By Tracy Middleton
Got a sore throat? Cold? Flu? You’ll probably also get a yeast infection this winter. Gasp! Here’s why – plus how to avoid it.
Public health officials have been warning us of the dangers of antibiotic resistance for years. But new research shows people are basically sticking their fingers in theirs ears and refusing to listen – and our vaginas are paying the price.
The problem with antibiotics:
A new study published in JAMA finds that one in three doctors prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily. For example, antibiotics (which only work against bacteria) won’t do squat when you have a cold (which is a virus). Most alarmingly, taking too many of the meds can lead to more omg-please-spare-my-ladyparts yeast infections. That’s because they kill healthy bacteria in the vagina, giving fungus a chance to grow more easily.
The problem goes way beyond your vag, though. Every time you take an antibiotic, you give your germs another chance to outsmart the drugs. Then, when you really need to take antibiotics, for say, strep throat, the bacteria have morphed into superbugs that are resistant to the drugs. And if you continue to use antibiotics when they’re not needed, “things as common as strep throat or a… scratched knee could once again kill,” Dr Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organisation, previously warned WH. Yikes.
Why do doctors dole out so many unneeded prescriptions? Mostly because we ask for them by name. And clinicians don’t want to risk alienating patients, according to an editorial by the study authors in JAMA.
Your medical move:
So how do you protect your vajayjay – and the rest of your bod? Next time you go to the doc and he offers to prescribe antibiotics for sinus infections, middle ear infections, sore throats, colds, bronchitis, asthma, allergies, flu and pneumonia (per the study, four in 10 unnecessary scripts are written out for these upper respiratory conditions), ask if you really need them. You may be able to squash symptoms with OTC meds, or wait it out for a few days to see if you get better on your own.
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