Laboratory doctor hand with gloves holding petri dish with bacteria

Antibiotics and Yeast Infections

Antibiotics and yeast infections have a strange relation. While antibiotics are known to help cure many other infections, sometimes they also cause or aggravate yeast infection.
Yeast infection, also known as Candidiasis is an infection caused by a group of microscopic fungi or yeast. Yeast occurs mostly in warm, moist body areas such as the vagina, rectum, underarms and mouth. Small amounts of yeast quantities do not pose any health problems. However, when they multiply and spread, it turns into an infection, that needs immediate medical attention. Antibiotics have been used to cure many infections and diseases. But there have been many instances where antibiotics have triggered complications. One such complication is the yeast infection or candidiasis. It is important to understand the relation between antibiotics and yeast infections, to prevent yeast from occurring again and again.

Yeast Infection Caused by Antibiotics

Our immune system plays a vital role in controlling all infections. However, when antibiotic components travel in our body, they cause some changes in the delicate chemical balance of the body. It disrupts the bacterial flora in the body, resulting in candidiasis. Certain antibiotics, while destroying the harmful bacteria, also damage the good or necessary bacteria. As the good bacteria reduces, candidiasis multiply and spread quickly. Strong or overuse of these drugs cause an imbalance in the bacterial flora.

Treating Antibiotic Caused Yeast Infection

Treating candidiasis depends on the type, severity and place of occurrence. Following is the list of yeast infections and what may help to treat it.

Deep Candidiasis: Deep candidiasis can be quite well cured by fluconazole or intravenous amphotericin B.

Candida Vaginitis: Treatment options include antifungal medications like clotrimazole, nystatin, terconazole, etc in the form of emollient, ointments or suppositories, which can be directly applied into the vagina.

Cutaneous Candidiasis: Cutaneous candidiasis can be effectively cured using antifungal powders and creams. Before applying these antifungal medications one must completely clean and pat dry the skin.

Oropharyngeal Candidiasis (Oral Thrush): An Oral thrush is often cured with antifungal medications like nystatin and clotrimazole, and it comes in liquid form.

Precautions while Using Antibiotics

Although it may become necessary at times to take antibiotics to stop the spread of some infections, there are ways one can keep infections caused by these drugs, at bay.
  • Avoid overdosing the body and allow it to use its own immune system to fight off an infection.
  • Never medicate yourself, using a prior prescription, even if you feel that the problem facing now was corrected by using the same antibiotics earlier.
  • While taking antibiotics, reduce your sugar intake, as it accelerates the growth of infection.
  • Add a large quantity of fresh yogurt to your daily diet. The live cultures present in it help to fight infection naturally.
  • Lastly, a healthy balanced diet will increase the body's resistance to infections.
Other Natural Treatment Options

*Note: Please note that the remedies suggested below do not have sufficient scientific support. Hence consult your health care provider before using them.

There are some natural remedies that can help one prevent yeast infection from occurring while one is taking antibiotics. Include yeast fighting foods like foods fused with probiotics, and natural dietary supplements such as:

Garlic
  • The simplest way of using garlic for yeast infection is consuming fresh garlic cloves daily. Also, you can use it as an ingredient in cooking.
  • Crush peeled garlic and apply to the infected area. It will give you instant relief.
  • Take a fresh peeled garlic clove and attach a string to it like a tampon and insert it in the vagina. Don't be afraid of it getting lost inside, because it cannot pass through the cervix. Let it be there overnight and remove in the morning.
  • You can also take garlic capsules available at the drug store.
Oil of Oregano

There are two methods of using oregano oil for treating candidiasis; one is by taking it orally and the other is by applying it on the affected area. For faster results, you can combine both the methods.
  • To prevent side effects like irritation, burning sensation on the skin, itching, dilute the oil with olive oil. Take 3 to 4 tbsp. olive oil and put a few drops of oregano oil in it. Apply this mixture topically to the infected area. However, if you still experience irritation or burning sensation, add more olive oil.
  • Consume 3 to 4 drops of oregano oil twice a day till the symptoms disappear. To prevent burning sensation in the mouth, mix oregano oil drops with 1 glass of water and drink daily.
Apple Cider Vinegar
  • It is a very strong type of vinegar. It will kill the bacteria but at the same time, it will cause burning sensation, itching, etc. To prevent these side effects, you should add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath water and take a hot-water bath. This will provide temporary relief.
Plain Yogurt
  • Applying plain yogurt directly to the vagina can help to cure the condition. However, ensure that there are no added sugars in it, for sugar contributes to bacterial growth.
  • Take around 2 tbsp. yogurt and insert in the vagina. Let it remain for at least 2 to 3 hours and then wash.
  • A tampon can be dipped in plain yogurt and inserted in the vagina for 1 - 2 hours and then removed. This will also be helpful to treat yeast infection. However, ensure that it is not kept for a prolonged period, for it can have adverse effects on the body.
Water

Water is the best and the most powerful natural treatment for yeast infection. If you drink the recommended, rather required amount of water every day, you will be less susceptible to yeast infections. Drinking more and more water will make you urinate more frequently, flushing out all the sugars that feed the yeast.

*Note: Please note that Douching is not recommended for curing yeast infection because some infections can worsen after douching.

Keep the affected area clean and dry at all times. Use mild soaps to bathe. However, the most important thing is to ensure that one does not overuse antibiotics, and immediately see a doctor, in case one feels that the infection has been caused by them. Yeast infections will not be a major cause of concern, if one is equipped with knowledge on the way to deal with them.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical expert.
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