The Myth about Probiotics

Recently a member in our Facebook group posted asking for advice about preventing yeast infections while taking oral antibiotics.

“Hey there, I know there are articles online about this but I wanted to ask this group since advice and experiences vary from person to person. I’m on some antibiotics (cefdinir) for an ear infection and was warned that since it’s pretty strong I might get a vaginal yeast infection. How have those in a similar situation prevented a yeast infection during a round of antibiotics?”

-Facebook Member

It’s common knowledge that antibiotics can interrupt the levels of good bacteria in the gut which can lead to environments where the not-so-good bacteria can thrive. So it makes sense to try and repopulate the area with some good bacteria, typically in the form of oral probiotics or yogurt.

Before you reach for the yogurt though ladies, an interesting question was asked: “despite being commonly recommended, is this actually effective?”

I’ve done a little research (literally, because actual research into probiotics preventing or treating yeast infections is very lacking!), what immediately stood out was how many websites, even one quoting Laurie Cullen, Naturopathic Doctor, an associate professor of clinical medicine at Bastyr University, whose practice focuses on women’s health. She has actually promoted oral antibiotics to prevent yeast infections. This same article also recommended a vaginal suppository which was supplemented with *homeopathic* remedies… Yes. I’m not kidding. Magic water up your hoohaa. (Read the study here)

Finding a quality study was almost impossible with most having painfully small sample sizes, or results not conclusive with the myth that adding lactobacilli was of any consistent benefit.

I decided to check as many sources as I could and got some advice direct from a medical doctor who confirmed my suspicions. Despite being a widely recommended treatment, probiotics had no proven positive effect on vaginal yeast infections!

This doesn’t automatically discredit the idea, but it does strongly indicate that the benefits of probiotics on vaginal health are being overstated considering the research currently hasn’t shown them to have much impact.

So ladies, next time you’re taking antibiotics, think twice before reaching for the  yogurt, because it may not actually do you any good. Also ask your doctor for other proven recommendations for preventing vaginal yeast while taking antibiotics!

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