Is a Yeast Infection an STD: Differences, Similarities, Causes, More

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Is a yeast infection an STD? This is a common question among sexually active people. But, if you suspect you have contracted a vaginal yeast infection, you need not worry too much. This article gives you a deep insight into what you should know about yeast infections and STDs. You can learn about candidiasis and book a treatment option.

Before giving further information, it is always helpful to know what a yeast infection and STDs are and if there are any similarities or differences between these health conditions. So, let’s start with some basic information. Then we will share some handy answers to avoid any confusion or worry in vain.

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What Is a Yeast Infection?

This condition is more common than you may think. According to this article, Candidemia is one of the most common bloodstream infections in the United States, with a rate of 9 per 100,000 people infected during 2013-2017.

Yeast is a fungus usually found on the skin. Still, it can also be located in women’s digestive system, heart, kidney, bones, and vaginal area.

When fungus grows on your skin or other areas, it can cause an infection known as candidiasis. Candidiasis is typically not expected before puberty and is rare after menopause.

Symptoms of a Yeast Infection

The typical symptoms of candidiasis can be similar to some STDs. This is why “is a yeast infection an STD” is a commonly asked question. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Itching and swelling around the vagina
  • Burning or pain during urination or sex
  • Soreness
  • Redness
  • Rash

symptoms of yeast infection

Is a Yeast Infection an STD: what is an STD?

STDs are pretty prevalent in the US. The CDC reports that millions of new cases of infections occur annually. STDs are transmitted from one infected person to another when bacteria or viruses are exchanged during sexual activities. Sexual activities may be oral, anal, or vaginal. Some STDs can also be transmitted through intimate physical contact, although this is relatively less common.

Some STDs can cause noticeable symptoms to occur in an infected person. However, some infections like chlamydia can be asymptomatic and remain in the body for years without detection. The most reliable way to know if you have an STD is to get tested. Regular testing is recommended, especially if you are young and sexually active.

Some of the most common STDs include:

  • Herpes
  • Chlamydia
  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Syphilis
  • HIV/AIDS (people who have STDs are more likely to get HIV when compared to people who do not have STDs)

Having Sex With a Yeast Infection

At this stage, you may wonder if there is any chance of having sex while you have a yeast infection. For you and your partner’s safety, staying away from sex while you are still infected is recommended.

For instance, if you are experiencing symptoms such as burning and itching before, during, or after sex. Sex might be uncomfortable for you and your partner, and you could cause friction or trauma to your vaginal tissues. In addition, booking a consultation with your healthcare provider is highly advised for an informed course of action.

Your doctor would most likely conduct tests to ensure you don’t have other STDs. After this, your doctor can advise you on the treatment options available.

How Do You Differentiate a Yeast Infection From an STD?

A yeast overgrowth infection can cause symptoms similar to some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, like itching and burning sensations in and around the genitals. However, despite the similarities in the occurrence of symptoms, yeast infections might require a different treatment option from other STDs. This is why it is crucial to speak to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the associated symptoms of infection so they can diagnose you appropriately.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

The most common symptoms of candidiasis are inflammation, itching, and burning in and around the vagina. This is also true for diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea. When left untreated, these infections can cause pelvic inflammatory disease that causes bacteria to infect the reproductive organs, potentially causing infertility.

BV

According to the CDC, this is the most common infection in women aged 15 to 44. This happens when the amount of harmful bacteria in a vagina is more significant than the good ones. Douching and sex can cause this specific infection. While candidiasis is usually treated with antifungal medication, you may need antibiotics to treat BV.

Herpes

Because some of the symptoms of herpes are pretty similar to that of candidiasis, it can be quite confusing to diagnose without medical help. Candidiasis can cause burning, itching, pain, and sores in the vagina, like genital herpes. It’s worthy of note that there are currently no conclusive treatment options for herpes; however, the infection can be curtailed with antiviral medications. Therefore, if you are experiencing burning or itching in and around your vagina, speak to your doctor or book an online medical consultation immediately.

Allergic Reaction or Sensitivity

Other situations can cause similar candidiasis symptoms besides the previously highlighted factors. These include reactions caused by soaps, lotions, corporal creams, laundry detergents that you may be allergic or sensitive to, and other elements such as condoms.

Can Condoms Prevent Yeast Infections and STDs?

According to the CDC, consistent and correct use of latex condoms can significantly reduce but not eliminate the risk of an STD transmission. In addition, in some cases, vaginal sex can cause candidiasis and BV, even if you use a condom.

However, suppose condoms are used consistently and correctly. In that case, they are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). In addition, latex condoms reduce the risk of getting other sexually transmitted infections, including those contracted by genital secretions and genital ulcer diseases. Condom use may reduce the risk of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and HPV-associated diseases like genital warts and cervical cancer.

There are two main modes of STD transmission. First, diseases such as HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis are transmitted when an infected urethral or vaginal secretions contact mucosal surfaces(including the male urethra, the vagina, or cervix).

On the other hand, genital ulcer diseases (like herpes, syphilis, and chancroid) and human papillomavirus (HPV) are primarily transmitted through contact with mucosal surfaces or infected skin. You can find more helpful information here.

Other Possible Causes of Vaginal Pain and Discomfort

Apart from candidiasis and STDs, other infections like urinary tract infections can cause similar pain and discomfort in the vagina. Therefore, recognizing them as soon as possible is vital to receiving the correct treatment.

Bacterial Vaginosis

This condition happens when more harmful bacteria in the vagina to overgrows the good ones and, therefore, cause a yeast infection. This imbalance of bacteria is not an STD. However, it can lead to contracting one if it is not appropriately treated at the right time.

The main symptoms include thin gray or white discharge with pain, itching, and burning. Another clear presence of this infection is a strong fish-like odor from the vagina.

Dermatitis by Contact

This happens in and around the vulva, causing stinging and burning due to micro-cracks in the skin. This condition, however, does not cause a change in vaginal discharge. Dermatitis can be caused by irritated skin from an allergen or irritant such as perfumes, soaps, laundry detergents, spermicides, deodorants, and other daily care products.

Hemorrhoids

There’s no reason to be overly worried if you notice this condition around your rectum and anus. The first symptom is swollen veins, which include pain, itching, and bleeding. If hemorrhoids are mild, they can be treated at home by adding more fiber-rich aliments to your diet or a warm bath when needed. See your healthcare provider for a reliable treatment option if there is no improvement.

Other Skin Conditions

Suppose you have other skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis on the skin of your vagina. There is a high chance it might lead to candidiasis due to thick patches that result from quick skin cell reproduction. You can become infected when these patches appear on the vulva and the skin cracks open.

When To See a Healthcare Provider

It is vital to be cautious and recognize the symptoms of an infection as soon as they appear. This is especially true if the symptoms cause pain or discomfort and can adversely affect your vagina health.

Candidiasis has similar symptoms to some STDs. Therefore, your doctor may be able to help you by diagnosing and proffering suitable solutions to your condition immediately after your report. You must see a doctor without hesitation if your symptoms include fever, abnormal bleeding, or severe pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

These answers to some of these frequently asked online questions can give you more insight.

Candidiasis is caused by the growth of the microscopic fungus Candida in the vagina. Your vagina may have small-scale amounts of yeast at any time without causing symptoms. However, you will most likely get an infection when the yeast overgrows.

Even though candidiasis is not considered an STD, you can still get it from your partner through sex. Condoms and dental dams may contribute to preventing infection or passing candidiasis through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. 

Women and girls can get this common condition as three out of four women will experience a yeast overgrowth infection at some point in their life. Note these are rare before puberty and after menopause. If candidiasis occurs during these ages, see a doctor immediately.

Yes, the risk for yeast overgrowth infections for women is higher when the following conditions occur.

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes and blood sugar are not under the control
  • Higher doses of estrogen (hormonal)
  • Usage of douche or vaginal sprays
  • A recent treatment therapy using antibiotics such as amoxicillin or steroid medicines.
  • A weakened immune system

Yes, seeing a doctor or nurse is the only reliable way to know if you have candidiasis. The signs and symptoms of candidiasis are much like symptoms of other more severe conditions, such as STDs and BV.

If left untreated, BV and STIs raise your risk of getting other STIs, including HIV, and can lead to infertility. BV can also lead to complications during pregnancy, like premature birth. 

Your doctor will conduct a pelvic examination to look for discharge and swelling, then use a cotton swab to extract a sample of the discharge from your vagina. Next, a lab technician will look at the discharge sample under a microscope to determine whether there is a significant increase in the bacteria that causes candidiasis.

There are some steps to lower your risk of getting a candidiasis infection. Follow these guidelines:

  • Do not douche, as this action removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protects you from disease.
  • Change your tampons, pads, and panty liners often.
  • Do not use scented feminine products: bubble baths, sprays, pads, and tampons.
  • Wear underwear with a cotton crotch. Cotton underwear helps keep you dry and does not hold in warmth and moisture.
  • Do not wear tight underwear like pantyhose, pants, or jeans. These increase body heat and moisture in your genital area
  • Change out of wet workout clothes and swimsuits as soon as you can
  • Ensure to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom
  • If you have diabetes, make sure your blood sugar is under control.
  • Avoid hot tubs and scalding baths.

Treating a yeast infection with suppositories or vaginal creams containing miconazole or clotrimazole is safe during pregnancy.

Avoid taking the oral fluconazole tablet to treat a yeast infection during pregnancy. It may cause congenital disabilities in your baby.

You can get a yeast infection on your breasts or nipples from breastfeeding. Yeast thrives on milk and moisture. This infection during breastfeeding differs from vaginal candidiasis but is an overgrowth of the same fungus that causes this condition.

Symptoms of infection during breastfeeding include:

  • Flaky, shiny, itchy, or cracked nipples
  • Discomfort or pain in the breast during or after breastfeeding
  • Achy breasts
  • Sore nipples
  • Deep pink and blistered nipples

If you think your baby might have thrush in their mouth or you have any of these signs or symptoms, call your doctor as soon as possible. For further information about thrush, visit this official website.

The first point to note is that candidiasis is not an STD. Still, passing them to your partner during sexual interactions such as vaginal, oral, or anal sex is possible.

Male partners: The risk of infection is low. However, about 15% of men get an itchy rash on their penises if they have sex with a partner who has candidiasis without protection. If this happens to your partner, they should see a doctor. Men who have not been circumcised and men with diabetes are at higher risk.

Female Partners: The risk is high, and they should be tested and treated if they have any symptoms.

Talk to your doctor or nurse if you get four or more yeast infections in a year. About 5% of women get vaginal yeast infections four or more times in one calendar year. Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (RVVC) is more prevalent in women with diabetes or conditions that weaken the immune systems, such as HIV. It can also happen in healthy women, still.

Doctors most often recommend up to six months of antifungal medicine for RVVC. Medical researchers are also examining a vaccine’s effects to help prevent RVVC.

Get Professional Help With Doctor Alexa

At DrAlexa, we offer affordable online doctor visits via telehealth and telemedicine services without insurance, so everyone is welcome. We give you complete control of your sexual health and provide effortless ways to access healthcare services from the comfort of your home.

Our goal is to provide world-class healthcare service and vital assistance right from your first contact with us. In addition, we offer affordable consultations starting at just $29. For more about our services and how we can help you treat the conditions, you are struggling with, visit our website www.doctoralexa.com today.

If you have more questions or queries, do not hesitate to comment below or email us at services@doctoralexa.com. We will be more than happy to help you.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

You shouldn’t wait to see the doctor for simple health needs.