Can Sex Toys Really Cause Yeast Infections?!? 0 2590

Sex Toys | Can They Cause Yeast Infections | Ella Paradis

Yeast infections are a common and ever-so-annoying occurrence. If you’re curious to know whether or not sex toys can cause them, the answer is yes. But, there are ways to have fun with your toys and prevent those pesky infections. Here’s how to stay safe with sex toys and ditch the itch!

Sex Toys | Can They Cause Yeast Infections | Ella Paradis

So, what exactly are yeast infections?

According to Mayo Clinic, yeast infections affect 3 out of 4 people with vulvas in their lifetimes, and for many, they can be recurring. Though yeast infections are commonly thought of as something that only affects vulva-owners, they can also affect penis-owners. Though this is more uncommon, yeast infections for people with penises can cause burning with urination, sores on the foreskin, itching, painful sex, patchiness, or small pus-filled bumps.

Common symptoms of yeast infections for people with vulvas:

  • Itching in the vagina and around the vulva
  • Burning during urination or intercourse
  • Soreness
  • Rash
  • Thick, white vaginal discharge

Okay, first off, what even is a yeast infection? A yeast infection is a fungal infection that is not considered an STI, but it is possible to transmit a yeast infection via sex. A yeast infection occurs when healthy yeast in the vagina grows beyond what is considered normal and throws off the equilibrium of the vaginal environment, leading to all these unpleasant symptoms. Sometimes, yeast infections can clear up on their own. When they don’t, there is over-the-counter or prescription treatment.

Female In Pain | Yeast Infection from Sex Toys Blog | Ella Paradis
How can sex toys transmit yeast infections?

Here’s the thing: your sex toy is not waiting in its brand new box, ready to give you a yeast infection. But, specific materials and other factors can increase how likely you might be to get one. Let’s get into how sex toys can transmit yeast infections.

Sex toy cleanliness: it’s less practiced than you think!

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 14% of women had never cleaned their vibrators before or after use. Hopefully, in the last decade since the study’s publication, things have improved as people learn that their sex toy cleanliness can directly impact physical health.

As you might have guessed, a big reason that people might end up with itchy bits after using their sex toy is due to unhygienic practices. As the study goes to show, many people don’t properly wash their toys, and proper cleaning after usage takes care of any bacteria on a toy that may be lingering.

When cleaning your sex toys, you can use a sex toy cleaner or wash with fragrance-free soap and warm water. Fragrance may increase susceptibility to yeast infections, so always choose unscented!

Be careful not to switch your sex toy between body parts, which can also lead to an increased risk of infection. This means not going from genitals to tush unless you sprint to the sink and wash your toy in between. Let’s face it, that’s not always super practical in the heat of the moment.

If you enjoy exploring different body parts with toys, you might buy one toy for each body part so you can switch between toys during sex. Switching between the anus and vagina can lead to a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Yeast infections are just downright un-fun, so be sure to avoid this mistake. If you find yourself in the predicament of wanting to switch regions but only have one toy accessible, throw a condom on it before switching orifices.

Sex Toys | Anal Plug & Condom | Yeast Infection Blog | Ella Paradis
Know your materials

Just as you would read the ingredients on the back of a product at the grocery store to check out what you’re putting in your body, you’d want to carefully read the ingredients and materials that make up your sex toy or lubrication before applying to your most sensitive areas! Certain ingredients and materials are safer than others.

Porous toys can increase susceptibility to yeast infections due to their tiny microscopic holes that trap bacteria. Jelly toys, which are more porous, are made out of phthalates, which can store bacteria and have been deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency as possibly carcinogenic, AKA, not a material you want around your bits!

Some sex toys and condoms are made out of latex, which can cause an allergic reaction and increase susceptibility to yeast infections and UTIs. If you know you have this allergy, opt for latex-free.

Always be sure to check your toys for wear and tear and cracks. Why? Like porous toys, cracks can trap unwanted bacteria and account for those pesky yeast infections. Storing your toys properly can also extend their life and limit unwanted wear. So, if you usually stash your toys in a box where they pile up on top of one another, it’s time to organize them better, so they can continue sparking joy.

Know thy lube

Which lube you pair with your toys can also significantly impact the likelihood of getting a yeast infection. Lubes are typically oil-based, silicone, or water-based. If you’re particularly prone to yeast infections, aim for a water-based lube.

Think about it this way—both oil-based lubes and silicone lubes stick around longer than water-based lubes. This means that these lubes can create a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, thus triggering a yeast infection.

A study by UCLA found that 32% of participants who used oils inside the vagina increased the risk of yeast infections. Silicone lubes containing glycerin can also increase susceptibility to yeast infections. Avoid pairing sex toys with flavored lubes if you’re using them on the genitals, as sugar can also cause yeast infections. For a deeper dive down all things lube, check out our lube guide. We hope we’ve clarified how you can get a yeast infection with sex toys. While yeast infections are totally annoying, there are precautions to take that will limit your risk of getting one with a sex toy. Choosing suitable materials, practicing good sex toy hygiene, and pairing with the correct lube can all help to prevent yeast infections.

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