Picture this scenario: You and your boyfriend have been enjoying each other's company for a while now, but you've recently noticed some strange discharge "down there." After doing some research online (hopefully not on WebMD), you realize that it could be a yeast infection. Panic sets in as you wonder if your beloved beau is at risk of catching this pesky infection.
Fear not, dear reader! We're here to answer all of your burning questions about yeast infections and whether or not they can affect your partner. So sit back, relax, and let's dive into the world of vaginal discomfort (yay!).
The Basics of Yeast Infections
First things first - what exactly is a yeast infection? Well, it's an overgrowth of the fungus Candida that naturally exists in our bodies (sounds lovely). Normally, our immune systems keep the population of Candida under control so we don't even notice it. However, certain factors such as taking antibiotics or having uncontrolled diabetes can disrupt this balance and cause an overgrowth.
Some common symptoms include:
- Itching around the vagina
- Burning during urination or sex
- White discharge that looks like cottage cheese
- Redness/swelling around the vulva
So Can My Boyfriend Catch It?
Now onto the question you've all been waiting for - can your significant other catch a yeast infection from you? This may surprise you (or maybe it won't) but nope! Men cannot get vaginal yeast infections because they don't have vaginas filled with fertile breeding grounds for bacteria/fungi growth.
However...that doesn't mean men are completely off the hook. They can still develop something called balanitis which is basically just inflammation of their penis head caused by various irritants such as fungal infections (hello Candida!) or bacteria. So if you notice that your man is experiencing redness, swelling, or pain around his genital area, it's possible he could have balanitis.
How Could I Have Gotten a Yeast Infection?
Since we know now that yeast infections are not sexually transmitted (sorry to burst any bubbles), how did you end up with one in the first place? Here are some possible causes:
- Taking antibiotics
- Having uncontrolled diabetes/high blood sugar
- Wearing tight clothing/synthetic underwear all day long
- Using scented products in the vaginal area like douches or sprays (please don't do this! Your vagina is self-cleaning and doesn't need these products)
- Being pregnant and going through hormonal changes
How Do I Treat It?
If you suspect that you may have a yeast infection, it's important to go see your healthcare provider for confirmation before starting any kind of treatment. Once confirmed (if confirmed!), usually a course of antifungal medication will be prescribed either as an oral pill or suppository/cream inserted into the vagina.
Additionally, there are some over-the-counter treatments available such as Monistat or Gyne-Lotrimin but again - make sure to establish with certainty what's causing your discomfort beforehand because treating wrong can cause more problems than solutions.
It also goes without saying but cotton panties/breathable fabrics during waking hours and exposing yourself to air (aka keeping pants off) while sleeping helps speed up recovery!
Although there isn't much good news about contracting yeast infections from our partners (or vice versa), at least we can rest easy knowing they aren't contagious. However vaginal health has many nuances beyond what meets the eye, so establishing regular gynecological check-ups is essential along with maintaining proper hygiene including washing regularly/taking probiotics/eating well-stocked, balanced diet.
With that being said, it's good to know yourself and your body. If you feel anything is off or not typical of your normal state of health - give your healthcare provider a call no matter how awkward the conversation may seem!
Stay healthy down there, ladies!