Yeast infections (Candidiasis) are common but unpleasant conditions. They are caused by Candida, a yeast, and are responsible for a plethora of symptoms such as inflammation, soreness, irritation, itching, and vaginal discharge. The important question that many women with yeast infections ask is: do you need to halt your sex life when you have a yeast infection? In this article, you will learn about the impact of yeast infection on your sex life and the things you need to discuss with your partner if you are experiencing this condition.
What are the Symptoms of a Yeast Infection?
Before discussing the details regarding sex and yeast infections, it is important to develop a good understanding of what a yeast infection is. Many people mistake other vaginal conditions for yeast infections. Some of the symptoms of a yeast infection are:
- Inflammation, itching, burning, or redness of the vulva or the vagina
- A vaginal rash, pain, or soreness
- A burning sensation during sex or urination
- Thick white vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese and does not have an odor
Although these are the commonest symptoms of a yeast infection, other conditions, such as bacterial vaginosis (BV), sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also have similar symptoms.
If you are uncertain about your diagnosis, paying close attention to the vaginal discharge can help. A white, odorless, cottage cheese-like discharge only occurs in yeast infections. BV presents with a thin gray, white, or green discharge with a “fishy” smell.
If you are still confused, talk to your primary care physician or an OB-GYN for getting the correct diagnosis and for advice on the best course of yeast infection treatment. You may be given prescription medications or ointments. If you prefer using home remedies, you can consider OTC treatments such as miconazole cream or Terconazole cream which are applied topically on the vagina. You can also opt for oral fluconazole tablets.
Can Yeast Infections Be Transmitted Through Sexual Intercourse?
Many women are concerned about whether their yeast infection may be transmitted to their partner. Unfortunately, the infection is contagious through oral and vaginal intercourse and direct contact. However, the degree of risk involved is strongly dependent upon the partner’s anatomy. A partner with a penis has a lower risk of getting a yeast infection than a partner with a vagina. Even with female partners, the risk of transmission is quite low, but most people prefer to abstain from sex to avoid this risk. If you choose to have sex despite having a yeast infection, you should inform your partner about the infection and the risks involved.
What are the Risks Associated with Sex When You Have a Yeast Infection?
It is recommended that you abstain from sex if you have a yeast infection. This is because of the increased risk of worsening symptoms. For example, during a yeast infection, vaginal or vulvar irritation can lead to the development of small cuts in the vagina. Not only is the irritation and pain exacerbated during vaginal sex but the healing process is also slowed down due to the worsening of inflammation. When you have a yeast infection, the ideal course of action is to avoid placing anything into the vagina except treatments. Other things, such as sex toys and fingers, can worsen the infection.
Many women with yeast infections opt to abstain from sex because of the discomfort associated with the infection. Friction during vaginal intercourse when you have this infection can become painful so many physicians recommend waiting for the infection to clear before having intercourse.
Are Yeast Infections Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)?
Yeast infections are not considered STIs, but they can pass to your partner through sexual contact. In addition to this risk, avoiding sex when you are experiencing a yeast infection is also important because yeast infections increase the chances of developing STIs. This is because if you have any breaks in your skin, such as cuts, the STI can easily access your bloodstream. Moreover, yeast infections also increase the chances of getting pregnant because topical appointments often contain chemicals that increase the risk of condom breaking.
Can You Have Sex If You Have a Yeast Infection?
If you have an active yeast infection, you should avoid both oral and vaginal sex until the symptoms subside. Although it may be difficult to put your sex life on hold, doing so will ensure that you stay healthy, heal faster, and have fewer complications. You can discuss other options with your partner as you heal but it is best to avoid any sexual contact involving the vagina.
If you are experiencing a chronic yeast infection, it may be difficult to wait for the infection to heal. In this case, you can discuss with your doctor the different ways you can have sex safely despite having a yeast infection.
How Long Does a Yeast Infection Last?
Luckily yeast infections do not usually last a long time so you will not have to wait much before resuming your sex life. Good personal hygiene and OTC or prescription treatment help eliminate the infection within four to seven days. Boosting your immunity and taking vaginal probiotics can speed up the healing process and prevent future infections.
If your infection does not clear up, talk to your doctor to discuss alternative treatments such as prescription antifungal medications and antibiotics.