You really don't know the meaning of the word
bummer until you’ve had a yeast infection. They're the worst — just so uncomfortable! Thinking about it is upsetting my vagina. So, having sex while you have one might not be the most ideal thing in the world, but hey, let's be honest. Hormones are powerful and wily things, and sometimes the mood strikes at the most inconvenient times. If that sounds familiar, you've probably wondered: Can you have sex with a yeast infection? And, if so, what's the safest way to, ya know, get it on.
Well, that's actually a great question! And one you probably didn't learn the answer to in sex ed, so I'm so very glad you asked. But since this is a question for a medical professional, and I'm, well,
not a medical professional, I reached out to obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Sheila Loanzon for her advice on how to handle this potentially awkward situation. First of all, I wanted to know if it's even safe to have sex with a yeast infection, and, if so, if there are any extra precautions you should take to protect both you and your partner. Here's what she had to say.
Can you have sex with a yeast infection?
Long story short, as Dr. Loanzon tells Elite Daily, “Yes, [you] can have intercourse with a yeast infection.” However, she warns that doing so can be an uncomfortable or even painful experience, explaining that, “Patients often claim a ‘dry' feeling when there is a yeast infection which can cause feelings of lack of lubrication or pelvic pain during intercourse.” So, yeah, that’s something to keep in mind.
As for what having unprotected sex while you have a yeast infection means for your partner, that is a little less clear, because, “while a yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection,” says Dr. Loanzon, “it is not uncommon for partners to note a rash on their penis when their partner has a yeast infection.” She adds that, while there is evidence that your partner will not need any kind of treatment, that it’s “controversial.” So, your best bet is to make sure that you are using protection, even if typically your birth control methods are different. On that note...
What precautions should you take?
According to Dr. Loanzon, there are no specific safe sex precautions to take when you have a yeast infection apart from the standard STD prevention precautions.
Taking precautions is especially important if you are going to have sex while you have a yeast infection, because things can get really itchy, and, as
gynecologist Rosanna Gray-Swain explained to Everyday Health, “if there are scratches on the vulva, this can increase the risk of an STD infection."
So, while you
can have sex with a yeast infection, it may be a better idea to abstain for a few days while you treat it. In fact, Dr. Loanzon says, “I generally recommend that patients abstain from intercourse for several days after taking the treatment for a yeast infection. This will allow for the vaginal pH to rebalance and prevent recurrence of symptoms.” Listen, I get it, abstaining is probably not the advice that you were hoping for, but if your yeast infection is a repeat offender, waiting might be worth it. While we’re on the subject of treatment...
If you suspect you have a yeast infection, here's what to do.
If you’ve had a yeast infection in the past, and you start to feel the all-too-familiar symptoms, Dr. Loanzon says you you should still resist the urge to self diagnose. “I would recommend a visit to a health care provider for confirmation given the nonspecific nature of vaginitis symptoms,” she says. Her reasoning is that it’s really easy to confuse a simple yeast infection with something more serious, explaining, “A yeast infection can feel very similar to bacterial vaginosis symptoms as well as a UTI. Patients are notorious for self diagnosing with the wrong infection and thus the infection does not get treated appropriately and in fact, can be made worse.” By seeking medical assistance, it will allow for “targeted treatment, decrease buying over-the-counter medications that are inappropriate, and the patient will get relief of their symptoms.” Ugh, the faster the better!
So there you have it, folks. Can you have sex with a yeast infection? Yes! Should you? Probably not. But sometimes things happen, so just be sure to protect yourself and your partner by proceeding safely (AKA with a condom! And probably some lube, TBH) and with caution.
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