Lupus doesn’t directly cause yeast infections, but it can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections. Some medications to treat lupus may also increase this risk.

Having lupus can make you more susceptible to infections and their related complications. As an autoimmune condition, lupus can weaken your immune system. This can increase your vulnerability to various infections, including yeast overgrowth.

Certain medications used to manage lupus, such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs, can also increase your risk of yeast infections by weakening your immune response.

If you have lupus, you may frequently experience infections in different areas of your body, such as your respiratory tract, skin, and urinary system. Yeast infections can particularly affect areas like your skin and genitals.

Read on to learn more about the connection between lupus and yeast infections, additional factors that may make you more likely to get an infection, and preventive measures to help reduce your risk.

If you have lupus, you may be more susceptible to common infections, as well as organisms that take advantage of weakened immunity, such as fungi. Fungal infections often occur when your immune system is not functioning as it should.

Your risk of yeast infections doesn’t typically depend on the type of lupus you have. It has more of a link with your overall immune system health and other contributing factors.

Lupus doesn’t usually increase your risk of a specific type of yeast infection, like oral, genital, or skin yeast infections. Instead, your risk of yeast infections relates to how lupus affects your immune system and other factors, such as medication use.

Healthcare professionals commonly prescribe corticosteroids to manage lupus. These suppress your immune system, helping to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms such as swelling, pain, and redness. You often take these medications during lupus flare-ups or when symptoms become more severe.

According to a small 2022 study among people with lupus, the use of corticosteroids correlated with an increased risk of developing fungal infections. The research also suggests a connection between lower absolute lymphocyte count and yeast infections in people with lupus. Healthcare professionals need to be aware of these potential links.

The study also notes that although an oral candidiasis infection is typically not life threatening, it can spread throughout your body, potentially leading to severe complications, especially if you have a weakened immune system.

Results of a 2021 study found that people with lupus had a higher risk of invasive fungal infections. The use of intravenous (IV) steroid therapy was the primary risk factor associated with these infections.

Several factors can contribute to or increase your risk of yeast infections. This includes:

  • taking antibiotics, especially long-term
  • having diabetes
  • wearing tight or wet clothing
  • using soaps and skin products containing harsh chemicals or irritants
  • using lubricated condoms

Women with lupus may be more likely to develop yeast infections than women without lupus.

This heightened risk is because lupus and certain medications, including steroids, can weaken your immune system, making yeast infections more likely.

Additionally, hormonal fluctuations when taking birth control pills and during pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause can make you more susceptible to yeast infections.

People with uncircumcised penises may have an increased vulnerability to yeast infections.

To minimize your risk of yeast infections, there are several things you can do. Consider these preventive measures:

  • Eat foods rich in probiotics, including miso, tempeh, and yogurt
  • Take lactobacillus supplements
  • Wash underwear in hot water
  • Wear loose-fitting underwear
  • Limit or avoid tight-fitting pants, pantyhose, tights, and leggings
  • Avoid wearing wet clothing, especially bathing suits, for extended periods of time
  • Choose clothing made from natural fabrics such as silk, cotton, and linen
  • Promptly treat any cuts or skin abrasions

To lower the likelihood of developing a vaginal yeast infection:

  • Change period products regularly
  • Avoid using scented pads and tampons
  • Refrain from douching and using scented sprays
  • Avoid sitting in hot baths or hot tubs for extended periods

The majority of yeast infections respond well to over-the-counter treatments. If you experience recurrent yeast infections, consult with a healthcare professional to discuss potential treatment options, which may involve prescription medications.

While lupus doesn’t directly cause yeast infections, there are indirect connections to consider. Lupus can weaken your immune system, potentially increasing your vulnerability to infections, including yeast infections.

This risk is higher when taking certain medications like corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs or when your immunity is weak. It’s also crucial to be mindful of other factors that may make you more prone to yeast infections and take precautions to help avoid them.