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.

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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.

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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. 

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Ob/Gyn Oluwatosin Goje, MD

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