When You Have Sex With A Yeast Infection, This Is What Happens

If you're a woman, you're statistically likely to experience a yeast infection at some point, according to WebMD. But could you have sex with an active yeast infection? Technically, you could. However, engaging in sex while dealing with a yeast infection might not feel good physically, doesn't move along the healing process, and could cause problems for your sex partner.

To gain a better understanding of what happens when you engage in sex while you have a yeast infection, you should first learn about the condition. 

Mount Sinai outlines that a yeast infection is caused by a growth of a fungus called Candida albicans within the vagina. This fungus is found throughout the body but becomes a problem when it begins to multiply beyond normal parameters. As the fungus grows and spreads inside the vaginal walls, it begins to make itself known through several unpleasant symptoms.

What are common yeast infection red flags? Per Johns Hopkins Medicine, burning and itching inside the vagina (with or without a thick white or yellow discharge) are top indicators. Some women with yeast infections experience reddening of the tissues around the vaginal opening, too.

Even if you're dealing with these unpleasant symptoms, you can still have the desire for sex. If that's the case, you need to know what to expect if you go through with intercourse.

How a yeast infection interferes with healthy sex

Ideally, sex should be a pleasurable activity that has physical and emotional rewards for you and your partner. When you have a yeast infection, you risk interfering with that pleasure.

For one, you may find sex to be uncomfortable or even painful, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After all, your vaginal wall is in a more vulnerable state when they're affected by a yeast infection. As such, they're more sensitive to the natural friction that's a part of intercourse. Therefore, you could wind up magnifying all your itching, burning, and tenderness, as well as making it more difficult for your sensitive vaginal tissues to recover.

If feeling physically uncomfortable isn't enough of a deterrent, remind yourself that you could put your partner in a similarly uncomfortable position. Yeast infections have been known to spread between partners during sex. While the Mayo Clinic explains that yeast infections in men are less common than they are in women, they can and do happen as a result of unprotected sex with a partner who has an active yeast infection. 

Even mouth-to-vagina oral sex isn't a safer option. Yeast infections can spread orally, leading to a condition called thrush, which the Cleveland Clinic describes as causing white lesion patches inside the mouth. And if you kiss your partner and your partner has thrush, you could end up with thrush, too. In that case, you'd have a double whammy of a yeast infection in two places.

How to prevent and treat a yeast infection

Ultimately, it may be healthier to put your bedroom activities on hold until your yeast infection clears up. Unless you have a complicated yeast infection (described by the Mayo Clinic as one that causes severe reactions, is recurrent, or occurs concurrently with other medical conditions like pregnancy), you can treat your infection with over-the-counter antifungal topical medicines or prescription pills. You should feel better within two weeks if you do, explains Healthline. At that point, you can resume sex.

If your yeast infection doesn't go away, contact your primary healthcare provider. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), diseases of the skin, and bacterial vaginosis (BV) can all mirror the hallmark symptoms of yeast infections, as WebMD notes. Getting medical advice will help you know for sure whether a yeast infection is what's causing your issues.

To limit future yeast infections, try some of the tips outlined in a 2021 article from the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health. These include wearing underwear made from breathable fabrics, avoiding tights and other hosiery, removing wet swimwear promptly, and eliminating your use of douches. Since antibiotics have been linked to yeast infections according to Healthline reporting, consider taking a yeast infection-fighting probiotic whenever you're prescribed antibiotics.

As you and your partner wait, look for alternative ways to get close. like taking a walk or making a meal together. When you're able to resume your sex life, you'll be able to enjoy it without reservation or discomfort.