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The Association Between Antibiotics and Yeast Infections : Why Does Yeast Infection Develop From Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are prescribed to fight a bacterial infection by killing the causative bacteria in the body. In the process of destroying the harmful bacteria, antibiotics can also destroy the bacteria which are beneficial to the body and this can cause yeast infection.(1, 2, 3)

Yeast infections of the vagina are nothing, but fungal infections caused by the Candida fungus, which actually is naturally present in the vagina, but causes infections when it starts to grow excessively.(4) Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections are acute irritation and itching of the vulva and vagina.(4)

Why Does Yeast Infection Develop From Antibiotics?

Why Does Yeast Infection Develop From Antibiotics?

Vagina has its own balanced combination of bacteria and yeast in its environment. The bacterium in the vagina which is naturally present is Lactobacillus that helps in keeping the vagina acidic to prevent yeast. This mildly acidic environment helps in preventing the uncontrollable growth of the yeast in the vagina.

When you take broad-spectrum antibiotics, such as for a sinus infection or bronchitis, then it destroys the natural balance of healthy bacteria in the body. Antibiotics kill the beneficial bacteria, including Lactobacillus along with the harmful bacteria. When there is insufficient Lactobacillus, then the acidic environment of the vagina decreases and makes it an ideal home for yeast to grow and thrive.(2)

How to Reduce The Risk Of Yeast Infection When Taking Antibiotics?

  • Speak with your Doctor: If you are someone who gets yeast infections easily or suffers from chronic yeast infections, then talk to your doctor about this. The doctor will prescribe an oral antifungal medication along with antibiotics to prevent yeast infections. The general instructions would be to take first pill on the first day and the next pill every week until you are done with your course of antibiotics. Doing this will help in preventing the yeast overgrowth while taking the antibiotics.
  • Replenishing the Good Bacteria: As mentioned before, antibiotics attack the good bacteria in the body, which is the cause of yeast infections. So, this can be decreased somewhat by taking certain measures, which increase the good bacteria in the body, such as by taking a Lactobacillus probiotic supplement or consuming yogurt with live active cultures in it.(1, 4) All these help in compensating the loss of the good bacteria and thus in preventing yeast infections.
  • Over-The-Counter Antifungal Medicine: When suffering from a yeast infection while taking antibiotics, the use of over-the-counter antifungal suppository or cream will help with preventing or treating any yeast infections occurring as a result of antibiotics.(4) The antifungal agents act like the good bacteria to keep the yeast growth in check.
  • Yogurt Application:(5, 6) Consuming yogurt no doubt helps in replenishing the lost good bacteria, but not many know that applying yogurt near the vagina also helps. Use yogurt which has live active cultures and does not contain any sweeteners and is unflavored.

The yogurt can be applied to the vulva to give relief from itching. For vaginal application, take a tampon applicator and remove the tampon and fill it with yogurt and insert into your vagina.(4)

Avoid the Unnecessary Use of Antibiotics: Using antibiotics for small things or small infections should be avoided as much as possible and instead let your body do the fighting. Using antibiotics for minor infections will only reduce the healing time by a couple of days.

It is important to consult your doctor before starting on any type of antibiotics. When taking antibiotics, it is important to finish the complete course even if the symptoms abate. If the antibiotics course is not completed then it can cause antibiotic resistance resulting in complete inefficacy of the antibiotics against bacterial infections and harmful bacteria.

Other Tips for Preventing Yeast Infection(6)

  • To prevent yeast infections, avoid taking very hot baths and use of hot tubs. Yeast loves humid and moist environment to thrive.
  • Always get out of wet underwear and bathing suits, as wet or moist environments make an ideal environment for yeast growth.
  • Never ever douche, as it does nothing except remove the healthy bacteria.
  • Opt for loose-fitting clothes, as wearing tight pants or underwear increases the moisture, sweat and heat in the private parts and increases the risk of yeast infection.
  • Always wear breathable, cotton undergarments so your private parts are dry and cool.
  • When suffering from diabetes, it is important to keep levels of blood sugar in control, as increased blood sugar levels promotes yeast growth.(4)
  • It is important to avoid the use of any scented products in your vaginal areas, such as scented pads, powders, sprays or tampons.

What to Do If There Is No Improvement?

If there is no improvement in the yeast infection even after treatment, then consult your doctor. It should be borne in mind that OTC antifungal creams can take about a week to 10 days for treating yeast infection.

When suffering from recurrent yeast infections, such as having four or more yeast infections in one year, then medical treatment with prescription medicine becomes mandatory, as home remedies won’t work for such chronic yeast infections.

If the symptoms still persist after doing everything, then it could be something else other than yeast infection, such as bacterial vaginosis. The symptoms of bacterial vaginosis resemble a yeast infection; however, the cause of it is bacteria and hence will not respond to antifungal treatments.


Yeast infections can occur from taking antibiotics in some patients because of destruction of good bacteria which helps in preventing the yeast overgrowth in the vagina. However, it is not a major cause for concern as there are many preventive measures, which can help deal or combat the yeast infection and also decrease the chances of developing a yeast infection in the first place.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 23, 2022

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