottage-cheese-like white discharge that is thick and moist. If you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor or nurse about the best treatment for you. Most women who get yeast infections can buy medicines to take by mouth or as a vaginal cream, tablet, or suppository over-the-counter (OTC). It’s important that you take these medicine for the entire time that your healthcare provider recommends, and to not have sex until the infection is gone. Yeast infection medicines can weaken latex condoms and diaphragms, so you should always use a backup method of birth control while you are using them.

You can also prevent yeast infections by practicing good hygiene, including wiping yourself correctly (front to back) after you pee and when you’re going to have sex. You should also wipe right after having sex, especially if you’re wearing tight clothing or underwear that can trap moisture around your vulva. You should also urinate as soon as you can after having sex, because urine helps to keep the balance of bacterial and yeast cells in your vulva from getting out of whack.