A new study by University of Michigan Health System researchers finds that the presence of yeast in male sex partners do not make women more prone to recurrent yeast infections. Certain sexual activities, however, were linked to increased risk of recurrent yeast infections in women, according to the study.
"Many physicians, and many women, believe that women get recurrent yeast infections because their partner passes the yeast back to them during intercourse. This study refutes that belief," says study author Barbara Reed, M.D., M.S.P.H., professor of Family Medicine at the U-M Medical School. "This study suggests the risk for recurrent infections is related to something else perhaps the woman's immune response to the yeast."
Candida vulvovaginitis, or yeast infection, is one of the most common diagnoses in American women. About three-quarters of women will have at least one yeast infection in their lives, and 40 percent have recurrent infections. The Candida yeast are often found in both women and men in the genital area, rectum and mouth.
In the study, published in the December Journal of Women's Health, researchers looked at 148 women with confirmed Candida vulvovaginitis and 78 of their male sexual partners. Each woman was examined by a doctor, who collected samples from the vagina, cervix, vulva, tongue and rectum. The men were asked to collect at home urine, fecal and semen samples and a tongue swabbing. The samples were analyzed by culture to determine whether Candida species were present at each site.
The women received treatment for their initial infection and were asked to return for follow-up visits after two weeks, four weeks, six months and a year. At each visit, they were asked about symptoms, sexual activity and changes i
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University of Michigan Health System