Are Sex Toys Actually Linked to Yeast Infections?

April 02, 2022 4 min read

Yeast infections can be a frustrating and common problem. If you are curious about whether sex toys can lead to them, the answer is "yes". There are ways to enjoy your toys without getting infected. These are some tips to help you avoid getting sexy with your toys.

What are yeast infections exactly?

Mayo Clinic says yeast infections can affect up to 34% of people who have vulvas. For many, they can become recurring. Although yeast infections are often thought to only affect vulva-owners and penis-owners, it can also affect penis owners. Although it is less common, yeast infections in penis-owners can lead to burning, sores on the skin, itching, painful sexual activity, patchiness or small pus-filled bumps.

Common symptoms for yeast infections in people with vulva:

  • Itching around the vulva and in the vagina
  • Intercourse or urination burns
  • Soreness
  • Rash
  • Vaginal discharge thick and white

First, let's clarify what a yeast infection is. Although a yeast infection is not considered an STI (sex transmission can be possible). A yeast infection is when the normal growth of yeast in the vagina causes problems. Sometimes yeast infections will clear up by themselves. If they don't clear up, prescription or over-the-counter treatment is available.

What can sex toys do to yeast infections?

The truth is that your sex toys are not in a brand-new box waiting to infect you with yeast. However, certain materials and other factors may increase your chances of getting one. Let's look at how sex toys can spread yeast infections.

Sex Toy Cleanliness: It's not as hard as you think!

In a 2009 study, 14% of women hadn't cleaned their vibrators prior to or after using them. The good news is that things have improved in the ten years since publication of the study. People now realize how cleanliness of sex toys can directly affect their physical health.

Unhygienic methods are a major reason people get itchy skin after using sex toys. The study shows that many people don’t wash their toys properly. Proper cleaning after use will remove any bacteria.

You can clean your sex toys with a sex cleaner or use warm water and a fragrance-free soap. Avoid using fragrances as they can increase your susceptibility to yeast infections.

You should not switch your sex toys between body parts. This can increase the risk of infection. You should not switch from your genitals and tush, unless you run to the sink to wash your toy. It's sometimes not practical to do this in the heat of the moment.

You might consider buying one toy for each part of your body if you like exploring them with toys. Switching between your anus and vagina could lead to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. Yeast infections can be very unpleasant so make sure you avoid them. If you are in a situation where you need to change regions, but only one toy is available, use a condom to protect your skin before switching to other orifices.

Know what your materials are

You would look at the ingredients of any product you bought at the grocery store to see what it contains. Before you apply to sensitive areas, make sure you carefully review the materials and ingredients of your sex toy and lubrication. Some ingredients and materials are safer than others.

Because of the tiny holes in toys that trap bacteria, porous toys can make you more susceptible to yeast infections. 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 something you want around your body!

Condoms and sex toys made from latex can trigger an allergic reaction. It also increases susceptibility to yeast infections. This allergy can be avoided if you are aware.

Make sure you check all toys for cracks and wear. Why? Cracks, like porous toys can trap bacteria and cause yeast infections. Properly organizing your toys can extend their lives and reduce wear. If you find yourself storing your toys in a box that piles up, you need to get organized so they don't become a burden.

Know your lube types

The type of lubricant you use with your toys can have a significant impact on the risk of developing yeast infections. Lubes can be oil-based or silicone-based. A water-based lube is best for yeast infections.

It's simple: both oil-based and silicone lubes last longer than water-based. These lubes can be a breeding ground for bacteria and could lead to yeast infections.

UCLA researchers found that 32% of participants who used oils in their vaginas increased the likelihood of yeast infectionsGlycerin-containing silicone lubricants can increase your susceptibility to yeast infections. If you use flavored lubes on your genitals, it is a good idea to avoid pairing sex toys and flavored lubes. Sugar can also lead to yeast infections. 

Our lube guide will provide a more detailed explanation of all things lube. We hope you have understood how yeast infections can be spread through sex toys. Although yeast infections can be very annoying, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting one from sex toys. You can prevent yeast infections by choosing the right materials, using good hygiene and pairing with the right lube.