Does Penicillin Cause Yeast Infections?

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Although there can be several causes of yeast infections, it is a well known fact that certain antibiotics such as penicillin can contribute to them developing. An infection occurs when yeast is allowed to grow unchecked in the body. The microbial world is like the animal world in that there are the predators and the prey. The natural predator of yeast is bacteria. When you remove the bacteria, its prey is free to grow undisturbed.

Type

A yeast infection is an overgrowth of a fungus known as Candida albicans. This is commonly called a yeast infection or monilia. This fungus is normally present in the body in small amounts, in areas such as the mouth and the vagina and on the skin. This normally harmless yeast becomes an infection when something changes its environment, allowing it to grow out of control.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of a yeast infection include a white or yellow discharge from the vagina, swelling of the vaginal walls and itching and burning. The burning often becomes worse during urination. This type of yeast can also infect other areas of the body like the mouth, where it is called thrush and the penis, where it takes the name balanitis. It can also cause severe diaper rash in infants.

Causes

There are a number of factors that you need to consider when diagnosing the cause of a yeast infection. Many yeast infections happen randomly with no clear explanation as to why. Antibiotics such as penicillin are known to cause yeast infections. Along with harboring the yeast, the body also carries a number of beneficial bacteria. Some of these bacteria feed on yeast, keeping it in check. When you take an broad-spectrum antibiotic like penicillin, it kills all the bacteria int he body, not just the targeted ones. Without these good bacteria feeding on it, the yeast can grow out of control, leading to infection. Hormonal changes such as pregnancy can also disrupt the body's natural balance and lead to yeast infections. Chlorine or any other bacteria-killing agents that make their way into to vagina can also cause yeast infections.

Prevention/Solution

Most yeast infections can be treated with a simple over-the-counter medication. Clotrimazole, miconazole. and tioconazole, are three common ingredients found in yeast treatment creams. These medications kill yeast. Keeping your skin clean and dry and using caution when taking antibiotics can help prevent some yeast infections.

Misconceptions

A yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted disease. You do not have to be sexually active to get a yeast infection. Many infants get yeast infections in the form of a diaper rash. The yeast can, however, be spread by sexual contact. Sexual contact should be avoided while you have a yeast infection.

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