Everything you need to know about yeast infections and sex

A yeast infection is an incredibly common fungal infection — WebMD estimates that 75% of women will experience at least one yeast infection in their lifetime and 40% to 45% will experience more than one.

A yeast infection is typically caused by a change in the vaginal pH levels, but not only individuals with vaginas get them. Symptoms of a vulvovaginal yeast infection include:

  Itching, burning, or irritation of the vagina or vulva, which is the tissue surrounding the vagina

  Pain or soreness in the vagina or the vaginal opening

  Vaginal burning with intercourse or urination

  A thick, white, odorless discharge that resembles cottage cheese, or a watery discharge


“Yeast infections tend to occur frequently in women whose immune systems may be impaired — from conditions like diabetes, pregnancy, and HIV — but also through antibiotic use, taking oral contraceptives and hormone therapies which increase estrogen levels,” Dr. Gaither told INSIDER.  Additionally, yeast infections can also be caused by sitting in wet bathing suits or workout clothes for prolonged periods of time since moisture can cause the bacteria to develop. Treatment for yeast infections is generally pretty simple, but experts don’t have a unanimous decision on whether or not you should abstain from sex while the infection resolves. Dr. Gaither said, with treatment, it usually takes one to two weeks for a yeast infection to resolve. During this time, she advises her patients to refrain from intercourse. 

Apart from the fact that it is recommended to refrain from intercourse because of health aspects, most women have less libido during a yeast infection. They cannot enjoy sex as usual and also most of them are ashamed to do it because of vaginal discharge. Some men don’t have a problem with that, but some of them find it unappetizing so a lot of women lose their confidence and avoid having intercourse, being scared they will be judged. Medical conditions that can cause a complicated yeast infection include pregnancy, uncontrolled diabetes, having a weakened immune system, and the presence of an alternate Candida fungus, as opposed to Candida albicans.

In men, it affects the head of the penis. Symptoms include redness, irritation, and discharge. It can also affect the skin or the mouth.

There are two ways to treat an uncomplicated yeast infection: Direct vaginal therapy or oral treatment. When treating an uncomplicated yeast infection, a short-course of vaginal therapy is normally sufficient.

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