Vaginal Infections (Yeast Infections, Bacterial Vaginosis)
Did you know that a community of bacteria exists in the vagina of females? Normally the vagina is occupied by various Lactobacillus species of bacteria. Since these are known, good, and beneficial and are therefore called probiotics. When you take an antibiotic it wipes out the normal bacteria that reside in both the gut as well as the vagina.
When that happens the probiotics that normally reside in the vagina called Lactobacillus perish and die off. They are unable to maintain the acidic environment (low pH) of the vagina to keep out the bad microbes away.
This allows bad microbes like Gardnerella vaginalis, the cause of bacterial vaginosis (or BV) to take over. These microbes may cause pruritis or itching of the vagina as well as an unpleasant "fishy odor." They prefer a vaginal environment that is basic with a higher pH.
Yeast infections can also happen in this way. A yeast infection of the vagina is caused by a yeast called Candida albicans. Big signs for a yeast infection is also pruritis (itching) and maybe even a whitish, cottage-cheese like discharge. Candida albicans prefers a vaginal environment that is more basic (higher pH).
Normally doctors will prescribe an antibiotic that targets the organism that is affecting you. In the case of bacterial vaginosis the causative organism is Garnerella vaginalis so the appropriate treatment is an antibiotic called metronidazole. They will also recommend an anti-fungal such as diflucan if you have a yeast infection.
Some doctors will also recommend taking a probiotic to help restore the bacteria that is normally present in the vagina.
Believe it or not studies have shown that probiotics taken orally by mouth will end up colonizing the vagina. These studies were done by tagging probiotic species and then analyzing the microorganisms of the vagina some time later. These probiotics will help to restore the normal pH and environment of the vagina to keep the bad microorganisms away.
Taking a probiotic is okay alongside an anti-fungal or anti-biotic but you should ask your doctor to be sure.