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Can You Get a Yeast Infection After Having Sex?

Medically reviewed by: Joy Friedman, MD

Yeast infections happen when too much of a certain fungus grows in moist areas of skin like the mouth or vagina. It’s possible to get a yeast infection after having sex. This includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex; fingering (using fingers during sex); and other sexual contact.

But yeast infections aren’t sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) because you can also get them in other ways. Things like stress, some medicines, and high blood sugar may cause them. So can wearing underwear made of material like nylon, which can trap moisture and sweat.

How Do I Know if It’s a Yeast Infection or Something Else?

Vaginal yeast infections can cause:

  • itching and irritation in the vagina
  • swelling, redness, or itching of the vulva (the folds of skin outside the vagina)
  • a thick, white discharge that can look like cottage cheese and tends to be odorless, but it might smell like bread or yeast
  • pain or burning when peeing or during sex

Yeast infections aren’t common in males, but if they do happen, can cause a rash on the head of the penis, or a slight discharge or pain when peeing.

If you have any of these symptoms, get checked by a doctor. It's easy to confuse the signs of a yeast infection with those of some STDs and other infections. Sometimes yeast infections can be a sign of something else, like diabetes or an immune system problem.

Can I Prevent Yeast Infections?

To help avoid getting a yeast infection after sex, use a condom, finger condom, or dental dam each time. When you’re done, wipe away any fluids with a towel or toilet paper to reduce moisture. Avoid using baby wipes, hygiene wipes, or douching (vaginal cleaning) products, as many of these have alcohol in them, which isn’t healthy for the vagina.

Wearing cotton underwear may also prevent yeast infections because it absorbs moisture. If you have diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels stable can help too.

What Else Should I Know?

The sooner you go to your doctor (or a health clinic like Planned Parenthood), the faster you can get treated and start feeling better. If you keep getting yeast infections (called recurrent yeast infections), ask your doctor about the best way to treat and prevent them.

Medically reviewed by: Joy Friedman, MD
Date reviewed: May 2024