Can You Get a Yeast Infection After Having Sex?

It’s possible, but there are things you can do to prevent it

It’s possible to get a yeast infection after sex. This type of infection is usually easily treatable. There are also steps you can take to prevent yeast infections after sex and any other time.

How Common Are Yeast Infections?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that females have a 75% chance of developing at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime. While less common, penile yeast infections are not unusual.

Yeast infections are fungal infections that can show up in different parts of the body, including in the vagina or on the penis.

Fungal infections like yeast infections are not sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but they can be related to sexual activity. It’s possible to treat, and many times prevent, yeast infections—including those that develop after sex.

This article will go over how to tell if you have a yeast infection after having sex. You’ll also learn how yeast infections after sex can be treated and prevented.

Tips to Prevent Recurring Yeast Infections

Verywell / Dennis Madamba

Signs of a Yeast Infection After Sex

You might feel discomfort immediately after you have sex, but it still takes time for a yeast infection to develop. Symptoms of a yeast infection may develop within a few days or a week after sex.

Yeast infections can affect the vagina or the penis. A yeast infection of the vagina is called vulvovaginitis. A yeast infection of the penis is called balanitis.

The symptoms of a yeast infection include:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Intense itching (which can be from small sores called satellite lesions on the vagina or penis)
  • A white “cottage cheese” discharge (seen in the underwear or when wiping the vagina; or an uncircumcised penis, it’s usually found between the skin folds)

Some people with a yeast infection have pain when urinating. This symptom is sometimes confused with a bladder or urinary tract infection (UTI).

Can You Have a Yeast Infection With No Symptoms?

You can also have a yeast infection without symptoms. For example, an infection can be spread to a penis after vaginal intercourse, but there may be no sign of a penile yeast infection. And even if you’re asymptomatic, you could spread the infection to your partner.

How Does Sex Cause a Yeast Infection?

Sex can disrupt the normal bacterial environment of the vagina and penis. Fungi and certain bacteria normally live on the skin and do not cause any problems.

However, if the balance of these organisms changes, they can overgrow. During sex, they can get into the sex organs and cause yeast infections.

The most common fungus associated with a vaginal or penile yeast infection is Candida albicans.

Yeast Infections and Penetrative Sex

Yeast infections are not STIs but can be spread between partners during penetrative sex. The use of a barrier method of birth control, such as condoms, can help prevent yeast infections from being passed on during sex.

Personal hygiene practices, including washing after sex, can also help prevent yeast infections.

Yeast Infections After Oral Sex

While it’s less common, it’s possible for a yeast infection to occur inside the mouth (thrush) after oral sex.

Performing oral sex on someone with an ongoing yeast infection is not likely to lead to thrush, but providers still recommend holding off on oral sex or using a dental dam or condom while a partner has a yeast infection.

Taking precautions is very important for people with a weak immune system, such as those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) because they are more likely to get fungal infections and thrush.

When to See a Provider

Most yeast infections after sex are easy to treat and do not cause major problems. However, you should talk to your provider if:

  • You think you have a yeast infection but you’re not sure
  • You have a yeast infection for the first time
  • Your yeast infection symptoms are not getting better using over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal medications
  • You have three or more yeast infections in less than a year

Treatment for Yeast Infections After Sex

A yeast infection you get after sex might go away on its own, but it can also get worse if you don’t treat it.

A mild yeast infection can often get better with over-the-counter (OTC) treatments like antifungal creams, ointments, and suppositories. Usually, you will use the medication for three to seven days to clear up the infection.

Lotrimin (clotrimazole), Monistat (miconazole), and Vagistat-1 (tioconazole) are examples of OTC yeast infection treatments.

If OTC treatments do not help, your provider can prescribe one dose of an oral antifungal called Diflucan (fluconazole) to treat a yeast infection after sex.

Antifungal Cream and Birth Control

Antifungal creams and ointments can weaken latex condoms and diaphragms. Consider using a backup method of birth control if you will be having sex while you’re using these treatments for a yeast infection.

If your yeast infection symptoms do not get better after seven days of OTC treatments, tell your provider.

A longer treatment of two weeks to several months can be used for recurrent or complicated yeast infections. However, these longer courses of topical and oral treatments need to be prescribed by a provider.

Your sexual partner does not need to be treated for a yeast infection after sex unless they have symptoms.

How to Prevent Yeast Infections After Sex

Yeast infections after sex can be prevented with many of the same steps that reduce your chances of getting yeast infections at any time.

Here are some ways to prevent yeast infections:

  • Wear cotton underwear that is not too tight
  • Do not douche because it removes normal bacteria from the vagina
  • Do not use scented products around your genitals
  • Do not spend too much time in hot tubs or hot baths
  • Try to avoid taking antibiotics unless your provider feels they are necessary
  • Change out of wet clothes like swimsuits and sweaty attire as soon as possible
  • Wash every day and maintain your personal hygiene, especially if you have an uncircumcised penis


Yeast infections are not sexually transmitted infections, but you may develop one if you have sex with a partner who has one.

Having sex can disrupt the normal bacterial environment of the genitals which usually prevents an overgrowth of the fungus that causes yeast infections. When the balance is thrown off, it can lead to a yeast infection.

Yeast infections after sex are both treatable and preventable. If you are unsure if you have a yeast infection, talk to your provider.

There are several OTC and prescription treatments available for yeast infections. There are also hygiene steps you can take to help prevent a yeast infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long should you wait to have sex after a yeast infection?

    Avoid sex until the yeast infection is better—usually, a few days after you’ve finished treatment and your symptoms have gone away.

    Taking part in sexual activity while you have a yeast infection can make the symptoms last longer. It’s also likely that having sex with a yeast infection will be irritating and uncomfortable.

  • How fast does yeast infection treatment work?

    The length of treatment and how long it takes for symptoms to get better will depend on how severe the yeast infection is.

    A mild infection usually gets better one to three days after you start treating it. A more severe yeast infection may take a few days longer to improve.

  • What can be mistaken for a yeast infection?

    A yeast infection could be confused for a bladder, kidney, or urinary tract infection, especially if it causes pain with urination.

    A yeast infection is not an STI, but if a person has itching, pain, and discharge after sex, they might mistake those symptoms for an STI.

  • What are other causes of yeast infections?

    Healthy people may get yeast infections occasionally and without a specific cause. However, fungal infections are more common in people with:

    Candida albicans is the most common fungus that causes yeast infections. Other Candida species can lead to recurrent yeast infections, but they’re not that common.

  • Why does a yeast infection itch?

    A yeast infection is an infection of the skin that causes inflammation in a specific area. Inflammatory skin reactions irritate the sensory nerves and transmit signals to the brain that tell the person they have an itch.

    A yeast infection is just one of several different skin infections and conditions that cause itching.

  • Can sperm cause yeast infections?

    Sperm do not cause yeast infections but sexual activity, including ejaculating inside a vagina, can change the balance of bacteria and may lead to a yeast infection.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC).

  2. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. Vaginal yeast infections.

  3. UpToDate. Patient education: Vaginal yeast infection (beyond the basics).

  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Candida infection of the skin.

  5. Sobel JD. Factors involved in patient choice of oral or vaginal treatment for vulvovaginal candidiasisPatient Prefer Adherence. 2013;8:31-34. doi:10.2147/PPA.S38984

  6. Garibyan L, Rheingold CG, Lerner EA. Understanding the pathophysiology of itchDermatol Ther. 2013;26(2):84-91. doi:10.1111/dth.12025

By Christine Zink, MD
Dr. Christine Zink, MD, is a board-certified emergency medicine with expertise in the wilderness and global medicine. She completed her medical training at Weill Cornell Medical College and residency in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She utilizes 15-years of clinical experience in her medical writing.