I thought I would write a post dealing with condoms and yeast infections because many people don’t know there can be a correlation between the two. In some cases, condoms can cause yeast infections, and in other cases, condoms can actually prevent yeast infections. I’ll first talk about how they can prevent yeast infections. Semen can neutralize the pH in the vagina. It has to temporarily, in order to survive and make it’s way to fertilize an egg. If you have sex often, the semen can alter the pH in the vagina for more than just temporarily. The vagina operates best when the pH levels are more acidic. If the semen has had a significant impact on your pH level, this could cause a yeast infection. Obviously, if you use condoms, the semen never makes it’s way into the vagina. In addition, condoms are also great for preventing bacteria from entering the vagina. Let’s say your partner hasn’t showered in a day and he didn’t wash his penis off (Gross I know, but it happens.) before having sex. If you don’t use a condom, all of the germs and bacteria that could be on his penis will then be inserted all the way into your vagina. If he uses a condom, some of the germs may get on the outside of your vagina, but they won’t get on the inside where the condom is protecting. In general, condoms make for cleaner sex and much easier clean-up for the woman.
On the other hand, there are certain instances where condoms can cause a yeast infection. One instance is if you are allergic to the condom itself. Many people have a latex allergy. Cases of people allergic to latex can range from minor to severe. Minor meaning, after repeated use an irritation occurs, and severe meaning hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing occur immediately after contact. People who are severely allergic know it, but those who are are only slightly allergic may not be aware of their allergy. Someone who is slightly allergic may experience a burning, swelling, or irritated sensation in the vagina after condom use. It may not happen after just one use but repeated use may cause these symptoms. The allergic reaction can definitely upset the pH in the vagina and give you a yeast infection. If you are allergic to latex, try switching to a polyurethane condom. You can also try lambskin condoms. I will warn you about lambskin condoms; they DO NOT offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Another way condoms can give you a yeast infection is if the lubricant on the condom contains nonoxynol-9–a spermicide that is said to kill the HIV virus. Studies have show a link between nonoxynol-9 and yeast infections as well as urinary tract infections. Many condom makers no longer use nonoxynol-9. It’s easy to find condoms that don’t contain this spermicide. Another instance where a condom can cause a yeast infection is if you are allergic to the lubricant on the condom. Also, some lubricants contain glycerin. Often times people who are prone to yeast infections cannot use lubricants containing glycerin because it gives them a yeast infection. In this situation, you can look for a condom with a different lubricant or buy a non lubricated condom and use your own water based lubricant. If the glycerin is the problem, then find a non-glycerin lubricant. The answers to your yeast infection problems could be as simple as changing the type of condom you use.