Hi Deborah, my girlfriend found out she had a yeast infection and since then I’ve felt like I was itching nonstop. I do not notice any physical symptoms yet, but is it possible that I caught a yeast infection from her or is it merely psychological?
This question was submitted by a man asking about his girlfriend, but we’re going to address it from any and all angles, to keep things clear. Yes, you can catch a yeast infection from your sexual partner, whether you or your partner are male or female.
Yeast infections are not, by definition, sexually transmitted diseases. According to humanillnesses Candida, ringworm, can be spread from person to person if contact with the infected area is made. It is contagious in much the same way a viral or bacterial infection might be contagious. The difference is that while viral and bacterial infections can often be spread through both contact and the air, yeast infections can only be spread via direct contact.
The second factor involved in transmitting a yeast infection to your sexual partner is whether or not the person who is not infected has the right type of physical environment in which Candida will thrive. Women tend to be far more sensitive to the development of yeast infections due to a variety of hormonal and lifestyle factors, but generally a person who is already suffering from a mild yeast infection or who already has a depressed immune system may develop a more serious infection after sexual contact.
Men with jock itch can give a yeast infection to their partners, male or female. Women with vaginal yeast infections can give yeast infections to their partners, male or female. Oral thrush is also contagious. Please see the difference between male and female yeast infections.
If you have a yeast infection, it is generally best to avoid sexual contact until it has been treated and has cleared up. Many with yeast infections, particularly women, find sexual intercourse to be painful while they have an infection of this nature anyway. If you and your partner both have an infection, sexual activity will allow you to re-infect each other. Both of you should obtain treatment and abstain until you are healthy.
If you do get a recurring yeast infection, please check out the candida diet.
Photo Credit – Georgia National Guard @ Creative Commons - http://www.flickr.com/photos/ganatlguard/