Are antibiotics able to cause yeast infections?
Antibiotics are used in order to eliminate harmful bacteria from the body. However, they can also kill beneficial bacteria which could lead to yeast infections.
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Vaginal yeast infections can be fungal infections of your vagina. These infections occur when Candida, a type of yeast that naturally occurs in the vaginal area, starts to grow out of control. Itching and irritation can occur in the vagina and the vulva, which are the outer parts of the female genital region.
Continue reading to find out why this happens, and how you can lower your chances of getting sick while on antibiotics.
Vaginas have their own balance of yeast and bacteria. Lactobacillus bacteria keeps the vagina slightly acidic. This isn’t good news for yeast. The vagina is kept slightly acidic to keep yeast growth under control.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics that you might use to treat bronchitis and sinus infections are like a bomb to the body’s natural balance. They kill the bad bacteria that is causing your illness.
Antibiotics can also kill beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus. Your vagina becomes less acidic if there is not enough Lactobacillus. This makes it a perfect environment for yeast growth.
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What can I do to reduce my risk?
After taking antibiotics, there are many things you can do that will reduce the chance of developing a yeast infection.
- Talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor if you have a history of yeast infections, or if you are prone to getting one every time you take antibiotics. Fluconazole (Diflucan), an oral antifungal medication, may be prescribed by your doctor to you during your treatment.
One pill may be prescribed on the first day, and another every seven days until the antibiotics are finished. This will help prevent yeast overgrowth while you are taking antibiotics.
- You can use an over-the-counter antifungal
Antifungal creams and suppositories can be used to prevent yeast infections from antibiotics. Your good bacteria can be replaced by antifungal agents, which will help keep yeast under control.
Follow the instructions on the box to use your antifungal while you are taking your antibiotics. This will prevent yeast infections. An antifungal can be used at any time during your treatment.
- Restore your good bacteria
Antibiotics can destroy good bacteria in your body. Some of the damage can be reversed by increasing the amount of good bacteria in your system.
You might consider taking a probiotic supplement that contains Lactobacillus like this one. You might also consider adding yogurt with live active cultures to you diet. Here are some suggestions for brands that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus.
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- Use yogurt
Yogurt can be a good way to replenish good bacteria. However, it may be beneficial to apply yogurt near your vagina. Make sure to choose unflavored yogurt, one that does not contain sweeteners, and one that has live active cultures.
Itching relief is as easy as applying it to your vulva. To place the yogurt in your vagina, you can use a tampon application tool whose tampon is removed.
- Find out how yogurt can be used to treat yeast infections.
- Avoid using antibiotics unnecessarily
Avoid minor infections such as an ear infection. These cases will result in antibiotics only shortening your healing time by one or two days.
Before you start antibiotics, ask your doctor for any other suggestions.
If your doctor recommends taking them, be sure to complete the course. Doing so could lead to antibiotic resistance which can make antibiotics ineffective against harmful bacteria.
Additional tips to prevent this
These tips will help you reduce the risk of getting a yeast infection.
As soon as possible, get rid of your wet bathing suit and underwear. Moisture is a good environment for yeast growth.
Avoid very hot baths and hot tubs. Warm environments are what yeast prefers more than a moist environment.
Wear loose-fitting clothes. Although there is no direct link between yeast infections and tight clothing, tightening your pants can cause heat and moisture to build up around your vulva.
Wear breathable, cotton underwear. Cotton underwear can keep you cool and dry.
Never douche. Douching can destroy healthy bacteria.
Avoid vaginal deodorant products. These include powders, sprays, and scented pads, as well as tampons.
Diabetes patients should keep their blood sugar under control. High blood sugar levels can encourage yeast growth.
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Do I need to see a doctor?
Your doctor should be consulted if your yeast infection does not improve after treatment. OTC antifungal creams may take up to 10 business days to cure yeast infections.
Recurrent yeast infections are when you have four or more yeast infections per year. You need to make an appointment. This type of yeast infection is usually treated with prescriptions. Yogurt and other home remedies won’t work.
If symptoms persist after that point, it could be bacterial vaginosis. This is a bacterial infection that has symptoms similar to a yeast infection. It isn’t caused by fungus and therefore won’t respond well to antifungal treatment.