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Lizzie De La Cruz - May 4, 2021

Yeast Infection from Antibiotics: Why it Happens

Blue capsules and a glass bottle to represent antibiotics that could cause a yeast infection

It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Antibiotics are things that are meant to fight harmful bacteria. So why are they sometimes part of the problem? While antibiotics do kill bacteria, they also fight against good bacteria as much as the harmful bacteria. This is why one of the causes of vaginal yeast infections can be an overuse of antibiotics. Why should you, or shouldn’t you, take an antibiotic for a yeast infection? Let’s look at what we know.

What do antibiotics do?

An antibiotic is a medicine that helps stop infections that are caused by bacteria by preventing the bacteria from copying itself or from reproducing. There is no doubt that, in some cases, this is a good thing, but a lot of the bacteria that is naturally in the body is helpful. Antibiotics can kill bacterial infections, but they don’t help treat viral or fungal infections, and a little medical advice can help determine the needed treatment. Yeast infections require a different treatment (an antifungal medication) that is more effective and better suited to kicking your infection!

How do yeast infections occur?

When the natural bacteria become out of balance in the body, problems occur. Women who take a lot of antibiotics, especially broad-spectrum antibiotics designed to kill a wide range of bacteria, are particularly at risk. Unnecessary antibiotics disrupt the balance of bacteria in the vagina, and this can cause an overgrowth of the candida fungus in that area. So, in this case, taking antibiotics for yeast infections doesn’t help; it may even make it worse.

What causes or worsens a yeast infection?

Using antibiotics for yeast infections is not the only thing that can make an infection worse. Candida yeast thrives in a moist environment which means douching, hot baths or soaking in tubs, or wearing wet clothing for too long can all encourage yeast overgrowth. Cotton, loose-fitting underwear can help keep the vaginal area feeling clean and comfortable. Getting into the habit of changing into dry clothes right after a sweaty workout can help prevent infections from happening in the first place!

Yeast infections do not only live in the vagina, and that is another reason to avoid taking an antibiotic for a yeast infection. They get worse when not properly treated the first time, and they can be passed on through different types of skin-to-skin contact. The Candida infection can be transmitted from mouth to skin, like, for example, during breast feeding, and yeast infections around the nipples are common in breastfeeding mothers. 

So what can you do?

This can be an embarrassing topic, and one that not every woman will feel comfortable talking to a doctor about. It is a good idea to recognize the symptoms so that the infection can be treated efficiently and quickly. Medicines do help if you have the right ones. Probiotics for a yeast infection are a good way to restore the bacterial balance. Antifungals are a doctor-prescribed medicine that are a powerful treatment. If this is not your first time and you do recognize the symptoms, these medicines can be obtained easily online. If you are not sure, consult wisp for help identifying the symptoms and getting the advice that you need—like not taking antibiotics for yeast infections. 

You know your body. If something doesn’t feel right, but you don’t know who to talk to, say hello to wisp to connect with a doctor and get the treatment you need!

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