PSA: Here’s When You Can Have Sex Again After a Yeast Infection

PSA: Here’s When You Can Have Sex Again After a Yeast Infection

In the list of the things you never want happening inside your body, a yeast infection def makes top ten. Like, anyone who bleeds once a month already has enough to deal with, but adding itching, burning, and pain when you pee? That should be illegal in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The good news (I know, there’s no such thing as good news when you have fungus growing in your body, but stay with me) is that a yeast infection is super common, totally treatable and will be gone in a few days. A week, tops! The not-so-great news? You’re probably gonna be in some light pain until it clears and you may have to take it easy, which yes, unfortch does include skipping sex for a while.

Since we are pros at spotting red flags (TYSM, Hinge), we’ll walk you through the tell-tale signs of a yeast infection, how long one typically lasts, if it’s contagious, and how soon you can jump back into bed for sex after treatment. Read on for all the answers to your burning (lol, sry) questions below.


Real quick, what exactly is a yeast infection?

I know, you’re probably wondering how yeast even got into your body in the first place. You are not bread! (And JFYI, *that* type of yeast is called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, so they’re very much different—I’m just dramatic).

Basically, a yeast infection is a fungal infection that happens when your vag’s environment changes. Like, say you and your BF have made things super official and have stopped using condoms for another form of birth control. If he’s cumming in you, a yeast infection could happen since your lady parts aren’t used to wet semen lurking about. This change, and a whole lot of others, can cause an overgrowth of candida, aka the yeast that’s naturally found in your body. Hormone fluctuations from your period, birth control or pregnancy, taking antibiotics, being sick, or just a reaction to your sex partner’s natural bacteria, are the other culprits of yeast infections, according to Planned Parenthood.

So how do I know for sure if I have a yeast infection?

If this is your first one, it’s probably overwhelming trying to determine if you have a yeast infection, a UTI, bacterial vaginosis (aka BV), or even an STI that could potentially spread during sex.

Kameelah Phillips, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn based in New York City, and Taraneh Shirazian, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn at NYU Langone Health, tell you to keep an eye out for:

  • Vaginal burning, itching, and irritation
  • Pain when you pee or during sex
  • Thick white discharge

And plot twist, you could possibly have more than one infection at once. Dr. Phillips recommends heading to your ob-gyn or to a sexual health clinic to get the right diagnosis and treatment, especially if this is your first yeast infection.

Okay, gotcha. How long does a yeast infection last though?

This all depends on the treatment you use. But! It can take about seven days to *fully* cure the yeast infection and for the pain to subside, said Dr. Shirazian. It’s also worth mentioning that a yeast infection may be harder to clear if you have diabetes, take steroid meds, are pregnant, or have an immunosuppressive health condition, says Dr. Phillips, which is extra annoying since these put you at a higher risk of getting yeast infections in the first place. So just keep all of this in mind as you read through the different medicines below. And be sure to take the dose for the exact time period the package says, adds Dr. Shirazian.

1-day over-the-counter topical or internal treatment

Monistat 1-day over-the-counter topical or internal treatment

Now 37% Off

If you know your way around a yeast infection and are trying to get rid of it ASAP, this one-step remedy might be best for you.

2-day prescription fluconazole pills

Wisp 2-day prescription fluconazole pills

If you visit your ob-gyn, they may prescribe you a two-day oral treatment. It’s strong since it’s a prescription option, so you may feel symptom relief right away or may need to take a second pill two days later just to be safe.

3-day over-the-counter topical or internal treatment

Stix 3-day over-the-counter topical or internal treatment

Here’s what to go with if you want pretty fast results to stop the itching and burning, but aren’t in a huge rush. Note that you have to commit to three days in a row (!) of applying cream or inserting a suppository into your vag for this to work.

7-day over-the-counter treatment

Monistat 7-day over-the-counter treatment

This guy is low-dose, but is the safest bet if you are pregnant, in which case it potentially isn’t safe to take the Rx dose, per the Mayo Clinic.

If you still need a lil bit of help before adding to cart, check out Monistat’s super handy product selector tool to find which meds are best for you.

Noted. Now tell me, when can I have sex again after a yeast infection?

Pretty much once you’re all healed up and off the meds, meaning you’re free from any irritation, pain or discharge, explains Dr. Shirazian. Besides, if you have sex before your symptoms completely clear, it may hurt more, she says, and that’s not fun for anyone.

Oh, and one more thing: Some of the over-the-counter topical treatments have ingredients in them that can damage latex condoms and make them less effective, says Dr. Phillips. So if your partner plans to use a condom as a contraceptive, it’s probably a better idea to hold off on sex until you’re back to 100 percent.

Wait, are yeast infections contagious?

A yeast infection can pass through oral, vaginal or anal sex (but it’s not an STI!). This is really not that common, so don’t flip out just yet. Only about 15 percent of people with penises have had yeast infection symptoms, like a rash and itchiness, according to the Office of Women’s Health. So if your partner falls in this group, it’s unlikely they’ll get a yeast infection from having unprotected sex with you. For a person with a vagina, getting a yeast infection from sex may be more likely, and they should seek treatment if any symptoms pop up.

Will I get another yeast infection if I have sex too soon after treatment?

So, there’s a teeny risk that having sex before your yeast infection fully clears could mess with some of the treatment options working right, says Dr. Phillips. But in general, it’s more than likely you’ll end up with another at some point since most folks with vaginas have at least two in their lifetime, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you have four or more in a year, then you might have what they call a “complicated yeast infection,” and should see your doctor ASAP.

If your symptoms don’t go away even after you finish the whole treatment process, give your ob-gyn another call, because no one should have to deal with a yeast infection any longer than it already takes.

Headshot of Mara Santilli

Mara is a freelance writer and editor specializing in culture, politics, wellness, and the intersection between them, whose print and digital work has appeared in Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Airbnb Mag, Prevention, and more. She’s a Fordham University graduate who also has a degree in Italian Studies, so naturally she’s always daydreaming about focaccia.

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