Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans fungus, which is found naturally in the body. These infections can cause inflammation, discharge, and other symptoms. Both men and women can get genital yeast infections, although they are more common in women.
Yeast infections are not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI) because many people (including newborns and children) who receive them have never had sexual intercourse. But there are ways that yeast infections can be passed on from one person to another. Read on to find out what behaviors put you at maximum risk of spreading yeast infection.
Can you get yeast infection from sex?
If you are wondering if you can pass the yeast infection to a partner through sex, the short answer is: yes, it’s possible. Although it is not common, it is not uncommon, either. About 15 percent of men will experience symptoms of a yeast infection in the penis after sexual intercourse with an infected female partner.
If both partners are female, it is possible to pass a yeast infection from one partner to another, but further research is needed on how likely this should take place.
A man with a yeast penile infection can also pass on his infection to a female partner through sexual contact.
An overgrowth of Candida in the mouth is also called thrush. Thrush can be contracted through oral sex with a person with a vaginal or penile yeast infection. More information on how thrush develops.
While weighing the risk of transmitting a yeast infection to a partner, one might also consider that having sex with a yeast infection can be very inconvenient. Sex with penetration of a penis or a sex toy can:
- irritate inflammation
- stop any creams or medications you are using to treat the infection
- translate into a longer time of infection
Can you get yeast infection from water bath?
It is unlikely that a yeast infection can be transmitted directly through the bath water, but there are some warnings that you should keep in mind.
As a rule, showers are better than bathrooms when they are about to treat a yeast infection. If you take a bath seat with Epsom salt, apple cider vinegar, boric acid, or any other home remedy, while you are treating the yeast infection, do not soak for more than 10 minutes at a time. Also, be sure to dab the area of the infection completely dry once you are out of the water.
Avoid sexual intimacy in a bath or in the whirlpool in which one of the partners has a yeast infection. Sex conditions in an aquatic environment could make it easier for a yeast infection to spread through sex.
If two young children are bathing and you have a yeast infection, be careful not to use the same cloth or a sponge to wash both. If possible, avoid bathing the child at all when they have a yeast infection, opting for quick showers and sponging instead.
Keep in mind that scented soaps or bubble baths can irritate or prolong yeast infections.
Can you get yeast infection from kiss?
It is possible to transmit a partner’s Candida fungus through kisses. But this does not mean that they will develop thrush as a result.
Thrush happens when risk factors, such as taking antibiotics or having a suppressed immune system, throw out of your body the natural balance of Candida albicans flora. So, while kissing a person with thrush might help to have more Candida to deal with, it will not necessarily infect. Remember that our bodies naturally have Candida.
Can you get yeast infection from breastfeeding?
Newborns can get thrush from their mothers during breastfeeding. Since Candida is present on the nipples and breasts, breastfeeding causes the babies to have excess yeast in the mouth, which often results in thrush. Women can also get breastfeeding yeast infections.
Keep these tips in mind to avoid getting more yeast infections:
- wear loose, cotton underwear
- change your swimsuit immediately after spending time at the pool
- reduce the number of carbohydrates and processed foods in your diet
- use only antibiotics if necessary (and follow-up with a round of probiotics if you need to take them)
- avoid using menstrual products that are fragrant
- use perfume-free soaps
- keep your vaginal area clean only with hot water, and never use a shower
- urinate immediately after sex
If you are receiving more than four fungal infections a year, you should talk to your doctor. It may be that you have another underlying cause that needs to be treated. Or you may not actually have a yeast infection, after all, in this case, you will need a different course of treatment. Recurrent yeast infections must be diagnosed and treated by a gynecologist.