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By: RSC Editorial Team

September 3, 2023

Does HPV Cause Recurrent Yeast Infections?

When you think of unpleasant infections you won’t want your body going through, HPV and yeast infections are likely on that list. Most people aren’t aware of how common HPV is. In reality, 42 million Americans have types of HPV that cause disease, according to the CDC.

Aside from the pain and discomfort they both cause, is there a link between them? Does HPV cause recurrent yeast infections? 

If you experience any vaginal irritation or what you suspect are STI symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.

You can use a rapid STD test to determine your next steps. If you test positive for HPV, don’t panic. You and your doctor can talk about treatment options. If you’ve been experiencing recurrent yeast infections since contracting HPV, you might wonder whether there’s any link between them. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss the answer to that question and other cervical concerns you may have. 

Understanding HPV 

HPV is one of the most common STIs because most people don’t realize when they have it. Because so many types of HPV are asymptomatic, it spreads at an alarming speed through contact during oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

However, unlike many other STDs that spread through bodily fluids, HPV spreads solely from close skin-to-skin contact. This is why it spreads so quickly, as the usual protection methods can’t always prevent the spread from one partner to another. 

The good news is that most types of HPV will resolve on their own with no long-lasting symptoms. If you’re sexually active, you could’ve already had HPV and never known. That’s why frequent testing is so important for the health of you and your partners. 

But there are over 150 types of HPV, and some are harmful. When HPV does present symptoms, it takes the form of warts. Warts may appear on the hands and feet, and these are usually harmless. 

However, HPV can also cause genital warts. These may be painful, itchy, and even dangerous. HPV type 6 and HPV type 11 both cause genital warts. 

Unfortunately, more severe types of HPV can increase your risk of cancer. Health professionals link HPV to developing penile, mouth and throat, vaginal, rectal, and cervical cancer. The HPV types associated with cancer are HPV type 16, HPV type 45, HPV type 18, and HPV type 31.

Who Is at Risk of HPV Infection?

Because there is so much intense, prolonged skin-to-skin contact during sex, HPV spreads most easily through vaginal and anal sex. Oral sex can also lead to an HPV infection in your mouth and throat. 

Therefore, if you’re sexually active, you’re at risk of contracting HPV, even if your partner doesn’t know they have it. HPV symptoms can also take years to develop, so you may be unable to determine who you contracted it from. 

Another risk factor is age. Young adults under 25 are most likely to develop HPV. If you belong to this age group, participate in regular testing. Same-day STD testing makes it possible to receive your results quicker than ever, and 10-panel STD tests allow you to test for the most common STDs at once.

The Link Between HPV and Yeast Infections

HPV and yeast infections are common and cause inflammation and discomfort but have distinct symptoms.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) spreads through physical and sexual contact. It comes with warts and a risk of cancer. 

Yeast infections, on the other hand, develop from an overgrowth of Candida fungus in the vagina. An imbalance of vaginal flora causes this overgrowth. These imbalances in your vagina’s microbiome may come with regular hormone changes. Yeast infections lead to burning, unusual discharge, and itching in the vaginal area. 

Weakened immune systems and poor hygiene can increase your chances of HPV and yeast infections. Taking care of yourself and your sexual health can help prevent you from contracting either. 

Another link between the two is the increased likelihood of abnormal pap smear results. 

Pap smears involve scraping the vaginal wall for cells to test them for precancerous conditions like cervical dysplasia. HPV may impact pap smear results because it can lead to a higher risk of cervical cancer.

A yeast infection can also cause your pap smear to come back with abnormal results. This isn’t anything to panic about. The cells aren’t abnormal; they just appear that way. If you have a yeast infection when you go in for your pap smear, notify your doctor. 

You can use topical treatments, creams, and medication to treat symptoms of HPV and yeast infections. However, this is where the similarities end. While you can have HPV and a yeast infection simultaneously, treating one won’t cure the other.

Does HPV cause recurrent yeast infections? No. If you are developing yeast infections, there may be another problem to address. BV, another vaginal infection, has similar symptoms but is also unrelated to yeast infections and HPV.

So, what causes the overgrowth of fungus that results in a yeast infection? There is no clear-cut answer. The following are some things that may cause you to contract a yeast infection: 

  • Wearing tight clothes after exercising
  • Taking certain antibiotics
  • Sexual contact
  • Natural hormone fluctuations 

Note that sexual contact itself doesn’t spread a yeast infection. Unlike HPV, yeast infections are not STDs. Instead, sexual contact leads to yeast infections because of your body’s reaction to another person’s bacteria and yeast. Sex may be painful or uncomfortable when you have a yeast infection.

Treatment options vary greatly between HPV and yeast infections. You can treat yeast infections fairly easily with antifungal medication and prescribed creams. 

HPV, on the other hand, doesn’t have a treatment for the virus itself. You can only receive medication to manage symptoms.

Preventing HPV and Yeast Infection 

Even though they aren’t directly linked, HPV and yeast infections are both things you want to avoid. The question is: How do you prevent them? 

You can prevent both HPV and yeast infections by:

  • Practicing safe sex
  • Practicing good hygiene 
  • Maintaining a probiotic-rich diet

When you have sex, you should always use a form of protection. This helps prevent the spread of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) like HPV. Since it provides a barrier between your genitals and your partner’s, it also decreases the chances of a yeast infection. 

Practicing good vaginal hygiene is about more than cleaning it; it’s about how you clean it. You should only use water since scented soaps and douches have ingredients that could lead to a yeast infection. 

A healthy diet keeps your immune system functioning at its best, allowing it to fight off these infections. Bonus points if you add probiotics to your diet since they help combat and treat yeast infections. 

Being dehydrated, eating a lot of sugar, and consuming a lot of processed starch, on the other hand, increases your likelihood of yeast and other infections.

Annual gynecologist visits are also essential for your vaginal health. They can test you for high-risk HPV and precancerous cells and provide a diagnosis for other issues. If you’re experiencing frequent yeast infections, your doctor can help determine the cause.

Prevention measures unique to HPV include: 

  • Getting the HPV vaccine
  • Getting regular Pap tests
  • Self-checking for symptoms 

Vaccination is the best prevention method for HPV. Although it was once only available to people starting at nine years old and ending at 26, now you can receive it up to age 45. 

Regular Pap tests keep you knowledgeable about your vaginal health. Doctors recommend getting a Pap test every three years, starting at 21 and ending at 65.

However, if you think something might be wrong, it’s okay to get one before your next scheduled test. Self-checking for symptoms like warts is also a good habit to develop, and you should bring any concerns to your doctor as soon as possible.

Play It Safe and Test Today

Does HPV cause recurrent yeast infections? No, but yeast infections do share symptoms with several STDs. If you’re concerned about your vaginal health, you should always test for STDs. STD testing isn’t something to be embarrassed about; it keeps you safe and healthy.

You can even take an STD test at home with rapid STD testing. This way, you don’t have to spend as much time anxiously waiting for results. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so call to order a test today or visit your local clinic for more information. 

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By: RSC Editorial Team
September 3, 2023

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