How To Prevent A Yeast Infection From Antibiotics

Antibiotics are medications used to treat bacterial infections in the body. One downside is that while antibiotics kill the harmful bacteria that cause illnesses, some antibiotics can also kill good bacteria in the process. 

Vaginal yeast infections or candidiasis are fungal infections of the vagina. Antibiotics can lead to an imbalance in vaginal bacteria levels, which can cause a yeast infection.

In this article, you will get to know how antibiotics can sometimes lead to yeast infections, what antibiotics can cause yeast infections, and how to prevent them.

Yeast infection and antibiotics

What is a yeast infection?

Vaginal yeast infections or vaginal candidiasis are fungal infections of the vagina. They are caused by a fungus called candida. This fungus is usually present in the vagina and causes no harm when it is kept under control by a good bacteria, called Lactobacillus. Lactobacillus works to help keep the vagina slightly acidic, which prevents yeast from growing.

However, a broad-spectrum antibiotic can affect the bacterial balance. When this happens, lactobacillus is eliminated, and candida begins to grow and multiply, leading to a yeast infection. 

A yeast infection from an antibiotic can happen both during the course of treatment and after.

Yeast infections are quite common, and studies estimate that 8% of females have recurring Candida infections, and around 70% of all females report dealing with this condition at least once in their lifetime.

What antibiotics can cause a yeast infection?

Not all antibiotics can cause yeast infections. Antibiotics that have this effect are broad-spectrum antibiotics. This is because they can kill a wide range of bacteria, including beneficial bacteria, which then disrupts the body’s natural bacterial balance.

Three broad-spectrum antibiotics in particular are associated with an increased risk of yeast infections:

  • Fluoroquinolones

Fluoroquinolones are broad-spectrum antibiotics prescribed for difficult-to-treat UTIs, stomach and intestinal infections, bacterial prostatitis, and other infections. Common examples include ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin and ofloxacin

  • Tetracyclines

Doctors usually prescribe tetracyclines for acne, UTIs, intestinal tract infections, eye infections, sexually transmitted infections, and gum disease. Studies show that tetracycline has a small growth-enhancing effect on candida. Examples of tetracyclines include doxycycline, minocycline, omadacycline, tetracycline, and demeclocycline

  • Broad-spectrum penicillins

A yeast infection can also be caused by broad-spectrum penicillins, such as ampicillin and amoxicillin

Ways to prevent a yeast infection from antibiotics

First, discontinuing your antibiotic treatment course is not a wise way to not prevent a yeast infection from antibiotics. Once you begin antibiotic treatment for a bacterial infection, it is important to complete your dose to prevent the infection in your body from becoming resistant to the antibiotic, which makes it more difficult to treat.

Some ways of preventing yeast infections from antibiotics include:

  • If you notice that you get yeast infections each time you take antibiotics, let your doctor know about it. You may be given an over-the-counter antifungal medication, such as fluconazole, that can help keep yeast growth under control while taking the antibiotics
  • Consider taking probiotics or eating yoghurt to replenish your healthy bacteria. Probiotic supplements containing lactobacillus can help to restore the balance of healthy bacteria in the body. Unflavoured and unsweetened yoghurt also contains probiotics necessary for a balanced bacterial flora
  • Don’t abuse antibiotics. Antibiotic abuse includes taking antibiotics for minor infections like colds and flu, as well as starting antibiotic treatment and stopping halfway
  • Yeast thrives in warm, moist environments, so avoid hot tubs or hot baths, and wear loose-fitting clothing and breathable underwear. Furthermore, make sure to remove wet bathing suits or underwear as soon as possible
  • Avoid scented vaginal products such as sprays, powders, or scented pads and tampons, as they can alter the pH of the vagina
  • If you have diabetes, make sure to keep your blood sugar levels in check, as high blood sugar levels can encourage yeast growth

Symptoms and treatment

Symptoms of yeast infection

Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections are very uncomfortable and unpleasant. They tend to be at their most noticeable just prior to menstruation. They include:

  • Intense itching and irritation in and around the vagina, including the vulva
  • Pain or discomfort when urinating
  • Pain or burning sensation during intercourse
  • Redness and soreness of the vulva
  • White vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance

In most cases, the above symptoms are mild. A serious infection can cause redness, swelling, or cracks in the vaginal walls.

Treatment for yeast infection

The severity of your vaginal yeast infection and their frequency determine the treatment you receive. After the diagnosis of a yeast infection, your doctor might prescribe a one-off, single oral dose of fluconazole (Diflucan). For more-severe symptoms, you might take two single doses three days apart.

Antifungal medications such as clotrimazole, miconazole, and terconazole are also available as creams, ointments, tablets, and vaginal suppositories. Some of these medications are available over the counter, while others are only available with a prescription.


Who is at risk of yeast infection?

Several factors put you at higher risk of developing a yeast infection. Some of these include:

  • Being pregnant
  • Being sexually active
  • Taking estrogen contraceptive pills
  • Being on antibiotic therapy, or having just completed an antibiotic treatment course
  • Having diabetes
  • Having a weakened immune system due to factors such as chemotherapy treatment, HIV infection, or organ transplantation

A person with one or more of the above risk factors should talk to their healthcare provider if they have been prescribed antibiotics, as they are at higher risk of a yeast infection.

When should I see my doctor about a yeast infection?

You should visit your healthcare provider if:

  • You're not sure if you have a yeast infection
  • You get recurrent yeast infections (four or more yeast infections in a year)
  • Your symptoms don’t go away after treatment with over-the-counter antifungal vaginal creams or suppositories
  • You develop other symptoms


Although broad-spectrum antibiotics can cause yeast infections, it is still important that you complete your prescribed antibiotic dose to ensure that the bacterial infection is properly treated and resistance does not develop. However, while on an antibiotic therapy course, it is important to take the necessary steps to reduce your risk of a yeast infection.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Godswill Samson

BSc, Pharmacology, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Godswill is a budding health writer with a passion for health and wellness. She combines this with her writing skill to educate the public on ways to live fuller and healthier lives.

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