If you suffer from chronic yeast infections then you're probably already aware that antibiotics and yeast infections are connected.
Infact, the fear of chronic yeast infection means that some women will not take antibiotics.1
By taking probiotics you can use good bacteria to elbow out the harmful yeast.
All women have a few Candida albicans yeast around the vulvovaginal area and in their gut. Normally, a healthy population of mostly Lactobacillus keep these yeast cells under control. But when you take antibiotics, then the good Lactobacilli bacteria are reduced in number and this can let the yeast grow prolifically.
It is worth noting that most women who are treated with antibiotics DO NOT develop yeast infection, and in fact, one study failed to show any evidence that the two things are related at all. Most studies, however, do show an antibiotic-yeast infection connection - usually in between 28% to 33% of women.2
So - some women, who are untroubled by a small colony of yeast already living in the vulvovaginal area will, after antibiotic treatment, go on to develop yeast infection.
Experts believe that most of us have an "intestinal reservoir" of candida organisms (yeast) in our gut. Some studies have found that the yeast in the gastrointestinal tract was identical to the yeast found in the vaginal area leading to the idea that after the apparent eradication of vaginal yeast, women get reinfected from this gut reservoir.2
Note that whilst Candida albicans is the usual culprit in yeast infection, in chronic recurrent cases, Candida albicans AND Candida glabrata are often equally distributed.5 C glabrata does not respond well to the usual fungal treatments and is becoming increaingly more resistant6.
Here is more about treating chronic yeast infections.
Eat "live" yogurt every day. Find one you enjoy and have several servings a day making sure you space it several hours apart from taking the antibiotics.
Take one of the supplements that contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 which are two probiotics especially good for helping a woman's urogential area repopulate itself with good bacteria.
Research in 2006 indicates that the dose required to achieve a good result is more than 6 billion. So it isn't any good to try to save money by taking 1 capsule that contains 5 billion. Take 2 capsules daily for a month. That will get you through the danger time and then slowly ease back.
Simply taking any probiotic supplement for chronic yeast infections will not work. A 2004 trial showed that neither Femilac or Lactobac was able to prevent post-antibiotic yeast infection.4
Fem Dophilus is my favorite. In this 2003 study 37% of women with bacterial vaginosis microflora showed a normal Lactobacilli colonized vaginal microflora after treatment with with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. There was also a "significant" reduction in yeast after 28 days of treatment.3
You can buy Fem Dophilus 60 capsules or in a smaller amount of 30 capsules.
This regime will help many woman with chronic yeast infections.
1. Marie V Pirotta, Jane M Gunn and Patty Chondros. "Not thrush again!" Women's experience of post-antibiotic vulvovaginitis. MJA 2003; 179 (1): 43-46.
2. Prof Jack D Sobel MD. Vulvovaginal candidosis. The Lancet, Volume 369, Issue 9577, 9 June 2007-15 June 2007, Pages 1961-1971.
3. Reid G, Charbonneau D, Erb J, Kochanowski B, Beuerman D, Poehner R, Bruce AW. Oral use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L. fermentum RC-14 significantly alters vaginal flora: randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 64 healthy women. FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology, Volume 35, Issue 2, 20 March 2003, Pages 131-134.
4. Pirotta M, Gunn J, Chondros P, Grover S O?Malley P, Hurley S, Garland S. Effects of lactobacillus in preventing post-antibiotic vulvovaginal candidiasis: a randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2004;329:548
5. Stock I. Fungal diseases of vulva and vagina caused by Candida species. Med Monatsschr Pharm. 2010 Sep;33(9):324-33; quiz 335-6.
6. Miceli MH, Diaz JA, Lee SA. Emerging opportunistic yeast infections. Lancet Infect Dis. 2011 Feb;11(2):142-51.