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Can Birth Control Cause Yeast Infections?

Birth Control Pills can Increase your Chances for Getting a Yeast Infection

 
Birth control pills with estrogen can cause yeast infections. The elevated risk is perhaps due to the elevated levels of estrogen in the body; which causes the vaginal tissue to have more glycogen (a carbohydrate) in it. Glycogen can be food for Candida.
Birth control pills with estrogen can cause yeast infections. The elevated risk is perhaps due to the elevated levels of estrogen in the body; which causes the vaginal tissue to have more glycogen (a carbohydrate) in it. Glycogen can be food for Candida.

As research indicates, birth control pills that contain enough estrogen can cause yeast infections. This fact appears to be somewhat ambiguous in the research; yet, it can be safely said that birth control pills do play a role in women developing yeast infections. Some research indicates that birth control pill use imparts only a small increase in the risk for developing vaginal yeast infections. Other research states that the increase in risk can be about 74%.

Concerning recurrent yeast infections, often defined as 4 or more episodes in a year’s time, birth control pills can contribute slightly to this risk. Research, that will be discussed later, found an increased risk for developing recurrent vaginal yeast infections of 11% to 12% when you use birth control pills.

The studies appear to have somewhat differing results; however, one study encompassing 50,279 women with vaginal Candidiasis probably shows us the best answer. This study found that birth control pills impart about a 74% increase in risk for developing vaginal yeast infections.

One possible reason estrogen based birth control pills predispose women to vaginal yeast infections is because this hormone affects the presence of glycogen in the vaginal tissue (Prenen, Micheline, and M. Ledoux-Corbusier; 1971). Glycogen is a type of carbohydrate the body uses in a lot of ways. Candida, of course, is a yeast; and this genus of yeast is responsible for yeast infections. Candida can effectively consume the glycogen in the vaginal tissue; and, thus use this nutrient source to overgrow. When more glycogen is present, there is more food for Candida to consume. The result may be, that estrogen based birth control pills, due to increasing the amount of glycogen in the vaginal tissue, predispose women to getting a yeast infection.

It may be helpful to discontinue using estrogen containing birth control pills if it seems like they cause you to have yeast infections. This may certainly be what has caused your yeast infection, but the actual etiology (cause) of the infection may be difficult to know for sure. Thus, stopping birth control pills is not a certainty all women will stop getting vaginal yeast infections after use is discontinued.

A probiotic, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, may be helpful to take orally and insert into the vagina. L. acidophilus, and other species in the Lactobacillus genus, can fight against Candida by consuming the excess sugar that the vaginal tissue has taken on. In addition to consuming excess sugar some Lactobacillus can secrete lactic acid. Lactic acid production by Lactobacilli can help to acidify the vagina, making it less conducive to Candida overgrowth; as Candida prefer a more alkaline environment to develop in. Additionally, women with a healthy vaginal microbiome (the environment of microscopic life), have their vagina’s microbiome dominated by Lactobacilli bacteria. For more information on L. acidophilus, you can find more information at this article: Acidophilus for Yeast Infections.

Research on Birth Control Pills & Yeast Infections

A key reason why birth control can cause yeast infections is because of the estrogen in many of these pills. Estrogen levels are quite high before your period. If you seem to get yeast infections at this time, elevated estrogen could be why. In such situations, you may want to avoid using birth control pills.
A key reason why birth control can cause yeast infections is because of the estrogen in many of these pills. Estrogen levels are quite high before your period. If you seem to get yeast infections at this time, elevated estrogen could be why. In such situations, you may want to avoid using birth control pills.

The first study we will examine is possibly one of the best studies on the somewhat vague issue of vaginal Candidiasis and birth control pill use. This research was published in Current Medical Mycology [4.1 (2018): 6]. The study was quite comprehensive and followed 262 gynecological practices between November 2014 and October 2016. During this time 954,186 women were evaluated in the gynecological practices; and, 50,279 (5.3%) of these women were diagnosed with vaginal Candidiasis.

Odds ratios (OR) for developing yeast infections were calculated for various factors. An odds ratio is a statistic that tries to predict how much more likely one event is to occur in light of another event. If for instance, there was a odds ratio of 2 for a risk factor associated with an outcome, then people with that risk factor would be twice as likely to arrive at the outcome. An odds ratio of 1 indicates no change. The odds ratios for various factors, determined by the vast amount of data in the study, are presented below:

  • Oral Contraceptives Use: OR of 1.74
  • Gynecological Antibiotic Use: OR of 2.88
  • Systemic Antibiotic Use: OR of 1.45
  • Being Pregnant: OR of 1.59
  • Having Cancer: OR of 1.20
  • Vaginal Contraceptive Use: OR of 1.84

The study concluded that oral contraceptive use was associated with an increased risk for being diagnosed with vaginal Candidiasis. With an odds ratio of 1.74, this indicates that using birth control pills puts you at 1.74 times (or 74% more) the risk for developing a yeast infection.

The study also cited research by Ocak et al., conducted with 102 women. In this study, among the women who used oral contraceptives, 15% of them had Candida. Of the women who used an intrauterine device, 12% had Candida. And, among the women who did not use any contraceptive measure, 6% of them had Candida. Thus, this cited study may also show a correlation between oral contraceptive use and Candida colonization. The authors of this study speculated that the cited research’s results may be due to both oral contraceptives and antibiotics altering the vaginal microbiota (the bacterial life in the vagina) in such a way that it favors the development of fungal infections.

The next study we will examine, was published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica [49.3 (1970): 293]. The study examined 276 female participants, and grouped them into three different groups. The first group, labeled "P," were users of oral contraceptives. The second group, labeled "NP," did not use oral contraceptives. The final group, labeled "AP," had used oral contraceptives in the past but now no longer were. Group P consisted of 80 women with an average age of 32 years. Group NP consisted of 158 women with an average age of 37 years. And, group AP was comprised of 38 women with an average age of 32 years.

All of the women participating in the study went through gynecological examination; and, vaginal swabs were taken and examined with a laboratory culture. In group P, 15 women had yeast infections (which accounts for 19% of group P women). In group NP 21 women had yeast infections (13%). In group AP, 8 women had yeast infections (21%). Not all the yeast found in the women was Candida albicans (C. albicans); some other species were present (and, it should be noted that at the time of this study, more species of yeast may have been classified as C. albcians than are currently; perhaps a minor detail). Some women who had C. albicans complained of the following symptoms: vaginal discharge, a feeling of dryness, and itching.

Overall, the study concluded that the occurrence of C. albicans in the vaginal secretion was higher in oral contraceptive users than it was in non-users: users had an incidence of C. albicans of 15%, non-users had an incidence of 5%; and, it was a statistically significant difference.

Another study, published in the American Journal of Public Health [85.8 Pt 1 (1995): 1146-1148], sought to see the association of vaginal Candidiasis with various factors. One of these factors was oral contraceptive use. The study was conducted via surveys. The survey recipients received an anonymous questionnaire that asked about their history with vaginal Candidiasis and other factors. In all, 1,027 survey responses were included in the statistical findings we will address.

The research found that 75.3% of 385 women that had been diagnosed with vaginal Candidiasis had taken oral contraceptives. In comparison, 42.1% of 642 women without a diagnosis of vaginal yeast infections had taken oral contraceptives. In a proportional hazards model, a diagnosis of vaginal Candidiasis was associated with the use of oral contraceptives. As the numbers indicate, there appears to be a greater risk for developing a yeast infection due to use of oral contraceptives.

The next study we will examine, was published in AIDS [27.13 (2013): 2141-2153]. The study was a review of published research; one focus of this review was to see if hormonal contraception methods increase the risk for vaginal Candidiasis. The study also looked at research describing how hormonal contraception affects the vaginal microbiome (the bacteria composition of the vagina). One thing of note is that the mere presence of Candida in the vagina and symptomatic vaginal Candidiasis could not be distinguished. Thus, the study refers to both situations as vaginal Candidiasis.

The study concluded that combined oral contraceptive methods reduce the prevalence and occurrence of bacterial vaginosis (BV) in women; but, they may increase the prevalence of vaginal Candidiasis. This review reported that reduction of risk for BV was much stronger than the potential increased risk for Candidiasis. The large BV studies (that had at least 200 participants) were consistent in their findings; and, the smaller studies did not report conflicting evidence to the larger studies. Three very high quality BV studies reported BV risk reductions for users of combined oral contraceptives of 10% to 20%.

The study stated that data for combined oral contraceptives and vaginal Candidiasis were less consistent, and in some cases, contradictory.

The study states that many hypotheses have been presented to explain why estrogen might deter BV and cause an increased risk for vaginal Candidiasis. According to the study, the primary theory is that estrogen increases the level of glycogen (glycogen is a type of carbohydrate used by the body) in epithelial cells (cells that line the surface of a body structure). This increase in glycogen can help probiotic Lactobacilli develop. Lactobacilli help to maintain an acidic pH in the vagina by secreting lactic acid. However, glycogen can also be food for Candida; thus allowing the yeast to overgrow more frequently.

The next research study we will examine was published in the journal Contraception [51.5 (1995): 293-297]. The study stated that the effects of antibiotic use, pregnancy, and diabetes on yeast infection occurrence are known. However, at the time this study was written, the ability of oral contraceptives to predispose a woman to recurrent yeast infections was controversial. One of the goals of this study was to evaluate contraceptive use of women with recurrent vaginal Candidiasis compared to women without vaginal yeast infections and those who occasionally developed these infections.

To perform this evaluation, 153 women with recurrent vaginal Candidiasis (having at least 4 documented vaginal Candidiasis episodes in the previous year) were studied. Two other groups of women also were evaluated. The first group, "Group A," consisted of 306 women who did not have yeast infections and had negative laboratory cultures for Candida; serving as negative controls. Another group, "Group B" consisted of 306 women who had non-recurrent vaginal yeast infections; also serving as controls. The study collected information about several factors, one of which was contraceptive use history.

Women with recurrent vaginal Candidiasis were more likely than the women in group A to use any contraceptive method. Women with recurrent infections were more likely to use oral contraceptives than women in group B. Additionally, women with recurrent infections had used antibiotic mediciations more often in the month before the visit compared to women in group A. Also, women with recurrent infections had a signficiant linear trend toward having more sex partners.

The study found there was an association between women with recurrent infections and oral contraceptive use. When women with recurrent infections were compared to women in group A, the odds ratio for using oral contraceptives was 2.08. This means that there was a 2.08 times greater chance of using oral contraceptives for women with recurrent infections compared to those in group A. When women with recurrent infections were compared to women in group B, oral contraceptive use had an odds ratio of 1.59. Therefore, women with recurrent infections were more likely than those without to use oral contraceptives.

Concerning the type of contraceptive pills used, the study found there were 5 different types used by the women in the study. The small number of women with recurrent infections did not allow for a detailed analysis of each type of pill.

The study also states that high dose estrogen oral contraceptives are associated with a higher frequency of vaginal colonization by Candida species. Yet, at the time of this study, this finding had not been verified by users of low dose estrogen contraceptive pills. The study states that a typical protocol for women with recurrent vaginal Candidiasis is to discontinue the use of estrogen birth control pills. This is done as it is believed that the estrogen these pills add to the body can lead to recurrent infections in predisposed women.

Overall, the study found the attributable risk to developing recurrent vaginal yeast infections due to oral contraception was 11% to 12%. This finding suggests that only a small proportion of women with recurrent infections would benefit from discontinuing oral contraceptives. The study’s authors concluded that oral contraception has a small impact on recurrent yeast infections.

The next study utilizing females attending a college, was published in the Journal of Applied Life Sciences International [(2017): 1-7]. The study employed 200 female participants aged 17 to 31 years (with an average age of 24) from the University of Calabar, Calabar (in southern Nigeria) following informed consent. The study utilized questionnaires to evaluate risk factors for vaginal Candidiasis.

Out of 200 high vaginal swab samples, 40 (20% of the women) of these gave positive laboratory cultures for Candida. Of the women positive for vaginal Candida colonization, 7 (17.5% of the 40 positive women) of them had used oral contraceptives. The study also found that prolonged use of broad spectrum antibiotics was associated with the highest prevalence of vaginal Candidiasis; 15 (37.5%) of the 40 women positive for Candida had prolonged use of these antibiotics. Additionally, the use of non-ventilating nylon pants also was associated with Candida colonization; 9 (22.5%) of the women had engaged in this behavior.

This study conducted in Nigeria may be more relevant for women living in hotter climates as opposed to women living in colder climates.

Literature on Birth Control Pills & Candida

Probiotic Lactobacillus bacteria, which can be found in some yogurts, may be able to help control yeast infections caused by birth control. Lactobacilli bacteria dominate the microbiome of a healthy vagina. They can eat up excess glycogen and secrete lactic acid—which will help to keep the vagina acidic and less prone to yeast infections.
Probiotic Lactobacillus bacteria, which can be found in some yogurts, may be able to help control yeast infections caused by birth control. Lactobacilli bacteria dominate the microbiome of a healthy vagina. They can eat up excess glycogen and secrete lactic acid—which will help to keep the vagina acidic and less prone to yeast infections.

Allison Tannis, in her book Probiotic Rescue, states that birth control pills can cause yeast infections. Tannis relates that antibiotic use changes the bacteria in the vagina and thus promotes the development of Candida. Like antibiotics, birth control pills can also alter the vaginal environment. Tannis states that the use of birth control pills have been strongly linked to the development of yeast infections. Tannis states birth control pills can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the body, and allow for Candida to develop. Tannis suggests women using birth control pills also use probiotics as a defense against Candida.

Helen Gustafson and Maureen O’Shea, in their book The Candida Directory, also cite probiotic bacteria as a key to why birth control pills can cause a yeast infection. These authors relate that birth control pills can suppress Lactobacillus acidophilus (a bacteria that is a proven fighter of Candida), and allow yeast to grow unchecked. According to the book, L. acidophilus helps to fight against pathogens, contributes to the body’s immune cells, aids digestion, and prevents C. albicans from forming invasive germ tubes in the colon. L. acidophilus can even stymie the growth of Candida in the vagina as well.

Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno, in their book The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, also discuss estrogen birth control pills. According to this book, some factors that predispose to Candida overgrowth are: antibiotic use, immune system suppressing drugs (like corticosteroids), impaired immunity, and more exposure to estrogen. Increased estrogen exposure can occur when a woman has estrogen dominance or is using birth control pills. To effectively help mitigate a Candida infection, the authors suggest eliminating antibiotics, immune suppressing drugs, steroids, and birth control pills.

An All-Natural, 12 Hour Yeast Infection Cure

Linda Allen’s Yeast Infection No More

According to a study published in Clinical Microbiology Reviews [12.1 (1999): 80-96], Candida species of yeast are a widely present organism. The study states that Candida are most frequently found in the mouth, and can be found in approximately 31% to 55% of healthy people. And, the most pathogenic species, C. albicans, accounts for about 70% to 80% of all yeast infections.

A study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology [120.6 (2012): 1407-1414], stated that vaginal yeast infections affect 75% of women at least once in their lifetime. And, more than 90% of these vaginal infections are caused by C. albicans. Concerning recurrent vaginal yeast infections, the study states this condition affects about 5% to 8% of women during their reproductive years. And, the study also relates that these recurrent infections are associated with serious suffering, costs, and complications with sexual relations. This is certainly true.

One woman, who experienced the suffering of recurrent yeast infections, was Linda Allen. In all, Allen spent about 12 years of her life dealing with these recurrent infections; and, also had a systemic overgrowth of Candida in her body. This excess amount of yeast in her body led her to feel terrible, and caused unusual health issues. When this started happening, it was hard to know what exactly was wrong with her health.

Linda Allen’s problems with yeast began around the time when she was diagnosed with a yeast infection. Like many people who develop this condition, Linda decided to go to the doctor for assistance. The doctor prescribed her a drug, and it worked well at first; Linda’s infection cleared up. However, it wasn’t long before Linda’s yeast infection came back. Linda would end up spending a small fortune on medical bills, and treatments, to try to solve her unusual health issues—issues that went beyond outward yeast infections. Linda was even prescribed allergy medication to deal with the unusual symptoms "Candida syndrome" was causing; and, again, at the time Linda did not know her health problems were yeast related.

Linda’s life began to turn around after she visited a naturopath. The naturopath knew the source of Linda’s health issues and recurrent yeast infections: Candida overgrowth. Once Linda understood that her entire body was being hurt by Candida, she was free to search for an answer.

After a great amount of work, and even trying many purported treatments, Linda arrived at a new, natural system for getting the yeast out of her body. Linda would go on to spend about a year polishing her new approach, before she gave it a try on herself. When Linda did utilize her new system, she found her health was improving. Additionally, Linda’s recurrent yeast infections also stopped. It was not long before Linda had regained her health and was free from Candida overgrowth.

Linda Allen’s doctor suggested she let others try her system, and she did just that. Linda began to hear back from those who tried her system; they too had been set free from their Candida problems.

Linda eventually wrote a comprehensive book detailing her natural solution for yeast infections and systemic Candidiasis. Since her book was first published, she has helped over 100,000 people from around the world get free from Candida. And, Linda also includes a natural system for getting rid of a yeast infection in just 12 hours time. Using Linda’s treatments, you can expect your yeast infection to clear up fast; and, you can also eliminate Candida that may have overgrown in your body.

Linda’s book is published by a large digital publishing company; a subsidiary of the United States based firm Keynetics Incorporated. Linda’s publisher offers a 60 day, 100% money back guarantee for Linda’s book. So, if you find that Linda’s book did not work for you, you can quickly get all your money back. Linda’s publisher handles the purchasing process for her book, and makes getting it safe, and easy. If you have any problems, they have easy to access support for your inquiries. And, since you can download Linda’s book, you can start reading it right away on your computer or mobile device.

To find out more about Linda’s personal journey to good health, see testimonials of those who gave her book a try, or to learn more about Linda’s book; you can learn more at Linda Allen’s website.

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SOURCES:

  • https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-7824(71)90045-X — Prenen, Micheline, and M. Ledoux-Corbusier. "Hormonal contraceptives and dermatology." Contraception [4.2 (1971): 79-89].
  • https://doi.org/10.18502/cmm.4.1.27 — Jacob, Louis, et al. "Prevalence of vulvovaginal candidiasis in gynecological practices in Germany: A retrospective study of 954,186 patients." Current Medical Mycology [4.1 (2018): 6].
  • https://doi.org/10.3109/00016347009157254 — Jensen, H. K., P. A. Hansen, and J. Blom. "Incidence of Candida albicans in women using oral contraceptives." Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica [49.3 (1970): 293].
  • https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.85.8_Pt_1.1146 — Geiger, Ann M., Betsy Foxman, and Brenda W. Gillespie. "The epidemiology of vulvovaginal candidiasis among university students." American Journal of Public Health [85.8 Pt 1 (1995): 1146-1148].
  • https://doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0b013e32836290b6 — Van de Wijgert, Janneke HHM, et al. "Hormonal contraception decreases bacterial vaginosis but oral contraception may increase candidiasis: implications for HIV transmission." AIDS [27.13 (2013): 2141-2153].
  • https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-7824(95)00079-P — Spinillo, Arsenio, et al. "The impact of oral contraception on vulvovaginal candidiasis." Contraception [51.5 (1995): 293-297].
  • https://doi.org/10.9734/JALSI/2017/34601 — Mbim, E. N., et al. "Prevalence of vaginal candidiasis among female students of a hostel in the University of Calabar, Calabar." Journal of Applied Life Sciences International [(2017): 1-7].
  • Google Books — Tannis, Allison. “Probiotic Rescue: How You can use Probiotics to Fight Cholesterol, Cancer, Superbugs, Digestive Complaints and More.” John Wiley & Sons [2010]. ISBN: 9780470678565
  • Google Books — Helen Gustafson, Maureen O’Shea. “The Candida Directory: The Comprehensive Guidebook to Yeast-Free Living.” Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale [2011]. ISBN: 9780307808103
  • Google Books — Michael T. Murray, Joseph Pizzorno. “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.” Simon and Schuster [2010]. ISBN: 9781439103449
  • https://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.12.1.80 — Fidel, Paul L., Jose A. Vazquez, and Jack D. Sobel. "Candida glabrata: review of epidemiology, pathogenesis, and clinical disease with comparison toC. albicans." Clinical Microbiology Reviews [12.1 (1999): 80-96].
  • https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0b013e31827307b2 — Marchaim, Dror, et al. "Fluconazole-resistant Candida albicans vulvovaginitis." Obstetrics & Gynecology [120.6 (2012): 1407-1414].