Are Yeast Infections Contagious?
By Lizzie De La Cruz
Yeast infection—more like "yeesh infection!" If you've had a yeast infection, you know how uncomfortable the symptoms can be. But, you're not alone—nearly every human in the world will experience a yeast infection at least once in their lives. While you're trying to get comfortable amidst all the burning and itching, you might be wondering if you caught your yeast infection from someone else or if you could potentially spread it to others. Well, you're in the right place. We've got the lowdown on yeast transmission to ease your mind (and itchiness).
Are All Yeast Infections Contagious?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. While you can transmit a yeast infection from one person to another, it's not super common. Yeast infections can take several different forms, but the most common are in your mouth and your privates, though some humans occasionally get a yeast infection on their skin as well. Genital yeast infections are more common in women than in men. Why? Yeast loves moisture, and vaginas have plenty of that (mouths do, too).
There are a few scenarios in which you might contract someone else's yeast infection or pass yours on that you should be aware of:
- Oral sex: Because of the moist environment, it's possible to get a yeast infection through oral sex. If you have thrush (aka a yeast infection of the mouth), you should avoid kissing or performing oral sex until the infection clears. If you have a vaginal yeast infection, you should avoid receiving oral sex until your infection is gone.
- Breastfeeding: This is a crazy one. Babies can develop yeast infections in their mouths and pass them on to their moms through breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor if you're experiencing a yeast infection from your baby on your breasts or skin.
- Sex in a bath, pool or hot tub: Water, especially hot water, can make it easier for the yeast to travel from you to your partner or vice versa during sex.
Remember, yeast infections are not very contagious. Still, they can occasionally transfer from one individual to another, so it's best to take the necessary precautions to save yourself (or your partner) from unnecessary itching.
How Can I Protect Myself From Yeast Infections?
Unfortunately, yeast infections, particularly in your privates, are probably going to crop up from time to time. Don't worry, though—they're super common and easy to treat. If you're prone to yeast infection symptoms or just want to up your prevention game, consider taking some precautions:
- Pee after sex
- Wear cotton undies that aren't too tight
- Clean your genital area with warm water every day
- Avoid douching
- Change out of wet clothes, like swimsuits, once you're out of the water
- Use soaps with natural scents and ingredients
- Lower your carb intake
Some humans are just more likely to develop yeast infections than others. If you find that you keep getting them over and over again, have a conversation with your doctor about other preventative measures you can take.
Can I Get a Yeast Infection From Swimming?
Yes, we did mention changing out of your wet swimsuit after a dip, but that's not because you're at risk of contracting someone else's yeast infection from the pool, ocean or lake. Remember, we also mentioned that yeast loves moisture. Well, you know what it loves more than just dampness by itself? Moisture and warmth. The longer you leave that warm, wet bathing suit on, the more time yeast has to develop and leave you feeling itchy and uncomfortable. Once again, though, a yeast infection is very unlikely to actually spread through water, whether hot or cold, without sexual contact.
Is a Yeast Infection an STD?
Yeast infections are not considered STDs since they're not caused by sexual contact. Even though the infection can occasionally spread through kissing, oral sex or more traditional intercourse, most humans develop yeast infections from a build-up of natural yeast in their own bodies rather than from some outside source.
Now, some STDs have similar symptoms to yeast infections, so it's always a good idea to get any unusual (and uncomfortable) symptoms checked out. Treating a yeast infection online is easy and discreet these days. Women with vaginal yeast infections often mention burning and itching in the vagina as well as a thick, white discharge.
Can I Have Sex While I Have a Yeast Infection?
This one is between you and your partner. Frankly, you might not want to—the symptoms of a yeast infection can make your vagina a pretty uncomfortable place. If you are down for sex, you should use condoms to lower the chances of any transmission. If you have thrush, however, avoid giving oral sex until it goes away. Basically, if you have a yeast infection, and you're not sure whether or not to have sex, it's probably best to wait until it clears up to jump in the sack.
How Can I Keep My Yeast Infection From Spreading to Others?
Even though the chance of spreading your yeast infection to others is low, your best bet is to treat it so that you can get back to all of your normal activities with no fear. Treating yeast infections is super easy. While there are some home remedies you can use to ease the discomfort of the symptoms, your best bet is to contact your doctor for an official diagnosis and some prescription meds.
You can do an in-person visit or try a telehealth service for quicker assistance. With wisp, you can order Yeast Infection meds the same day and picking them up yourself, or have them shipped to your home in discreet packaging. Most infections disappear in a matter of days.
Yeast infections are naturally occurring infections that most humans will encounter at some point in their lives. If you have one, rest assured that it's not really contagious and that you're not likely to pass it on to your partner. Nonetheless, definitely have a conversation with your partner before sex to make sure you're both feeling good about carrying on while you have an infection—for their comfort and yours.