Yeast infections occur when a type of yeast called Candida starts growing and spreading too much in the vagina.
Some amounts of Candida are generally in the vagina, but there are usually good microorganisms to keep it balanced. However, if something happens to throw off the balance of good and bad microorganisms, it can cause the yeast to grow more than usual.
The primary reasons for vaginal microorganisms being off balance include antibiotics, douching, diabetes, pregnancy, birth control, and a weak immune system. The result is a yeast infection with unwanted symptoms like painful urination, vaginal redness, itchiness, white discharge, and pain during sexual intercourse.
Did you know nearly 75% of women will get a yeast infection at least once in their lifetimes?
For this reason, medical researchers are eager to discover the most effective treatments for preventing yeast infections and eliminating their symptoms. One treatment they highly recommend is probiotics. Especially the strains GR-1 and RC-14 which are the most clinically studied vaginal probiotics.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can potentially restore the vaginal balance of good and bad microorganisms to prevent yeast infections. Medical researchers have not fully endorsed probiotics as a proven treatment for yeast infections, but many research studies have found credible evidence to support their use.
For instance, evidence shows a particular good bacteria called Lactobacillus can balance good and bad vaginal microorganisms. The Lactobacillus binds itself to a woman’s vaginal cells to prevent Candida from doing the same. As a result, Candida cannot grow and spread to create a yeast infection or worsen an existing one.
The Probiotics Controversy
Some critics suggest probiotics can cause yeast infections, especially as a side effect when treating other urologic health conditions like urinary tract infections. But the overwhelming evidence shows it is rare for probiotics to cause yeast infections.
In fact, you are more likely to develop other side effects from probiotic consumption, including abdominal pain, vaginal itchiness, frequent urination, and painful urination.
The best thing to do is consult your doctor regarding the effectiveness of probiotics for treating a yeast infection. They will probably recommend you take an oral or topical antifungal medication to eliminate the Candida fungus.
If you have a severe yeast infection, a doctor may recommend inserting a probiotic suppository into the vaginal canal along with an antifungal medicinal solution. But that is a rare situation.
Either way, vaginal probiotics are a promising development in the treatment of yeast infections. Follow your doctor’s advice and take precautions to reduce the risk of a yeast infection. These precautions include avoiding scented soaps, changing out of sweaty clothes, and putting on underwear made of breathable fabric.