A yeast infection isn’t an STI (sexually transmitted infection). But certain factors can change the balance of bacteria in your vagina and cause a yeast infection.
Lube, new partners, antibiotics and oral sex can all cause Candida to grow out of control. It’s important to avoid sex until you’ve completed your treatment and your infection has cleared.
Yeast infections are usually caused by a balance being out of whack between bacteria and yeast cells. Things like sex, excess moisture, and antibiotics can throw this balance off. Yeast infections cause symptoms like itching, vaginal burning, and cottage-cheese-like white discharge. Women are more likely to get them, but men can also develop them in the groin area. Yeast infections can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, but they are not contagious in the way that STIs or STDs are.
Having sex while you have an active yeast infection can actually make it worse. This is because sexual activity can interfere with antifungal medications you’re taking, pushing them out of the vagina. You also may pass the infection to your partner if you have unprotected penetrative sex. It’s a good idea to use condoms and dental dams during sexual activity until you’re yeast-free.
Over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments, and suppositories (with clotrimazole or miconazole) are the most common ways to treat a yeast infection. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you have severe symptoms or a reoccurring yeast infection. Your doctor can give you a pelvic exam and take a sample of your vaginal discharge to send to the lab for testing. This will help them make sure you are treating the right infection. They can also rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms, such as some STDs or diabetes.
Yeast is a fungus that is normally found on the skin, in the mouth and digestive tract, and in the vagina of women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB). When the fungus grows too much and causes an infection, it’s called a yeast infection. Yeast infections can be uncomfortable. They can cause itchiness in the vagina and vulva. They can also cause a burning feeling and a thick, clumpy, white discharge.
Most people get one or more yeast infections at some point in their lives. They aren’t sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
A health care provider can diagnose a yeast infection by examining the vulva and taking a sample of the discharge. The sample is then examined under a microscope to see if there’s an overgrowth of candida. The doctor can also make a diagnosis by asking the person about their symptoms and doing a pelvic exam.
Treatment for a yeast infection often includes a vaginal cream or suppository that’s inserted into the vagina at night for three to seven days. Some of these are available without a prescription, such as clotrimazole or Monistat 3. If the person’s sex partner has a yeast infection, their health care provider may want to examine them, too. If they use condoms, the health care provider might recommend using nonlatex ones because some of these medications are oil-based and can cause latex to break down.
Yeast infections can be treated with antifungal creams and suppositories, available over the counter and with a prescription. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history and may do a pelvic exam. He or she will insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina and look at the surface of your vulva and cervix, and might also do a vaginal swab to collect cells for testing. This will determine the type of fungus causing your infection and help your doctor prescribe more effective treatment.
Often, yeast infections are caused by the Candida fungus, which is normal and part of your body’s ecosystem. However, too much of it can disrupt this balance and lead to an infection.
Some people find relief from taking a natural remedy, like tea tree oil, which can be used in a vaginal suppository or as a douche. It’s important to dilute the oil with jojoba or coconut oil before applying it to your vagina, and never use undiluted tea tree oil.
You can also prevent yeast infections by practicing good hygiene and using products that keep your genital area dry. Always wash your underwear with gentle detergents and avoid perfumed lubricants. After you use the restroom, wipe from front to back to prevent introducing more bacteria into your anus or vagina. You can also eat foods that contain probiotics, such as yogurt or a probiotic supplement, to help balance your microflora and make you less prone to infection.
If you have a yeast infection, don’t have sex until your symptoms clear up. If you do, you risk passing it on to your partner. Even if you’re on antibiotics, which kill both good and bad bacteria, it’s best to avoid vaginal contact until your symptoms are gone and your yeast infection is fully treated.
A yeast infection can be caused by a number of things, including a lack of estrogen or a change in the balance of good and bad bacteria in your vagina. It can also be caused by hormones from pregnancy, menopause or breastfeeding, and by products like vaginal sprays or douches. In some cases, a long-term yeast infection can be a sign of a larger health issue, such as diabetes or an immune system disorder.
While having sex increases the chances of getting a yeast infection, it is not considered an STI and yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter treatment. You can prevent yeast infections from happening in the future by taking a few steps, such as using a condom during penetrative sex, and by avoiding over-the-counter vaginal cleansers and douches. You should also make sure to keep your genital area as dry as possible, using cotton underwear, changing it often and avoiding excessive moisture from sweating or bathing. If you have concerns about a yeast infection, you can always reach out to a PlushCare doctor by phone or video chat to receive advice.