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Is it safe to have sex during a vaginal yeast infection?

Vaginal yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection. But you may wonder if it is safe to have sex when you have a vaginal yeast infection.
Couple having sex
Sex may not be so healthy during a yeast infection. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 17 Oct 2023, 18:31 pm IST
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A vaginal yeast infection leads to pain, a burning sensation and itchiness. Your doctor may give you an antifungal ointment or you might try home remedies to treat vaginal yeast infection. But there are a few things that may not be clear in your mind. For instance, you may have doubts whether you can have sex during a yeast infection or not. Or if you do, will you can pass on the yeast infection to your partner?

Health Shots connected with Dr Seema Sharma, Associate Director of Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh, to get you the answers to your questions on yeast infection and sex.

What is yeast infection?

Vaginal yeast infection is also called yeast vaginitis or vaginal candidiasis. It is a common problem in women, says Dr Sharma. It is a condition caused by an overgrowth of a fungus that lives in the vagina. The infection mostly occurs in women who are menstruating. It is less common in postmenopausal women who do not use estrogen-containing hormone therapy. It is rare in girls who have not yet started menstruating.

Diagram of a vagina
Protect yourself from a vaginal yeast infection. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Sex and yeast infection

The good thing is that a vaginal yeast infection, which is primarily caused by candida albicans, is not a sexually transmitted infection, says the expert. In fact, it can even occur in women who have never had sex. But yes, it is more common in women who are sexually active. Women with diabetes are also at a higher risk of yeast infections, especially if the blood sugar level is not controlled. Yeast infections are also common in women who have a weakened immune system due to HIV or use of certain medications like steroids, chemotherapy or post-organ transplant medications. You should avoid sex while having a yeast infection because –

• It may get transmitted to your partner
• Having sex during a yeast infection can be painful
• It may worsen your symptoms
• It may increase healing time

Even inserting anything into the vagina can introduce new bacteria, and make your infection more severe. So, it’s not just your partner but also a sex toy or your own fingers that you need to stay away from.

Will a condom help?

You can reduce your risk for yeast infection by using a condom to minimise the spread of bacteria during sex. Every female body is different, and it also depends on when you are having sex. A condom is a barrier that prevents the semen from affecting the natural pH level of the vagina during sex, says Dr Sharma. It is important to understand that having sex with a yeast infection may only prolong symptoms like itchiness, inflammation, and burning.

Woman holding a condom and looking at a man
It may be best to avoid sex during a yeast infection. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Take a break from sex during yeast infection

If you are diagnosed with a yeast infection, the doctor will likely prescribe an anti-fungal medication. So, it can be a cream, an ointment or a tablet. The medication will need to be applied to the affected area or taken orally depending upon the severity of the infection.

The expert says that most yeast infections go away within a few days of starting the treatment. Generally, you can have sex five to seven days after completing the vaginal yeast infection treatment.

But you may still feel itchy and irritated down there, even after the infection is gone. If you do not get better within a few days after finishing treatment, call your doctor for advice.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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