Genital fungal infection is considered one of the so-called endogenous infections of the human body.
Normally on the surface of the skin and mucous membranes (mouth, digestive system, vagina), there are small amounts of fungi that do not cause disease and complaints. Most often, these fungi are Candida albicans, but it is possible that they are some of the other members of the species Candida, for example, C. Glabrata, C. Troipicalis, and others.
Under the influence of various external and internal factors, they can cause disease. The characteristic of vaginal candidiasis is that it never develops in the absence of estrogen in the tissues. Therefore, the infection is almost never seen in girls before puberty, as well as in women in the post-menopausal age.
However, yeast infections are incredibly common in women in childbearing age (technically, women that can get pregnant and bear children). Some studies estimate that three out of four women will get a yeast infection in their life, and many women get multiple yeast infections over their life.
While there are several known risk factors for yeast infections, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that there hasn’t been a lot of research on sex toys and yeast infections. Many sex toys are used only on the outside of the body, and these should have no impact on a yeast infection. For sex toys used internally, it’s most likely that any connection to yeast infections will be indirect. Still, it’s worth thinking about and doing what you can to avoid anything that would encourage a yeast infection. Here are some potential ways that using sex toys might encourage a yeast infection.
Some personal lubricants are thought to increase the chances of getting a yeast infection, particularly for individuals who are prone to yeast infections. Because lubricant is important to use with sex toys, it may be that a yeast infection after sex toy use is the result of the lube and not the toy.
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Most sex toys that are used for penetration create significant friction, particularly with vigorous use. The friction may irritate the skin and irritation. Friction can break down layers of the skin or vaginal mucosa and this can compromise the protective barrier that healthy tissue normally provides.
You may have an allergic reaction to the sex toy material or the lubricant you are using with the toy. The allergic reaction can also cause irritation and lead to increased yeast infection risk as above.
Whether from friction and improper sex toy cleaning or a reaction to the sex toy material, using sex toys can cause bladder and/or urinary tract infections. Because bladder infections are treated with antibiotics, and antibiotics in turn promote the growth of vaginal yeast, this can be another indirect way that using sex toys might increase your chances of a yeast infection.
Finally, if you do get a bladder infection and are prescribed antibiotics, these increase the risk of a yeast infection.
Reducing the Risk
Here are some things you can do to reduce the risk of getting a yeast infection via sex toys:
- Avoid lubricants with glycerin.
- To reduce irritation from friction, use plenty of glycerin-free lubricants, and reapply lubricant if using toys for a longer time period.
- When choosing a sex toy, purchase higher quality materials that are easier to keep clean like hard plastic, metal, or silicone.
- Always wash your toys, let them air dry, and store them in a clean place.
Cleaning sex toys before and after each use
Proper and good intimate hygiene includes some specifics such as regular cleaning of sex toys before and after each use. Yes, Sex toys also need timely and thorough cleaning so that we do not get fungal or other infections when we decide to have fun with them.
Studies show that only 35 percent of women who use such devices clean them after each use.
There are special wipes and other hygiene products on the market that are specially made for cleaning sex toys.
When you clean your toy before and after each use, you reduce the risk of infections. Often this specific care is neglected, which can bring you trouble and interrupt your sexual entertainment.
Of course, most of the modern sex toys can be washed with soap and water. But be careful in the area around the batteries.
If you notice a crack in any part, the water that will enter during washing can damage your toy. Toys that have a porous and jelly-like surface are more difficult to clean.
The others, which are made of medical latex and smooth glass-like material, are easy to clean. If you suspect that you have not cleaned them well, it is best to put on a condom for greater security.
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