Is it harmful to have sex if I have a vaginal infection?
Answer From Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
Having sex when you have a vaginal infection or vaginal inflammation may be uncomfortable and might make your symptoms worse. If the source of your infection is from a sexually transmitted infection, you may also transmit the infection to your partner. If you have chronic yeast infections (candidiasis), confirmed by a doctor, you may have sex, without concern for worsening symptoms, as long as you're comfortable.
The most common causes of vaginal infection are:
- Yeast infection (candidiasis)
- Bacterial vaginosis
Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis aren't sexually transmitted infections, but having new sexual partners increases the risk of bacterial vaginosis.
However, trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection. To prevent possible reinfection, wait to have intercourse until you and your partner complete treatment and you no longer have symptoms.
Feb. 21, 2017
Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Sobel JD. Approach to women with symptoms of vaginitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 19, 2016.
- Trichomoniasis — CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/trichomonas/STDFact-Trichomoniasis.htm. Accessed Nov. 19, 2016.
- Lobo RA, et al. Genital tract infections. In: Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR. 2015;64:1. http://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/default.htm. Accessed Nov. 19, 2016.
- Butler Tobah YS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Rochester, Minn. Nov. 26, 2016.