The Connection between Antibiotics and Yeast infection

The Connection between Antibiotics and Yeast infection
Published : Feb 03, 2024
Last Updated : Feb 06, 2024

Yeast infections are skin infections caused due to one or more species of yeast. Usually, yeast infections appear due to Candida species, especially Candida albicans. Yeast infections, also known as Candidiasis, can sometimes occur due to antibiotics.

But how it happens: As you know, Antibiotic medicines are generally designed to kill harmful bacteria. These medications treat various types of infections caused due to fungi, bacteria, parasites, etc. 

But, while treating these conditions, they may also kill some beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria help to keep yeast growth in check. And when this balance gets disturbed by antibiotics, Candida may multiply and cause an infection.

How do Antibiotics cause a yeast infection?

The most common yeast infection is a vaginal yeast infection, also known as a fungal infection of the Vagina. The Vagina maintains its balance of yeast and bacteria to keep it healthy. And the bacteria that keeps your Vagina healthy is Lactobacillus. These bacteria keep the Vagina slightly acidic, which prevents yeast from growing. 

But, using Broad-spectrum antibiotics during an illness wipes out the bad bacteria. Along with these bad bacteria, Antibiotics wipe out good and beneficial bacteria, including Lactobacillus. And, without enough bacteria like Lactobacillus, Vagina becomes less acidic, creating a suitable environment for yeast to grow. 

Symptoms of yeast infection:

Symptoms of Vaginal yeast infection are more noticeable just before menstruation. Please consult a doctor if you suspect the following symptoms such as: 

  • Itching and irritation in the Vagina and vulva
  • Swelling and redness of the vulva
  • Odro-free Vaginal discharge that is thick, and white with a cottage cheese appearance
  • Vaginal rash
  • Burning sensation during sexual intercourse or while urinating
  • Pain and discomfort during urination and sex
  • Increase in vaginal discharge

In most cases, symptoms of yeast infection are mild. In a severe yeast infection, swelling, redness, or cracks may form in the walls of the Vagina may appear. It usually becomes difficult to distinguish between a yeast infection and a urinary tract infection(UTI). Thus, you must consult a healthcare provider if you suspect these symptoms. 

Antibiotics that can cause yeast infections

Not all antibiotics are known to cause yeast infections. Only broad-spectrum antibiotics tend to have the risk of causing a yeast infection. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are antibacterial drugs that can kill several different types of bacteria. Generally, Three types of broad-spectrum antibiotics are likely to increase the risk of a yeast infection.

 Broad-spectrum penicillins

Broad-spectrum penicillins, such as ampicillin and amoxicillin, can lead to yeast infection.

Tetracyclines

Tetracyclines antibiotics help to treat acne, UTIs, intestinal infections, eye infections, sexually transmitted infections(STIs), and gum disease.

Some examples of tetracyclines antibiotics are:

  • Tetracycline (Sumycin)
  • Eravacycline (Xerava)
  • Omadacycline (Nuzyra)
  • Demeclocycline (Detravis)
  • Doxycycline (Adoxa)
  • Minocycline (Minocin)

Quinolones

A doctor prescribes quinolones during a urinary tract infection(UTI) when it is difficult to treat with other antibiotics. These antibiotics are also prescribed to treat hospital-acquired pneumonia and bacterial prostatitis. Some common examples of Ouinolones antibiotics are: 

  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin)

Who is at risk of having a yeast infection?

Yeast infections are common, but there are a few reasons that can make you more suspectable of developing them. These circumstances include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Use of hormone contraceptives, such as birth control pills
  • Having a weakened immune system due to illness, or factors such as chemotherapy
  • Diabetes
  • HIV infection

Suppose a person has one or more risk factors among the above-listed circumstances. In that case, they should talk with a doctor before getting prescribed antibiotics, as taking antibiotics under these circumstances may increase the yeast infection risk. 

However, yeast infections are more likely to occur in sexually active people. But there is no evidence that yeast infections are sexually transmitted. 

Treatment for yeast infection:

A doctor may help you by prescribing the right medication for your yeast infection. To identify vaginal Candidiasis, a small sample of vaginal discharge for an examination under a microscope may ensure a yeast infection. Depending on the infection's symptoms and severity, a doctor may suggest the treatment. 

A yeast infection patient is given either a cream or an ointment. These topical medications can be easily applied to the affected area, such as inside the Vagina. Or in some cases, oral antifungal medications such as miconazole or Fluconazole are prescribed.

A healthcare provider generally prescribes you antifungal creams or oral tablets. You can also find over-the-counter(OTC) antifungal medications like vaginal creams at online drugstores. 

You may need a stronger treatment to treat a recurring chronic yeast infection. In such cases, a doctor may prescribe you an additional antifungal medication like Fluconazole. Also, they may prescribe you creams or ointments containing boric acid, flucytosine, or nystatin. 

Prevention for Yeast infections while taking Antibiotics:

You can prevent the risk of Vaginal yeast infection by taking antibiotics only when necessary. Also, you must know that antibiotics do not work against viral infections such as a cold or the flu. So do not take antibiotics unnecessarily; better you take them only when a doctor prescribes them. 

Here are some other ways that may help you prevent yeast infections:

  • Maintain hygiene, keep your genital area clean and dry.
  • Do not use scented chemical soaps and harsh feminine hygiene products.
  • Wear cotton undergarments
  • Use condoms during sex.

In addition, you can restore good bacteria affected by antibiotics by eating yogurt with live cultures. Also, you can consider taking Lactobacillus acidophilus capsules, which may help you prevent infections. 

Many researchers have found that using probiotics can reduce the risk of yeast infections caused due to antibiotics. You can take them under a doctor's advice during an antibiotic treatment course or after completion. 

Final lines

The use of certain types of antibiotics can lead to a vaginal yeast infection. When antibiotics kill harmful bacteria, they also disrupt the balance of good bacteria in our bodies. As a result, Candida fungus starts to multiply, which good bacteria usually keep in check. It leads to yeast infection, causing symptoms such as itching, burning, or pain during sex. 

Over-the-counter(OTC) antifungals can help you treat yeast infections. Also, taking prevention may help you prevent the risk of a yeast infection. And if you suspect any yeast infection symptoms, it is important to consult a doctor soon.