Vaginal yeast infections aren’t considered a sexually transmitted infection, but they can develop after vaginal intercourse.
That said, the timing may also be a coincidence. Your yeast infection may have been triggered by a number of other factors.
No matter the cause, yeast infections usually aren’t serious. They can often be treated at home.
Read on to learn more about why this happens, other potential causes, treatment options, and more.
Candida fungus is a normal part of the microscopic bacteria ecosystem in your vagina. If this fungus begins to grow uncontrollably, it may lead to a yeast infection.
Intercourse introduces bacteria from your partner’s finger or penis into your vagina’s ecosystem of bacteria and Candida. Sex toys can also transmit it.
This disruption may be enough to trigger a vaginal yeast infection.
If you have a yeast infection, it’s possible that you contracted it from your partner.
On the flipside, if you’ve engaged in sexual activity since you discovered your yeast infection, it’s possible you passed the infection to your partner.
About 15 percent of people who have penises and engage in unprotected vaginal intercourse with someone who has a vaginal yeast infection go on to develop a penile yeast infection.
It’s unclear whether partners who have a vagina experience the same level of risk.
If you believe you have a yeast infection, tell any active or recent sexual partners so they can seek treatment.
You may also consider taking a break from sex until you and any active sexual partners are symptom-free. This will prevent you from transmitting the same infection back and forth.
At least one study has shown that receiving vaginal oral sex increases your risk of vaginal yeast infections.
That’s because oral sex introduces bacteria and Candida from your partner’s mouth, tongue, and gums to your vulva. This includes your vagina, labia, and clitoris.
Your risk for infection increases if your partner has oral thrush.
If your partner goes on kiss or lick other parts of your body, these bacteria and fungi can spread elsewhere. This includes your mouth, nipples, and anus.
Although it’s possible to transmit a yeast infection through vaginal intercourse, you may be more likely to develop a yeast infection as a result of:
- irritation from wearing wet or sweaty clothing
- using fragrant cleansers on or around your genitals
- taking birth control pills, antibiotics, or corticosteroids
- having a weakened immune system
- having high blood sugar or untreated diabetes
If you’re sure you have a yeast infection, you may be able to treat it with an over-the-counter cream such as miconazole (Monistat) or butoconazole (Gynazole).
There are also home remedies you can try, though the clinical data on how effective they are is mixed.
Wearing breathable cotton underwear can help ease discomfort while you wait for your symptoms to clear. Taking warm baths with Epsom salt may also help relieve itching.
Once you’ve started treatment, your yeast infection should clear within three to seven days. Make sure you continue the full course of treatment to ensure the infection has completely cleared.
If your symptoms persist, see your doctor or other healthcare provider. They can confirm whether your symptoms are the result of a yeast infection and prescribe an oral treatment or stronger antifungal suppository.
If you don’t see improvement within a week of treatment, see your doctor or other healthcare provider. They can prescribe stronger medication to help clear the infection.
You should also see your doctor if:
- your symptoms worsen
- you get yeast infections more than four times per year
- you experience bleeding, smelly discharge, or other unusual symptoms
You can reduce your risk for vaginal yeast infections by using a condom or dental dam to minimize the spread of bacteria during sexual activity.
This can also reduce your partner’s risk of developing an oral or genital yeast infection.
You may also minimize your risk if you:
- Wear breathable cotton undergarments.
- Wash thoroughly after activities where you’re submerged in water.
- Avoid using perfumed soaps or other hygiene products on your genitals.
- Avoid douching.
- Take a daily probiotic supplement.
- Cut down on carbohydrate- and sugar-rich foods.
- Eat more Greek yogurt, as it contains bacteria that keeps yeast at bay.