Few things in a woman’s life cause more misery than a yeast infection. Between the itching, burning, and squirming, it’s like your vagina’s delicate ecosystem was struck by a natural disaster. Sure, the discharge alone makes you want to close up shop, but you’ve got a sex life to consider. The big question: Is it okay to get busy when your hoo-ha feels like a bakery?
Here are five reasons why you might want to put nookie on the backburner until things clear up.
1. Sex can be super-painful
We’ve got one word for you: ouch! “Yeast infections can cause inflammation, irritation and itching on vaginal tissue,” says Dr Alyssa Dweck. Since this tissue is already sensitive, sex might further irritate and aggravate symptoms. Top it off with the fact that the infection can interrupt your vagina’s natural lubrication skills, and your guy’s peen may as well be made of sandpaper.
2. Guys can catch it
While not considered an STD in the traditional sense, it is possible to pass yeast infections to each other during sex, says Dweck. According to the stats, about 15 percent of men get an itchy rash on their penis if they have unprotected sex with a woman who has a yeast infection. (Gah.) If you experience yeast infections on the reg, consider seeking treatment as a couple: “I’ve seen patients with recurrent yeast infections that I couldn’t get resolved until the partner was treated as well,” says ob-gyn Dr Danielle Cooper.
READ MORE: 3 Ways To Keep Your Vagina Healthy
3. It might last longer
Since the vaginal tissue is already inflamed, having sex can delay healing by causing further damage, says obstetrician and gynaecologist Prof Hilda Hutcherson. If you’re using an OTC cream to clear things up, having sex can push the medication out of your vajayjay. Plus, depending on the meds, they can even damage the condom you’re using for protection. (Cue “Psycho Strings.”) It’s best to hold off on sex until a short course of OTC cream or a yeast-busting tablet can take hold, says Dweck. Those treatment options can resolve your infection in as little as 72 hours.
READ MORE: 5 Reasons Your Vagina Hurts
4. Your STD risk goes up
Untreated yeast infections can increase your risk of other infections, including STDs. “Since the vagina is inflamed, it’s easy to injure the delicate tissue during sex,” says Hutcherson. You may unintentionally create microscopic tears in the skin that allow bacteria or viruses to waltz into your bod more easily.
READ MORE: 4 Things You Should Never Put Up Your Vagina
5. You might have an STD
Some yeast infection symptoms (like vaginal itching, burning and discharge) are also symptoms of STDs. “Self-treatment with anti-fungal creams or tablets will delay some patients’ diagnosis,” says Cooper, who recommends checking in with your doc just in case. “Yeast is only one of the causes of infection in the vagina, and you wouldn’t want to have an STD go undiagnosed because you were self-treating,” she adds.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com