Ask A Doctor: Yeast Infection Treatment
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. In this edition of Ask A Doctor, wisp's Medical Director, Dr. Laura Purdy, M.D. is answering your frequently asked questions about Yeast Infection Treatment.
In the United States, vaginal yeast infections are the second most common type of vaginal infection after bacterial vaginosis, accounting for about 1.4 million doctor visits a year! If you’re experiencing telltale symptoms—vaginal itching, pain during sex or urination, or unusual vaginal discharge—you definitely aren’t alone. At wisp, our doctors answer questions about yeast infection treatment every day, so we’ve collected a few of your most asked questions all in one place!
Q: Why do I get recurring yeast infections?
If you’re someone who gets yeast infections over and over, the first thing to do is to visit a doctor in person for evaluation and testing to rule out any underlying root causes. Some health conditions like diabetes, thyroid issues, or a weakened immune system can increase your risk of getting yeast infections. Some other factors that can throw your body out of balance are pregnancy, hormonal contraception, and antibiotics so your doctor may ask about those as well. If your doctor identifies any root causes, they can help you treat those. If there aren’t any medical factors at play, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes like changes to your diet, clothing (100% white cotton undies are always recommended!), or hygiene products/routine. These types of lifestyle changes can help maintain your vagina’s natural pH and help prevent yeast infections long term.
Q: Does my partner need to be treated for Yeast Infection as well?
If your partner is not displaying any symptoms of a Yeast Infection, there’s no need for them to be treated. Although yeast infections can occur as a result of sex, they do not typically pass from one partner to another. However, in chronic cases, a regular sexual partner may be evaluated to rule out whether they are experiencing candida overgrowth.
Additionally, sex can introduce foreign bacteria into the vagina and cause general irritation through friction, which in turn can throw off your body’s natural pH and allow yeast to grow and thrive. It’s typically best to refrain from sex until your infection clears to avoid prolonging your symptoms. Plus, sex will probably be much more comfortable if you wait until you’re all better!
Q: When can I have sex again after treatment?
So you’ve completed your yeast infection treatment and are eager to get naked with your boo. Do your body a favor and pump the brakes! You should wait 72 hours after completing treatment and are symptom-free. This will help keep your infection from coming back. It’s also important to know that some over-the-counter treatments like Monistat can weaken latex and cause condoms to tear. Be sure to double-check the labels of any creams or suppositories you’ve used before relying on condoms as a source of pregnancy prevention when you next have sex.
Q: Is it ok to be treated while on my period?
Yep! Your period will not affect treatment. Research actually shows that many people experience yeast infection symptoms in the week leading up to their periods, likely due to fluctuations in hormone levels during that time. Sometimes your infection will clear up when your period starts because menstrual blood can raise the pH of your vagina, thereby killing off yeast cells.
Q: Can I take the oral medication if pregnant or breastfeeding?
Oral fluconazole is safe to take when breastfeeding. On the topics of pregnancy, research seems to be mixed — some studies finding certain types and doses of oral medication are safe to take while pregnant, while others finding an increased risk of miscarriage and/or birth defects associated with these drugs. To err on the side of caution, stick to topical vaginal treatments while you’re pregnant. Always follow the advice of your doctor for the most appropriate treatment for your situation.
Still have questions? You can always message your doctor from your wisp account! You can also learn more about yeast infection symptoms on our Learn page. Stay curious!