While stress can’t directly give you yeast infections, it can be a risk factor for developing them. Learn how the two are connected.

young woman with work stress who has a yeast infectionShare on Pinterest
Getty Images/JLco – Julia Amaral

A yeast infection occurs when a usual fungus (typically Candida albicans) found in the vagina, mouth, skin, and intestines grows out of control. When this happens, you may experience symptoms like clumpy vaginal discharge, soreness, pain, or a burning sensation during urination.

Stress can take a major toll on your physical health — so if you’ve been under a lot of pressure and suddenly developed a yeast infection, you might wonder if the two events are connected.

Here’s what you need to know about the link between stress and yeast infections.

Learn more about yeast infections.

While an overgrowth of fungus is the actual cause of yeast infections, stress is often a significant factor in whether your immune system can keep the fungus in check.

Stress can weaken your immune system, making you more prone to infection. A 2020 study showed that among the participants, women with stress, anxiety, and depression had higher levels of vaginal yeast infections.

Another reason stress could fuel yeast infections: When you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which elevates blood sugar. Since sugar feeds Candida, this can also contribute to an overgrowth of the fungus.

Yeast infections can develop due to many causes. Some of the reasons you might experience a vaginal yeast infection include:

If you frequently experience yeast infections, you can identify them on your own. Symptoms can include:

A doctor can help confirm whether you have a yeast infection. During an appointment, they will likely perform a physical exam and take a vaginal swab, which a healthcare professional will analyze to identify the fungus causing your infection.

Treatment for a vaginal yeast infection may depend on its severity. You can treat some infections effectively with home remedies, but many of them require over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication.

A course of medication for a yeast infection can last anywhere from 1 to 14 days. These can come in the form of pills, suppositories, or creams. Common prescriptions include:

  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • Butoconazole (Gynazole)
  • Miconazole (Monistat)
  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin)
  • Terconazole (Terazol)

Some yeast infections respond to home treatment — and even if a home remedy doesn’t clear your infection, it could help you feel more comfortable in the meantime.


Research has yet to show that probiotic foods or supplements effectively treat yeast infections, but some strains have promise. Lactoferrin and lactobacillimay be especially useful in restoring the balance of yeast to bacteria in the vagina, for example.

Coconut oil

Some people experience relief from vaginal itchiness and soreness by applying coconut oil topically. Besides its soothing texture, coconut oil appears to have antifungal activity, helping reduce Candida overgrowth.

Oregano essential oil

Like coconut oil, the essential oil of oregano might help clear a yeast infection because of its ability to kill fungi. Rather than applying this oil to the vaginal area, Experts recommend using it as aromatherapy or taking it in capsule form.

Stress reduction

Reducing your stress levels might not be a quick fix for warding off yeast infections, but it could reduce their frequency over time. A 2019 research review found that stress-reducing psychological interventions improved overall immune health.

Depending on the treatment, many yeast infections can resolve within about 2 weeks. Mild infections may go away with home treatment or OTC medications, but more serious cases may require prescription medication.

If you’ve been dealing with symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection for longer than a week or two, get treatment from your healthcare professional.

Why am I suddenly getting yeast infections?

Changes to your stress levels, personal hygiene, or hormones could lead to a sudden uptick in the likelihood of yeast infections.

What’s the fastest way to get rid of a yeast infection?

Medicated creams or oral pills may help you get rid of a yeast infection faster than home remedies. As part of some 2016 guidelines for medical practice, one study found that either a single dose or a 3-day dose of the antifungal medication fluconazole effectively treated 90% of uncomplicated vaginal yeast infections.

What causes recurrent yeast infections?

A variety of factors underlie frequent yeast infections, including unmanaged diabetes, certain antibiotics, and a weakened immune system. If you experience recurrent yeast infections, talk with your doctor about what’s causing them.

Stress may not directly cause yeast infections, but it’s definitely a factor in their development. Taking steps to minimize stress (such as practicing mindfulness, taking time for yourself, or engaging in regular exercise) could ultimately strengthen your immune system, leading to fewer yeast infections.