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Antibiotics And Women’s Health

What Is The Difference Between Bv And A Vaginal Yeast Infection

Antibiotics During Pregnancy

BV and vaginal yeast infections are both common causes of vaginal discharge. They have similar symptoms, so it can be hard to know if you have BV or a yeast infection. Only your doctor or nurse can tell you for sure if you have BV.

With BV, your discharge may be white or gray but may also have a fishy smell. Discharge from a yeast infection may also be white or gray but may look like cottage cheese.

The Health Risks That Antibiotics Can Create

Antibiotics kill a lot of bacteria, not just the ones causing your infection. Doctors have to guess which drug is best for the infection they think you have, because theyre acting without positive identification by a lab test. Even the most targeted antibiotic upsets the delicate ecosystem of bacteria, viruses and fungi in your digestive tract. This disruption impairs the very center of your immune system.

Some studies show that antibiotics can change your gut flora for up to 10 months after a single round of antibiotics. That means for nearly a year after your finish your prescription you can be more vulnerable to infection, disease and other health threats. Its thought that for children or infants, antibiotic aftereffects can linger for years, or possibly their entire lives.

Unfortunately, you may run these risks for the wrong reasons. Conventional doctors often prescribe antibiotics for what will probably turn out to be an ordinary viral infection. But since viruses and bacteria are different, the antibiotic will have zero effect if its a virus thats making you sick.

But theres more. Pathogens can be very good at adapting to their environment. So over-prescription of antibiotics helps to create antibiotic-resistant strains of these dangerous organisms one of the biggest threats faced by medicine today. Medical providers now see millions of drug-resistant infections every year, many occurring in hospitals themselves.

Preventing Future Urinary Tract Infections


To prevent future urinary tract infections, you should:

  • Choose sanitary pads instead of tampons, which some doctors believe make infections more likely. Change your pad each time you use the bathroom.
  • Do not douche or use feminine hygiene sprays or powders. As a general rule, do not use any product containing perfumes in the genital area.
  • Take showers instead of baths. Avoid bath oils.
  • Keep your genital area clean. Clean your genital and anal areas before and after sexual activity.
  • Urinate before and after sexual activity. Drinking 2 glasses of water after sexual activity may help promote urination.
  • Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
  • Avoid tight-fitting pants. Wear cotton-cloth underwear and pantyhose, and change both at least once a day.


The following improvements to your diet may prevent future urinary tract infections:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, 2 to 4 quarts each day.
  • Do not drink fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol and caffeine.


Some women have repeated bladder infections. Your provider may suggest that you:

  • Use vaginal estrogen cream if you have dryness caused by menopause.
  • Take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual contact.
  • Take a cranberry supplement pill after sexual contact.
  • Have a 3-day course of antibiotics at home to use if you develop an infection.
  • Take a single, daily dose of an antibiotic to prevent infections.

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Are Antibiotics Really The Answer For Utis In Women

FRIDAY, July 23, 2021 — Urinary tract infections: They’re the bane of millions of women, and a new study finds that many sufferers are unhappy that diagnosis and treatments are still limited for this painful condition.

One of the biggest concerns researchers found was that many women think frequent antibiotic use to treat urinary tract infections might not be the best solution. The study also noted frustration among women that they weren’t getting more help with prevention from their doctors. More than half of all women will experience a UTI in their lifetimes while a quarter will have recurring infections, the researchers noted.

“That’s really what inspired us to do this study … to dive into that a little bit more and understand,” said lead author Dr. Victoria Scott, a urologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Doctors who specialize in urogynecology often see the most severe recurrent UTI cases, after patients were seen by primary care physicians, Scott said. Experience treating women with recurrent UTIs led to holding six focus groups where participants were asked what they knew about UTIs, prevention strategies, treatment and the impact on their quality of life.

The research team found that the women in the focus groups were fearful and frustrated.

“The problem is waiting for the results and you’re in a lot of pain and you could be getting worse,” one study participant said.

More information

Antibiotic Use Can Age Your Brain By 4 Years

Antibiotics Aren

A team of epidemiologists at Harvard Medical School has found an as-yet-unexplained link between taking antibiotics for at least two months in midlife, and a dip in cognitive score assessments taken several years later.

The subjects of this study were 14,542 women who were participants in the Nurses Health Study, a long-term study started in 1976 thats now in its third generation of women.

The womens cognitive ability was assessed starting an average of seven years after they began using antibiotics. They completed an online test at home, which included four different tasks designed to measure different aspects of cognitive performance.

In a cohort of over 14,000 women, we observed that antibiotic use in midlife was significantly associated with subsequent poorer scores for global cognition, learning, and working memory, and psychomotor speed and attention, the researchers report.

For the women on antibiotics, the drop in brainpower across various categories of learning, response, and memory was the equivalent of three to four years of normal aging.

In other words, the study data showed that, in women who used antibiotics for only two months, their brainpower was at least three to four years older than their chronological age.

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The Problem With Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic-resistant infections may occur when antibiotics arent able to kill off certain bacteria. Antibiotic resistance can cause serious health complications, such as organ failure. In some cases, it may even be fatal. There are over 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections in the U.S. each year, resulting in over 35,000 deaths.

You may be more likely to develop an antibiotic-resistant infection if you take antibiotics too often or unnecessarily. Only take antibiotics when you need them. Always finish taking your full course as prescribed .

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Some antibiotics, such as augmentin, need to be taken with a meal to avoid stomach upset, while others, including penicillin , need to be taken on an empty stomach to improve absorption, says Peterson. So always check the pill bottle or written instructions before taking antibiotics with a meal. Dont have it with you? Peterson says is a legit place to check.

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Antibiotic Use Linked To Cognitive Decline In Women

“Women who reported at least 2 months of antibiotic exposure in midlife had lower mean cognitive scores seven years later … “

MEDICAL XPRESS A team of researchers from Massachusetts has found a link between the use of antibiotics by middle-aged women and cognitive decline later in life.

The group has published a paper describing their work on the open-access site PLOS ONE.

Prior research has suggested that there is a connection between gut microbiome health and mental healthcommunication between the gut and the central nervous system has been labeled the gut-brain axis. And some studies have shown an apparent link between problems in the gut and mental diseases, such as depression and schizophrenia.

Prior research has also shown that antibiotics use can lead to serious disruptions in the microbiome. This is not surprising, since the microbiome is made up partly of bacteria.

In this new effort, the researchers found a link between antibiotics use by women during middle age and a larger than normal degree of cognitive decline READ MORE.

Preventing A Yeast Infection From Antibiotics

#AmLiveNTV: Antibiotics and Women Health

First and foremost, you should know that the benefits of antibiotics far outweigh the risk of side effects. Even though antibiotics might cause yeast infections, it is still important to take the medication as your doctor prescribed to fully treat a bacterial infection. Failure to finish an antibiotic prescription can cause something called antibiotic resistance. This means that your bacterial infection might become resistant to the drug and much more difficult to cure.

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However, it is possible to prevent some side effects, including yeast infection. To help prevent yeast infections, make sure to avoid wearing wet bathing suits or underwear, as moisture will allow yeast to grow, Dr. Luk says. Also, be sure to avoid hot tubs or hot baths, since yeast also forms in warm environments. Be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing, and avoid vaginal deodorant products such as sprays, powders, or scented pads and tampons.

Rebecca Berens, MD, assistant professor of Family and Community Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, says your doctor can also prescribe an antifungal pill called Diflucan to take concurrently with your antibiotic prescription.

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How Can I Lower My Risk Of Bacterial Vaginosis

Because bacterial vaginosis isnt fully understood, there are no foolproof ways of avoiding it. These steps may reduce your risk:

  • Avoid douching. It changes the natural balance of bacteria in your vagina. Instead, practice healthy vaginal and vulvar care.
  • Avoid vaginal contact with anything that has touched your anus. Things like toilet paper and sex toys could transfer bacteria found in your poop to your vagina. Make sure sexual toys are properly cleaned after every use.
  • Limit your number of sex partners. Research shows youre more likely to get BV if you have multiple sex partners.
  • Use latex condoms or dental dams. Although its unclear why, research indicates that sexual activity is associated with BV.
  • Wear cotton or cotton-lined underwear. Bacteria thrive in moist environments. Cotton helps wick away moisture.

Study Weighs Heart Danger Of Antibiotics For Older Women

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 22, 2018 — New research finds that, for women over 60, there’s a link between long-term use of antibiotics and heightened odds for heart-linked death.

But the study of more than 37,000 U.S. women couldn’t prove that the bacteria-fighting meds were the cause of the troubling trend, or whether the culprits were the illnesses the antibiotics were intended to fight.

“It isn’t yet clear whether long-term antibiotic use is the specific cause of the association — for example, women who reported antibiotic use might be sicker in other unmeasured ways,” said lead researcher Dr. Lu Qi, a professor of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Orleans.

The study of women age 60 or older found those who took antibiotics for at least two months were 27 percent more likely to die from all causes over a period of eight years, and they had a 58 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease, specifically.

This was true even after the researchers considered other traditional risk factors, such as diet, obesity and the use of other medications.

But did the antibiotics themselves hike the risk?

It’s possible, Qi’s group said, because prior studies have shown that antibiotics can lead to chronic changes in the composition of bacteria living in the human gut, or “microbiota.”

However, two heart specialists were leery of casting the blame on antibiotics.

Bond said that it’s therefore “not surprising” that women who are sicker might also have frailer hearts.

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Can You Safely Take Antibiotics While Breastfeeding

In most cases, antibiotics are safe for breastfeeding parents and their babies.

Antibiotics are one of the most common medications mothers are prescribed, and all pass in some degree into milk, explains the Academy of American Pediatrics . At the same time, the AAP adds: In general, if the antibiotic would be administered directly to a premature infant or a neonate, then it is safe for the mother to take during breastfeeding.

So what does this mean for you and your breastfeeding baby?

First, its important to keep in mind how medications generally work when youre breastfeeding.

As the Mayo Clinic explains, the majority of drugs that become present in your bloodstream will also be present in your breast milk. However, the amount in your milk is usually lower than the amount in your blood, and most medications pose no real risk to most infants.

However, the Mayo Clinic also notes that there are exceptions, and as such, every medication you take including antibiotics should be cleared with your babys pediatrician.

In addition to the medication itself, there are other factors to keep in mind, including how old your baby is. Exposure to antibiotics will pose a greater risk to premature babies and newborns, as opposed to older babies and toddlers, explains the Mayo Clinic.

And again, if your baby could safely take the antibiotic, its likely safe to take it while breastfeeding.

Antibiotics Are Used To Treat Bv

Antibiotic overuse in women undergoing miscarriage surgery

An antibiotic called metronidazole can be used to treat the infection. If your doctor prescribes metronidazole you will need to:

  • Take the antibiotic twice a day for seven days.
  • Take the tablets after meals this can reduce the nausea and upset stomach that is sometimes associated with metronidazole.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol during treatment.

Your doctor can prescribe a vaginal cream if you are unable to take metronidazole. Clindamycin is applied to the vagina for seven nights.

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Replenish Your Good Bacteria

Antibiotics attack good bacteria all over your body. You may be able to undo some of this damage by increasing the number of good bacteria in your body.

Consider taking a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus, like this one. You can also try adding some yogurt containing live active cultures to your diet. Heres a guide to brands containing Lactobacillus acidophilus.

What Should I Do If I Have Bv

BV is easy to treat. If you think you have BV:

  • See a doctor or nurse. Antibiotics will treat BV.
  • Take all of your medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antibiotic.
  • Tell your sex partner if she is female so she can be treated.
  • Avoid sexual contact until you finish your treatment.
  • See your doctor or nurse again if you have symptoms that don’t go away within a few days after finishing the antibiotic.

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Accidentally Taking An Extra Dose

There’s an increased risk of side effects if you take 2 doses closer together than recommended.

Accidentally taking 1 extra dose of your antibiotic is unlikely to cause you any serious harm.

But it will increase your chances of getting side effects, such as pain in your stomach, diarrhoea, and feeling or being sick.

If you accidentally take more than 1 extra dose of your antibiotic, are worried or you get severe side effects, speak to your GP or call NHS 111 as soon as possible.

How Can I Protect Myself If I Am A Female And My Female Partner Has Bv

Which Antibiotics Are Safe During Pregnancy?

If your partner has BV, you might be able to lower your risk by using protection during sex.

  • Use a dental dam every time you have sex. A dental dam is a thin piece of latex that is placed over the vagina before oral sex.
  • Cover sex toys with condoms before use. Remove the condom and replace it with a new one before sharing the toy with your partner.

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How Bv Is Spread

Although it is not clear how BV is transmitted, it is more common in women who are sexually active. It sometimes develops soon after intercourse with a new partner. Women who have female sexual partners may be at higher risk than women who have sex with only male partners. Research has not conclusively found a link between BV and specific sexual practices or acts. However, recent evidence supports the use of condoms to reduce the risk of this infection.

Association Of Midlife Antibiotic Use With Subsequent Cognitive Function In Women

…article continued below

PLOS ONE The gut microbiome is increasingly recognized to play a role in cognition and dementia.

Antibiotic use impacts the gut microbiome and has been linked with chronic disease.

Despite these data, there is no evidence supporting an association between long-term antibiotic use in adults and cognitive function.

We conducted a prospective population-based cohort study among 14,542 participants in the Nurses Health Study II who completed a self-administered computerized neuropsychological test battery between 20142018.

Multivariate linear regression models were used to assess if chronic antibiotic use in midlife was associated with cognitive impairment assessed later in life.

…article continued below

Women who reported at least 2 months of antibiotic exposure in midlife had lower mean cognitive scores seven years later, after adjustment for age and educational attainment of the spouse and parent, with a mean difference of -0.11 standard units for the global composite score , -0.13 for a composite score of psychomotor speed and attention , and -0.10 for a composite score of learning and working memory compared with non-antibiotic users.

These differences were not materially changed after multivariate adjustment for additional risk factors, including comorbid conditions.

These data underscore the importance of antibiotic stewardship, especially among aging populations.

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Other Tips For Prevention

Follow these tips to reduce your risk of developing a yeast infection, regardless of whether youre taking antibiotics:

  • Change out of wet bathing suits and underwear as soon as possible. Yeast thrives in moist environments.
  • Avoid hot tubs and very hot baths. The only thing yeast loves more than a moist environment is a warm one.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing. While theres no clear link between tight clothing and yeast infections, tight pants can increase heat and moisture around your vulva.
  • Wear breathable, cotton underwear. Cotton underwear can help keep things cool and dry down there.
  • Never douche.Douching removes healthy bacteria.
  • Avoid vaginal deodorant products. This includes sprays, powders, and scented pads and tampons.
  • If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control.High blood sugar levels encourage yeast growth.

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