Antibiotics are one of the greatest discoveries of modern science.
But overuse or misuse of antibiotics is also deadly.
It can lead to health issues like antibiotic toxicity. And worse still, it can also cause nasty side-effects like yeast infections.
How do you protect yourself?
By practicing what doctors call antibiotic stewardship.
Types of Antibiotics: Broad-Spectrum Vs. Narrow-Spectrum
There are two types of antibiotics.
- Broad-spectrum and
Broad-spectrum antibiotics are used to combat a wide range of bacteria.1 Why? Because they attack disease-causing bacteria en masse.
Some examples include tetracyclines and quinolones. And they are often prescribed for diseases like pneumonia or complicated UTIs.2
But narrow-spectrum antibiotics target a smaller group of bacteria.
They specifically go after the bacteria that’s causing a specific infection. Some examples are penicillin and erythromycin.3
The Connection Between Antibiotics and Vaginal Yeast Infections
Broad-spectrum antibiotics do not discriminate between 'good' and 'bad' bacteria. That’s their nature. They attack all bacteria.
This ends up disrupting the normal balance of bacteria in our bodies. Including the vaginal microbiome.
One common outcome of this imbalance, especially for women, is a yeast infection.4
For example, broad-spectrum antibiotics could also destroy the beneficial Lactobacilli in the vagina.
And without the good bacteria, we’ll be open to infections.
In most cases, Candida takes control and leads to an uncomfortable yeast infection.
The Role of Antibiotic Stewardship in Preventing Yeast Infections
So, how do you protect yourself?
By practicing antibiotic stewardship.
Here’s what it’s all about:
Whenever your doctor wants to write a prescription… ask for narrow-spectrum antibiotics.6
That way, your chances of getting a yeast infection would be slashed!
One more thing:
Always finish your rounds.
That includes taking the correct dose for the right duration. This will prevent the infection from developing antibiotic resistance.
Understanding Antibiotic Toxicity
Antibiotic misuse can also lead to antibiotic toxicity.
What is that?
Antibiotic toxicity happens when side effects don't go away even after you stop or finish the antibiotics.
Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, and skin rashes.7 In severe cases, it can even lead to kidney damage or hearing loss.8
If you notice side effects after taking antibiotics, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Remember, never attempt to self-diagnose or self-treat these symptoms.
The Importance of Antibiotic Stewardship
The core thing to remember about antibiotic stewardship is to use antibiotics only when necessary!
And when you have to use it, make sure you’re getting the right kind. Also make sure that you keep to the recommended dose and finish your course of treatment.
That’s how to reap the benefits of antibiotics while avoiding the dangers of misuse.
By using antibiotics responsibly, we’ll be protecting our vaginal health.
And by teaching others to do the same… we’ll spread the word and help them win the fight against vaginal infections.
Especially with menopausal women, who are more sensitive to vaginal issues.
Conclusion: Balancing the Fight Against Bacterial Infections
Always remember that optimal vaginal health is all about maintaining our microbiome. That means that we must avoid anything that can disrupt that delicate balance.
Practicing antibiotic stewardship is one way to help our 'good' bacteria thrive while keeping the 'bad' ones in check.
Understanding this not only contributes to our overall health but also to our vaginal health, keeping us comfortable, confident, and in control.
- CDC - Broad and Narrow Spectrum Antibiotics
- NIH - Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics
- NIH - Narrow-Spectrum Antibiotics
- Mayo Clinic - Yeast Infection (vaginal)
- Harvard Health - Vaginal Yeast Infections
- CDC - Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs
- MedlinePlus - Antibiotic Side Effects
- Harvard Health - Drug-induced Ototoxicity
- Obstetrics & Gynecology - Menopause and the Vaginal Microbiome