Aunt Vadge: can you catch thrush from oral?

Dear Aunt Vadge,

Can you catch a vaginal yeast infection from oral sex? 


Dear Yeasty,

This is a difficult question to answer, since you can catch basically anything from anywhere, BUT normally your healthy vaginal flora would fight off any introduced yeasts.

When someone puts their mouth on your vagina, lots of microbes (bacteria, yeast) are directly transmitted to your vagina, but usually none of them will stick around. Your healthy vaginal flora aim to fight them off and kill them, so nothing may happen. But then, sometimes it can happen. Your partner’s mouth may naturally harbour yeasts, which may not affect them, but that can cause an infection in you.

There is definitely the potential for transmission of yeasts from someone with a yeasty mouth, particularly if your vagina has low levels of healthy flora or you are already prone to yeast infections. If you then have sex without a condom, you can then pass it to their genitals too, and you both end up with a yeast infection!

Using saliva as lube can also increase the chances of yeasts being spread. You may have used something else during that sexual occasion that has upset the balance of your healthy flora, like lube or something else, which can result in yeast overgrowing – not being transmitted necessarily. These factors also have to be taken into account, as the pH from saliva is much higher than your vagina normally is. If your flora is off, it can result in a yeast infection.

Read our yeast infections page for more information on how to treat a yeast infection at home or see your doctor for testing and treatment.

Aunt Vadge

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