Does Genital Candidiasis Affect Your Sex Life?

August 17, 2019
Even though candidiasis (or a yeast infection) usually appears on its own, it can be sexually transmitted to your partner. Additionally, since it can cause pain and irritation of the genital area, it can make sexual encounters quite bothersome.

Genital candidiasis (yeast infection) is a very common type of infection. In fact, statistics show that most women will develop a yeast infection at some point in their lives. However, you may be wondering, does genital candidiasis affect your sex life?

Let’s check out the facts.

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Genital Candidiasis

Candidiasis is an infection caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. It can affect not only the genital organs but also other parts of the body, causing oral candidiasis (thrash) or candidiasis of the skin.

When it affects the genital area, candidiasis is one of the most common gynecological conditions, especially among women. However, it is not exclusive to the female sex as it can also affect men.

In general, Candida is a fungus that lives among other microorganisms inside the vagina. There, these organisms coexist in a balanced way and form part of the vaginal microbiota.

However, on certain occasions, the Candida fungus can grow too much, leading to an imbalance of the vaginal flora. This imbalance causes genital candidiasis.

Woman with hands on the abdomen forming a heart genital candidiasis

Although it’s not dangerous, in many cases it can become a recurring infection. Therefore, it’s important that you consult your gynecologist if you think you might have genital candidiasis.

Believe it or not, candidiasis can also affect men. While it’s true that women may be more likely to suffer from this type of infection, men are not immune to genital candidiasis.

Thus, when the Candida fungus affects the penis, it causes balanitis, which is inflammation of the foreskin and glans. Also, redness, burning, itching and even a whitish layer may appear.

As a result, genital candidiasis can cause discomfort and pain in men during sexual intercourse, just as it does with women.

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Causes of genital candidiasis

Some of the possible causes of developing genital candidiasis are:

  • Alterations of the vaginal flora (prolonged consumption of antibiotics)
  • Diabetes, obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • A weakened the immune system (HIV, transplants, chemotherapy, etc.)
  • Use of synthetic underwear
  • Hormonal changes (in pregnancy)
  • Excessive washing of the pubic area with soaps or/and aggressive substances
  • Taking antibiotics.

The consumption of antibiotics also eliminates the beneficial bacteria of the microbiota, which favors the growth of candida.

The most characteristic symptoms of genital candidiasis are:

  • Itching, burning
  • Irritation
  • Redness and swelling
  • Painful urination
  • Thick white vaginal discharge
  • In men, balanitis or inflammation of the foreskin and glans

Treatment

Since candidiasis is caused by a fungus, it’s common for the gynecologist to prescribe an antifungal treatment. In fact, if you apply an ointment or cream as recommended and in the correct dosage, the infection should subside within a few days.

However, it’s still necessary to visit the gynecologist since you must take into account that only a specialist can determine that the infection is genital candidiasis. As a result, your doctor can prescribe you the appropriate treatment, ruling out other types of conditions.

Nevertheless, antifungal creams can be obtained without a prescription. However, it’s important not to self-medicate and follow the instructions of your doctor.

If you don’t see a physician, you take the risk of mistaking another condition or even an STD for genital candidiasis.

Does genital candidiasis affect your sex life?

Couple opening a condom to prevent spread of genital candidiasis

The use of barrier contraceptive methods can help prevent the spread of Candida to sexual partners.

The answer is yes.

Candidiasis can affect your sex life. Therefore, you need to take precautions if you are going to have sex while you have candidiasis.

Why?

  • Candidiasis can cause pain, burning, and irritation. Therefore, it can cause the sexual act to be annoying. Thus, it’s recommended not to have sex until the infection disappears completely.
  • Also, although it often develops for reasons other than sexual transmission, there is the possibility of passing this infection on to another person. In fact, it can cause balanitis of the penis, burning, and redness in the genital area after sexual contact.
  • In this sense, if you want to continue having sexual contact, it’s essential to use condoms.
  • On the other hand, since sexual intercourse can cause an increase in irritation, it can hinder recovery. Thus, although you’re not risking causing your treatment to fail, it is still advisable to abstain from sex until the infection disappears.

Conclusion

Genital candidiasis is an infection but is not especially dangerous. With proper treatment, it can disappear in a matter of days.

However, having sex while suffering from candidiasis can lead to certain problems such as infecting your partner(s). It can also make it take longer for you to heal completely.

Moreover, since candidiasis involves symptoms such as irritation, sex may not feel pleasant.

For all these reasons, specialists advise refraining from sexual intercourse until the infection disappears completely.

However, if you still want to have sex, use a condom to avoid infecting others.

  • Frank C. Odds (1987) Candida Infections: An Overview, CRC Critical Reviews in Microbiology, 15:1, 1-5, DOI: 10.3109/10408418709104444
  •  Nwokolo N C, Boag F C (mayo de 2000). «Chronic vaginal candidiasis. Management in the postmenopausal patient». Drugs Aging’ 16 (5): 335-339.
  • David LM, Walzman M, Rajamanoharan S (octubre de 1997). «Genital colonisation and infection with candida in heterosexual and homosexual males». Genitourin Med’ 73 (5): 394-6.