Yeast Infection and Sex: What You Should Know

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of Candida and cause uncomfortable symptoms like vaginal pain and itching. Treatment for yeast infections involve prescription medications or home remedies. Sex is not recommended during a yeast infection for a number of reasons, including discomfort and the spreading of the infection.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know and explain how long to wait for sex after the yeast infection treatment.

What is a yeast infection?

Yeast infections are a type of fungal infection that affects the vagina. This type of infection is caused by an overgrowth of Candida. Candida is typically not harmful in its natural form, but when it is thrown off balance it can grow rapidly, causing issues. Yeast infections cause burning, itching, swelling, and redness of the vagina and vulva.

Can a yeast infection cause infertility?

When yeast infections recur frequently, they can begin to affect the cervical mucus and lead to fertility issues in women. Although it is possible for men to get yeast infections, they are much more common in women. Higher estrogen levels (such as during pregnancy or while taking hormonal birth control) place women at an increased risk of developing a yeast infection.

Can a yeast infection go away?

Yes, yeast infections go away with treatment, and sometimes they even go away on their own. Depending on the severity of the infection and the treatment method, it can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks for a yeast infection to go away.

How long does a yeast infection last?

A mild yeast infection may clear up in as little as three days. More severe yeast infections can take longer to go away, sometimes needing one to two weeks of treatment. Yeast infections sometimes clear up on their own, however, symptoms can become more severe and uncomfortable if you do not move forward with treatment.

Yeast infection symptoms

Common symptoms of a yeast infection include:

  • Itching and/or burning in and around the vagina;
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge;
  • Swelling and redness in and around the vagina;
  • Fragile skin and small cuts on the vulva;
  • Painful urination;
  • Pain during sex.

If you experience symptoms of a yeast infection, it is important to see your health care provider as soon as you can. Since yeast infection symptoms are similar to those of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), your doctor will want to rule out other possible causes to determine an accurate diagnosis.

Why do you get yeast infections?

There are many reasons why the vaginal bacteria can become out of balance, leading to a yeast infection. Certain risk factors might make you more likely to develop a yeast infection. Common causes of yeast infections include:

  • Antibiotics. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat infections, but they can also kill good bacteria that helps to keep the yeast growth normal. When these good bacteria die, it becomes hard for your body to prevent yeast overgrowth, leading to a yeast infection.
  • Hormonal shifts. When the hormones change (such as during or after pregnancy) the balance of candida can be thrown off, causing a yeast infection.
  • Poorly managed diabetes. Elevated blood sugar can impact the bacteria of the vagina and cause a yeast overgrowth.
  • Weakened immune system. Medications used to treat HIV and AIDS can weaken the immune system and lead to yeast infections.
  • Frequent unprotected sex. Yeast infections are not considered an STD, but frequent sex can irritate the bacteria of the vagina and cause a yeast infection.
  • Certain condom ingredients. Although condoms are usually a good method to help prevent yeast infections, certain ingredients in condoms (such as glycerin) can interfere with the pH balance of the vagina and lead to a yeast infection. If you think you may be getting yeast infections because of condoms, try using a different brand.

Can you get a yeast infection after having sex?

Yes, it is possible to get a yeast infection following sex. Even though yeast infections are not a sexually transmitted disease, sex can introduce foreign bacteria to your vagina and lead to a yeast infection. It is also possible for a man to get a yeast infection from having sex with a woman who is currently infected with one. Yeast infections can cause pain and discomfort that may be exacerbated with sex.

Yeast infection treatment

Yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter topical treatments or prescription antifungal pills. A common over-the-counter treatment for yeast infections is monistat. Monistat is a topical antifungal cream that is designed to be placed in the vagina. It usually starts to work within 24 hours, but may take up to 3 days to work.

Some common prescription antifungal medications that may be prescribed for a yeast infection include fluconazole (Diflucan). When taking fluconazole for vaginal yeast infections, symptoms should improve within 7 days, but it can take up to 2 weeks to fully heal the infection.

When it comes to yeast infections, it is best if you visit your doctor. Your doctor can confirm that it is a yeast infection that is causing symptoms and point you toward the best treatment option. However, if you decide to use OTC medication (for e.g., Monistat or Fluconazole), here is something you should be aware of:

Monistat 1

You might question how long does Monistat 1 stay inside your system. Monistat is designed to stay inside the vagina for 7 days when treating vaginal yeast infections. This makes it easy to use since you don't have to worry about reapplying it. For most people, Monistat 1 will start working after 24 hours, but it could take up to 3 days. If you do not feel any improvement after 3 days, then you should let your healthcare provider know.

Fluconazole (Diflucan)

It can take up to 1 to 2 weeks for fluconazole (Diflucan) to work for treating a yeast infection. If you do not notice any symptom improvement after 7 days of taking fluconazole (Diflucan) then you should talk with your healthcare provider.

How long after a yeast infection treatment can you have sex?

Typically, it is recommended to wait until your yeast infection has fully healed before having sex. Having sex during a yeast infection can increase irritation and cause the infection to spread between partners. It is best to wait until the infection has fully cleared up before having sex again.

After taking Diflucan

It is recommended to wait at least 7 days before having sex when you are taking Diflucan for a yeast infection. You should pay attention to your symptoms and wait until the infection has fully resolved before having sex, sometimes this takes longer than 7 days.

After taking Monistat

Wait at least 7 days to have sex again if you are using Monistat to treat a yeast infection. If your symptoms have not cleared up after 7 days, you should consult with your healthcare provider about an alternative treatment, and you should continue to avoid having sex until the infection has healed.

How to get rid of yeast infections

Usually the fastest and most effective way to get rid of a yeast infection is with a topical treatment like Monistat. There are some at-home remedies that may help with a yeast infection. Examples include:

  • Taking probiotics or eating foods that contain them (such as yogurt);
  • Boric acid supplements;
  • Oregano oil;
  • Apple cider vinegar;
  • Garlic.

Yeast infection after sex prevention tips

To prevent getting a yeast infection after sex, try the following tips:

  • Use condoms during sex;
  • Keep the vagina area clean and dry;
  • Rinse or clean the vagina with only water (soaps and other products can throw off the pH and cause irritation);
  • Wear breathable underwear.

Is it a yeast infection or STD?

Yeast infections and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have similar symptoms. To determine the difference, your doctor can test you for some common STDs to determine a diagnosis. If you are tested for STDs and those tests come back negative, then you probably have a yeast infection. The only way to know for sure if you have a yeast infection rather than an STD is to get tested by your doctor. It is important to get tested for STDs so that you can notify your sexual partner(s) if a test comes back positive.

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