Healthcare provider talking with patient about yeast infection after sex

Yeast Infection After Sex: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Medically reviewed on Aug 29, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Yeast infections are highly common. An estimated 75% of girls and women will contract one in their lifetime.1 Though they are easily treated, having sex with an active vaginal yeast infection can result in a partner getting one too.

In general, however, it’s more common to get a yeast infection, also known as ‘vaginal thrush’, from other sources—like spending too much time in exercise clothes after a workout—than it is to contract one from a sexual partner. If you do develop a yeast infection after sex, the condition remains treatable so long as both partners seek care from a healthcare provider.

Knowing how the condition manifests and how to care for it effectively is the first step in keeping you and your sexual partner(s) healthy. If you’re concerned about developing a yeast infection after sex, the following guide will help ease your mind and aid in finding proper treatment fast.

Can You Get a Yeast Infection from Sex?

Yeast infections can be transmitted through sexual contact between partners. However, because there are other ways to develop an infection, yeast infections are not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI). [1] Although they have plenty in common and share similar symptoms, understanding the differences between an STD vs. yeast infection is important for getting proper treatment.

If you think you have contracted a yeast infection from a sexual partner, it’s important to seek care from a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Proper management of a yeast infection can help:

  • Ensure you’re appropriately diagnosed – Proper diagnosis helps rule out STIs whose symptoms resemble a yeast infection.
  • Enable your partner to get treated – Effectively treating a yeast infection helps minimize both of your chances of developing the infection again. It can also help limit future or other partners’ exposure, if applicable.
  • Reduce rates of recurrence – Sexual activity can also be a cause of recurrent yeast infections. Nearly 50% of people with vaginas who get yeast infections will get another one or more in their lifetime. Diagnosing and treating a yeast infection under medical supervision can help you make behavioral changes that may reduce your risk of recurrence.

If you're sexually active and have contracted a vaginal infection, you may also be asking, “can you have sex with a yeast infection?” It's best to receive proper treatment before engaging in sexual intercourse or activity.

What Causes Yeast Infections?

Unlike most STIs, which are usually caused by bacteria or a virus, yeast infections are caused by a fungus. The fungus most commonly responsible for yeast infections is candida albicans.

The body naturally carries fungal cultures, as many strains of fungus prefer warm, moisture-rich environments. [2] Most of the time, the bacteria in or around the genitals does a good job at keeping fungus from growing out of control. But, if you have a yeast infection, it indicates the candida in your body has overgrown. [3]

You may be at higher risk of developing a yeast infection if [1]:

  • You have a vagina
  • You have begun engaging in sex regularly for the first time [3]
  • You are taking birth control or hormonal therapy that elevates estrogen levels
  • You have recently used antibiotics
  • You have untreated diabetes
  • You have an immune disorder or your immune system is compromised
  • You’re obese or overweight [2]
  • You’re pregnant

Yeast Infection Symptoms

One of the best ways to prevent yeast infection from transmitting to a sexual partner is by knowing what to look for. Women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) are most likely to contract a yeast infection. If you fall into this group, a yeast infection may present with [1]:

  • Itching around the vulva and vagina
  • Redness, irritation, or swelling near the affected vaginal area
  • A burning sensation during urination
  • Vaginal soreness
  • Vaginal discharge that looks either runny and clear or thick, white, and clumpy

Although yeast infections are most commonly associated with people with vaginas, people with penises can get yeast infections, too. [2] They are most common in people AMAB (assigned male at birth) who have not been circumcised. [2]

If you fall into this group, you might notice:

  • Rash, irritation, or swelling around the genitals and groin
  • A burning sensation around the tip of the penis and beneath the foreskin
  • Genital skin flaking
  • White penile discharge
  • Discharge that carries an odor
  • Sores or lesions on your penis

Yeast Infection Treatment

Fortunately, most yeast infections respond well to proper treatment. [4] To diagnose one, a healthcare provider usually retrieves a sample of fluid from your genitals for examination. [4]

If the cause of your vaginal infection is fungal overgrowth, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe an antifungal medication. [4] There are two routes your healthcare provider might recommend for medication:

  • Oral – Oral medications are usually taken once by mouth. A common oral medication for yeast infections is fluconazole. [4]
  • Topical – Topical medications are applied directly to the site of infection, according to your healthcare provider’s instructions. However, courses usually don’t last longer than a week.4 Miconazole and terconazole are two types of topical yeast infection medications recommended by healthcare providers. [4]

If your healthcare provider prescribes you medication for a yeast infection, it’s generally recommended you avoid having sex until the infection resolves. [4] The act of sex can aggravate the affected area and may delay your recovery unnecessarily. [4]

When managed and treated properly, yeast infections typically clear up within a week of beginning a round of medication.

Yeast Infection Complications

It’s important to diagnose and treat yeast infections, as they don’t usually clear up on their own.4 If left untreated in people AFAB, a yeast infection may result in bacterial vaginosis. [4]

Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection that can occur when your vaginal flora becomes imbalanced. Common symptoms include:

  • Itching and irritation around the genitals (like a yeast infection)
  • Odorous vaginal discharge
  • Pain when having sex
  • Pain while urinating
  • Spotting or light bleeding

If you contract bacterial vaginosis following a yeast infection and are sexually active, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. People who have untreated bacterial vaginosis and are sexually active are more susceptible to STIs. [4]

What If I Have Recurring Yeast Infections?

Healthcare providers class yeast infections as recurrent or “chronic” when they crop up four or more times in a single year.5 Recurring and frequent yeast infections are more likely to arise if:

  • You did not complete previous treatment as prescribed by your healthcare provider
  • You routinely engage in activities that generate sweat
  • A sexual partner has contracted your yeast infection and has not been successfully treated

Some people try to use over-the-counter medications to treat a yeast infection without consulting with a healthcare provider. Without a professional diagnosis, it’s possible to mistake another type of infection for a yeast infection. For example, it can be hard to distinguish between a UTI vs. yeast infection as they can have similar symptoms. This may make it more likely that an existing condition goes undiagnosed and untreated.

Conditions commonly mistaken for a yeast infection include:

  • Vaginitis
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • STIs
  • Skin allergy

Whenever possible, it’s important to have yourself examined by a medical professional. They’ll be able to more accurately diagnose your condition and advise you on an appropriate and effective course of treatment.

Tips for Preventing Yeast Infections

Despite the prevalence of yeast infections, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to help curb your risk of developing one. These include:

  • Wearing cotton underwear – Regularly wearing cotton underwear may assist in preventing yeast infections. Cotton is more breathable than other fabrics, which may help boost airflow around the warm, humid environment of your groin. [5]
  • Washing clothes in hot water – Hot water may be more effective than warm water at removing bacteria that breed in undergarments.
  • Avoiding douching – Some people use douches to try and “clean” the inside of the vagina. However, this disrupts the balance of the body’s natural vaginal flora. [3] In general, it’s not necessary to clean the inside of your vagina, as the vagina does an excellent job of keeping itself clean and healthy.
  • Avoiding harsh chemicals – Vaginal and penile hygiene products can irritate the genitals. This is especially true of perfumed products, like scented feminine toiletries. [6] Soap and water do an excellent job of cleaning, so it’s usually not necessary to use other, harsher types of products (particularly if you have an active yeast infection). [2]
  • Avoiding hot tubs – Jacuzzis and hot baths can encourage the growth of fungus, as they are also moist, humid, and warm environments. [2] If you have an active yeast infection, it’s especially important to avoid jacuzzis and hot baths until your body heals. [3] For instance, you might opt to shower rather than take a bath.
  • Cleansing your foreskin – If you have an uncircumcised penis, be sure to clean your foreskin area. [2] Fungus and other pathogens can get trapped there if it isn’t cleaned thoroughly or consistently. [2]
  • Changing out of wet clothes promptly – Whether you’re wearing a swimsuit or sweaty gym clothes, it’s best to change out of them as quickly as possible.3 When possible, it’s also recommended you bathe following a workout or time at the pool or beach.

Stay Knowledgeable About Your Sexual Health with Everlywell

Whether you’re navigating chronic yeast infections or living with an STI, staying on top of your sexual well-being shouldn’t be complicated. The Everlywell Sexual Health Test collection was designed to help you learn your sexual health status more conveniently and affordably.

From screening for six common STIs at home to receiving your physician-reviewed results, Everlywell provides total confidentiality throughout the process of sexual health testing. You may also choose to book an appointment for fast yeast infection treatment online to help you recover.

Find out how to take your health into your hands by exploring more at Everlywell today.

Yeast Infection After Sex: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

STD vs. Yeast Infection: 4 Differences in Symptoms

Can You Have Sex With A Yeast Infection?


  1. Vaginal yeast infections | Published May 23, 2018. URL. Accessed August 27, 2023.
  2. Male Yeast Infection (Candida Balanitis): Symptoms, Causes & Treatment. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Accessed August 27, 2023.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. Yeast infection (vaginal) - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Published 2019. URL. Accessed August 27, 2023.
  4. Vaginal Yeast Infection: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Accessed August 27, 2023.
  5. Chronic Yeast Infections: Causes and Treatments. Healthline. Published September 18, 2018. URL. Accessed August 27, 2023.
  6. Chen Y, Bruning E, Rubino J, Eder SE. Role of female intimate hygiene in vulvovaginal health: Global hygiene practices and product usage. Women’s Health. 2017;13(3):58-67. doi:10.1177/1745505717731011 URL. Accessed August 27, 2023.
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