December 13, 2020/Sex & Relationships

Can I Have Sex When I Have a Yeast Infection?

The short answer from an obstetrician/gynecologist

man and woman afectionate in bed

If I have a yeast infection, can I still have sex? Or should I avoid it until the infection clears up?

A: It’s best to avoid having vaginal sex, receiving oral sex or putting anything in your vagina until your yeast infection goes away.

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

With a yeast infection, you’re likely to experience a range of unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms like vaginal irritation, itching and a white, clumpy, odorless vaginal discharge. Yeast infections also cause vulvar swelling and redness. In some cases when the vulva is affected you may see little or no discharge but can still develop tiny “cuts” around the clitoris, vaginal opening or vulva.

The friction from having sex can create even more irritation in those areas. This can make both sex and urination more painful. It can also make your infection much more difficult to heal.

Another reason to avoid sex while you have a yeast infection is that some topical solutions used to treat them contain oil, which can cause a condom to break. Yeast infections generally aren’t contagious, but when a condom breaks you increase your risk of getting pregnant.

For these reasons, it’s best to let your infection heal first. Treatment is available with over-the-counter antifungal medications such as miconazole (Monistat®), vaginal Terconazole cream (Terazole®) or oral fluconazole pills (Diflucan®). If you’re taking these, read the labels to review any side effects.

Make sure you keep the infection area clean at all times by rinsing with water only. Avoid feminine cleansing products since many of these can cause even more irritation, she adds.

For uncomfortable vulvar itching, you can find relief with a mild over-the-counter steroid ointment which generally contains between 1% and 2% hydrocortisone.

Ob/Gyn Oluwatosin Goje, MD

Advertisement

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Person holding cup, with larger tongue covered in thrush
May 14, 2024/Oral Health
How To Get Rid of Thrush: 8 Remedies

From baking soda to lemon juice, you probably have several home remedies in your fridge that can help with this fungal infection

Teen lying on bed holding cell phone up reading it
May 9, 2024/Parenting
Sexting: The Risks and How To Talk to Your Children About It

Sexting has become all too common among kids, putting them at risk for bullying, blackmailing and human trafficking

Male and female in embrace in foreground with contraception choices circling in background
February 2, 2024/Sex & Relationships
What You Should Know About Safe Sex Practices

‘Safer sex’ means STI prevention, avoiding unintended pregnancies and psychologically safe practices for everyone

person showing hickey on their neck
January 4, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
How To Get Rid of Your Hickey, Fast

This type of bruise might benefit from warm compresses, but time is really the healing key

Closeup of a toddler with a yeast infection in their armpit.
October 12, 2023/Primary Care
Where Can You Get a Yeast Infection on Your Body?

Your face? Your armpits? Your butt? Yes, yeast infections can affect many parts of your body

person covering face in bed in embarrassment
October 1, 2023/Sex & Relationships
Untimely Toots: Why You Fart During Sex

It’s perfectly normal for gas pockets to ‘evacuate’ during the motions of sex

woman holding baby while talking to doctor
September 4, 2023/Pregnancy & Childbirth
Breastfeeding? Yes, You Can Still Get Pregnant

Popular myth says breastfeeding prevents pregnancy, but that’s not the whole story

person in bed holding head with headache
Can an Orgasm Cause a Headache?

Yes, especially if you get migraines — but medicine can help

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey

Ad