While oral sex is a great way to increase intimacy with your partner, there are few things you should know!
While it might seem less risky than other types of sexual activity, the reality is, there’s a risk of transmission of infection or disease with oral sex similar to traditional intercourse.
And we aren’t here to be a buzzkill but we want you to understand there is a chance that yeast infections can be spread through oral sex, whether you are giving or receiving.
The reason is rather complex so first cover some background about yeast infections to set the stage.
You’ve likely heard about Candida aka Candida albicans. It’s the fungi that most commonly causes yeast infections and it gets a bit of a bad rap. Perhaps rightfully so as yeast infections are not very pleasant. But our bodies actually need Candida in small amounts to ensure balanced health. They’re part of the community of bacteria, viruses, and other fungi that make up our numerous microbiomes - gut, oral, skin, vaginal, and more.
The bad news is when these microbes become imbalanced they lead to infections like gum disease, bacterial vaginosis, leaky gut, and yeast infections. We call these imbalances dysbiosis.
As with other microbes that are common in the mouth, when Candida gets out of balance, unpleasant symptoms can occur. Regardless of whether oral thrush was caused by oral sex or another cause triggered the dysbiosis, it’s important to note that oral thrush (aka the oral manifestation of a yeast infection or Candidiasis) is not the same as a sexually transmitted infection. Think of it instead as microbes running rampant, multiplying rapidly, and causing infection. Similar to other oral health conditions like bad breath, gum disease, and cavities, yeast infections are common, something that both men and women can get. They are not isolated to one gender or body part. So while indiscriminate, thankfully Candida is easily treatable.
So can you get a yeast infection from giving oral sex?
Yep. A high abundance of Candida is directly correlated with infection. If you engage in oral sex with someone who has a yeast infection, you introduce high amounts of Candida into your mouth. This high abundance can disturb your oral microbiome leading to oral thrush (aka a yeast infection).
What about receiving oral sex?
Sure thing. Studies have shown that an overabundance of Candida can cause microbiome dysbiosis of other microbiomes, such as the vagina or skin of the penis. So, if someone has oral thrush and you receive oral sex from them, they can transfer their overabundance of Candida to you, triggering a yeast infection.
So yes. Oral sex can cause a yeast infection.
Whether you give or receive fellatio or cunnilingus from a sexual partner, the act, no matter how pleasurable, can trigger a yeast infection which is the opposite of pleasure when manifested.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but research also shows that even if you don’t have Candida or a current yeast infection, oral sex predisposes the recipient to yeast infections. Though the reason for this remains unknown, it’s thought that saliva can disturb the resident microbiome of the vagina, leading to dysbiosis or vaginal infections. This is consistent with the fact that frequency of oral intercourse is correlated with an increase in vaginal yeast infections, even in generally healthy individuals.
How can I tell if I have Candida?
Whether or not you are engaging in oral sex, knowing that you can transfer Candida to other people makes it even more important to find out if you carry high levels of Candida. The good news is that there’s a saliva test to help you find out. You can screen your oral microbiome for Candida and other bacteria, viruses, and fungi using The Bristle Oral Health Test. Your partner and your mouth will thank you!
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