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Avatar universal

Yogurt (KEFIR) can cause a mimic of Yeast Infection

this is not so much a question but some info i'd like to share if you think you have a yeast infection or other vaginal infection.  i started replacing my morning cereal milk with KEFIR yogurt.  it has 12 strains of 'good bacteria'.  one week after switching i developed severe vaginal itching followed by a milky white discharge.  i went to my doctor and she did not examine me but said i probably have a yeast infection as i had used antibiotics about 6 weeks prior.  she gave me a diflucon pill and i did a round of monistat 7 day.  it did nothing for me but make me feel even more irritated afterward.  at this point i had been eating the KEFIR yogurt for about 3 weeks.  i then started doing my own research and came up with something called:  vaginal lactobacillus overgrowth or cytolytic vaginosis.  i then quit eating the KEFIR and went back to regular milk with my cereal.  withing a few days i started to slowly get better and within about a week i was completely symptom free - no itch and no discharge!  there is some apprehension among doctors of even saying that to much lactobacillus bacteria can cause vaginal problems but living through this i truly believe it!  my symptoms all started one week into eating the KEFIR and disappeared one week after discontinuing the KEFIR yogurt.
22 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there. Actually, literature shows the probiotic yogurt helps cut down on yeast infections in women.  If using regular yogurt, it needs to be NON SUGAR yogurt.  You were using the wrong type of yogurt.  Either use ones labeled probiotic or use non sugar, plain yogurt.  good luck
Avatar universal
actually, i was using a sugar free yogurt.  
i DID NOT have a yeast infection.  i got the cultures back from my doctor and i was negative for yeast, bacterial vaginosis, STD's, etc.  my Dr. did cultures and sent them into the lab.  it came back NORMAL.  my symptoms started after 3 weeks of eating the yogurt kefir everyday.  when i quit the kefir i slowly got better over the next 7 to 10 days.  
Avatar universal
lifeway kefir yogurt -  this is what i was eating!:

With seven to ten billion CFU’s of 10 strains of bacteria, plus ProBoost, our exclusive pair of clinically proven probiotics, Lifeway Lowfat Kefir balances your body’s ecosystem and supports digestive health and immunity – that’s 12 live and active cultures per cup. Plus, it's an excellent source of calcium, protein and it’s 99% lactose free. Lifeway Kefir is a creamy and delicious yogurt-like smoothie the whole family will enjoy.
10018697 tn?1407272463
I specifically asked Google to explain the EXACT same results, that I experienced after about a week of consuming Sugar-Free Kefir.  It was the only thing in my diet that I'd changed, so I did the same thing you did, and discontinued for a few days, and it cleared up.

I'm very disapointed, because I thought it would be the perfect compliment to my healthy diet, however, I still don't have an answer.  I am however, thrilled that my husband likes it and uses it in his daily smoothie.

If anyone reading this finds an answer, or perhaps a substitution, please share it with those of us that haven't been quite so fortunate.
Fermented foods like kefir sold in stores can say they are sugar free, but still have small amounts. Lifeway sugar free kefir for instance, has 12 grams of sugar. Not cool huh? Sugar is the #1 enemy with candida overgrowth. In addition, store bought kefir that is flavored can contain other additives, preservatives & artificial colors/flavors. Furthermore, many kefir brands in stores contain Lactobacillus Rhamnosus as part of the list of around 12 probiotic strains. Some people who are susceptible to strep can have an adverse (yeasty) reaction to this particular strain. I have been fermenting for years & the only kefir or any other ferments I eat are homemade. I have healed my child and myself from leaky gut and severe gut dysbiosis including candida overgrowth using fermented foods like kefir, kombucha and fermented vegetables. To heal your gut further, eating good fats, fiber and protein are all important. I'm not a doctor, just a mom who spent years chasing the magic pill to heal our guts and found it. Fermented foods including kefir do not "cause" yeast infections. What can happen to a person who is prone to yeast overgrowth is that when they begin consuming fermented foods they may experience a healing crisis. My son and I both went through this to different degrees and came through the other side healed. I would suggest making your own fermented kefir so you know exactly what's in it and start slowly with just a few tablespoons per day in consuming it. It's very easy to make! Join me on my facebook page @ Healthy Gut Kitchen! Good luck to all! #LoveyourGuts
Avatar universal
This is interesting. I tried using some raw kefir vaginally. I wasn't having a yeast infection but wanted to see if it would help stop some of the discharge I keep having. Within two days my symptoms flared up with itchiness and almost UTI symptoms so I stopped doing it and my symptoms cleared up within 3 days. I searched everywhere for an answer to this but there doesn't seem to be one. I recently stumbled over some information regarding histamine intolerance in foods that are fermented (which kefir is) and can cause allergy like symptoms in people but I still haven't found a link to why this could cause vaginal problems.
Avatar universal
well mine is the spotting that is more like menses but still lesser than regular menses... it happens on the day I started on my 1st milk kefir... my husband as me to stop for few days to see of kefir is the caused.
Avatar universal
I also had the intense itchiness one week after starting to eat kefir daily. My guess is that it effected us this way because we had too much kefir too quickly. I believe the kefir grains eat the lactose in the milk to make the the good probiotics we are after. But I read here (http://vitamins.lovetoknow.com/Using_Kefir_to_Treat_Candida_Yeast) that its best to wee yourself on slowly, which I definitely didn't do. So then my next hypothesis is that we overdosed, which means we killed the lactobacteria in our vagina that usually regulates yeast, so then we got yeast infections. I make my own kefir, and wonder if eating small amounts of the kefir grains also made this worse for me. I haven't gone off kefir yet fully, so this hypothesis is still untested.
Avatar universal
I'm so grateful that I found your post! I was making my own kefir since october 2014 (6 months) and it helped me with constipation. Also, I don't like greek yogurt but I wanted to take a natural probiotic because I had a tendency to have yeast infection...if I eat too much sugar. It worked for a while and then, 2 week ago: boom! Discharge, itching...even burning. Called the doc: 2 pills of difflucan. The discharge and discomfort didn't go at all! I go to see the doc in two days and will have some labs done on that "bacteria" but as I was drinking 1 cup of kefir everyday...see?

The burning starts when I'm up because the discharge is so acid that when I'm standing...it's getting "out" and spreads all over my vulva. I think it's caused by hormones changes, because recently my family doctor switched me from generic to Synthroid.

Anyway, thank you for posting: no more kefir for at least a month! Or maybe...never!

Thanks again!
Avatar universal
I have been making kefir from wild kefir grains for 3mths and haven't had a problem. I eat a variety of fermented foods. But then I don't get yeast infections. My sister seems to only hear the word 'antibiotic' and gets a yeast infection. We have completely different diets and lifestyles but I'm not sure if that is it. Either way, please don't put food in your vagina.
I make my own too. I get yeast from meds. Not kefir. Big difference between store bought and home made.
I make my own too. I get yeast from meds. Not kefir. Big difference between store bought and home made.
Avatar universal
I'm so glad to have found everyone's posts here. My situation is a little bit different. I've had an itchy skin condition that started around my ankles, but has gradually worked its way up my body over the past 8 years or so. Sometimes it's just annoying, but sometimes it's really severe. I just started making my own kefir about a week ago and drinking it every day. My itching has definitely gotten more severe and spreading into other areas on my skin. I didn't want to believe it was the kefir, but I'm going to stop drinking it to see if it helps. The interesting thing is I don't really have symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection. Has anyone else had this experience with their skin?
Avatar universal
I suffer from slow digestion and constipation so I bought Kefir in raw milk form (no sugar) from a health store and started drinking one glass every morning. I was hoping it would help with my digestion and populate my gut with some healthy bacteria. I have also been taking a BioKult pro biotics (capsule form) for about two years now so I thought I would be able to handle the bacteria. A few days into consumption of the Kefir I got chills, fever, dearer, extreme abdominal pain and chronic fatigue. At first I didn't think to relate it to the Kefir and I am still not completely sure. I went to the doctor and he did some tests, my blood pressure was below normal and blood samples came back with low white blood cell count. I was scheduled for a scan but after 4 days all the symptoms cleared also around the same time I had ran out of Kefir and hadn't been to buy more. Its now been 2 weeks Kefir free and symptom free however I am now experience different symptoms; pelvic pain, kidney pain, foul smelling urine, severe migraines.. so I went back to google to do some research on my symptoms and it came up with urinary tract infection as a possible result. All my current symptoms completely fit so I started to read what causes the tract infection.. bacteria spreading from the anus to the uterus.. especially E.coli. This got me thinking about the kefir which led me to this site and many others with people complaining of the same symptoms. I am scheduled to see my doctor later today to finally figure out if it is a urinary tract infection or not. But my biggest concern is why the Kefir is causing such depilating symptoms, I started drinking it trusting it would provide me with more beneficially bacteria to kill off the bad bacteria.. not bring it on and make me ill. Or could it be that the infection / reaction I have is the process of the healthy bacteria doing it's work and the bad bacteria / infection is causing these symptoms while it leaving my body?
Same thing is happening right now to me. I did not eat keifer but I have all the symptoms you mentioned. Been 2 months now and my OB did a culture and they came back clear. I don't know what to do now. So uncomfortable! Did you end up getting rid of it or figuring out what it was?
Avatar universal
Kefir (if you don't slowly introduce it to your diet little by little) can cause what is known as a herxheimer reaction.  This is actually an immune system reaction to the toxins that are released when large amounts of bad bacteria and yeasts are dying to make way for probiotics (such as those found in fermented foods like kefir).  The body gets a bit overwhelmed and does not get rid of the toxins quickly enough so you end up feeling a bit under the weather at first.  It's totally normal and will go away once your body gets re-balanced.  I dealt with it when I first started drinking kefir because my gut was terribly messed up.  It went away after a few days.  If you start slowly with a very small amount of kefir, you'll cut down or completely eliminate such symptoms.

Just an extra note--having a healthy gut (with good flora) is actually protective again urinary tract infections.  There is research to support that.  I can also verify personally that my once chronic UTIs became far less of a problem once I got my gut in better health.  

hope you feel better!
Avatar universal
Kefir is made with yeast. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir
Avatar universal
About two years ago I started having itchy eruptions in the region of my breastbone. Biopsies diagnosed some of the spots as sunspots, the rest were 'undetermined'. For the following six months a few individual itchy spots appeared all over my body – – a couple on my back, legs and arms, and quite a few on my breastbone, and these have remained constant, every now and then flaring up and erupting, which has led me to believe they are related to either stress or a food intolerance. For many years now, I  have tried not to eat anything with food additives, and am particularly allergic to monosodium glutamate in all its forms. However, one can’t always avoid everything, and I have recently been thinking the culprit is potassium sorbate, which is very hard to avoid as it’s now appearing in foods that used to be free of it, but I’m still experimenting to see if this is so.  Very occasionally too, I had a bit of vaginal itching without any discharge, but nothing too severe. Now to the kefir: After buying  raw milk kefir for the first time back in July of this year, and taking it as a three-week therapeutic course to try to get rid of bad bacteria in my gut, I started making my own, using goat's milk. Since then, I have had frequent, very unpleasant bouts of vaginal itching and swelling, but never suspected the kefir. However, a few weeks ago I read somewhere that in Tibet, where they drink kefir, they believe you should take a break from it by only drinking it for twenty days, then refraining from drinking it for ten days. By this time, though, I'd been drinking a half pint of it every day for over three months, so put the kefir grains in the freezer for ten days. I was wonderfully free of vaginal itching during this time, but it still didn’t occur to me that the kefir had anything to do with it. A few days ago I started it up again, and drank a half pint of it. Almost immediately the vaginal itching started, and I am now in the throes of the worst case ever! It wasn’t until I read this column just now, though, that I realised there could be a correlation between the kefir and the vaginal itching, so I’m SO glad I found it! The kefir has not, however, caused any eruptions of the spots on the rest of my body, so these I still think must be caused either by stress and/or potassium sorbate – it’s so hard to pinpoint these things... but it means, sadly, that my kefir grains are going to remain in the freezer until I dare try drinking it once more - if ever. I certainly don’t want to go through this again!
Avatar universal
What you said is really interesting. Where did you get this information? I would really love to read more about this. I think we forget to add in things slowly to our diets, especially if labeled as a healthy food. Thank you for the reminder.
Avatar universal
Thanks to all of you for your coments.
I have a very bad vulvovaginitis itch.  I related in the past with yogurt consumption but I wasn't sure.  It is supposed to be good flora.

This time, it just happen I wanted to introduce fermented foods and probiotics into my diet and started with no sugar organic yogurt And... It did it again.

I also had a bad swellling throat allergic reacion after a capsule of probiotic a month ago.
I started to burb and had a need to vomit after taken the probiotics.
After the incident with a swelling throat; I am staying away from it.
No way I will try kefier; it is better for me just to do fermented cabagge.
17350707 tn?1455903598
It is my understanding that Kiefer kills yeast and the Yeast die off will mimic symptoms of a Yeast infection. Dead yeast is a toxin and will get eliminated. I suggest continuing products like kefir but in smaller amounts until your body adjusts. It can be quite uncomfortable. I have experienced as well. When making your own cultured foods, they are very potent! Good luck.
Avatar universal
Thanks for information! I didn't know that...
Avatar universal
This is an update of the post I made last November, when I put my kefir grains in the freezer after suffering from intense vaginal itching. This cleared up quickly, but the itchy spots on my body didn't. On top of that, a couple of spots above my ankles appeared, and when I scratched them, my whole lower legs started burning. It could last up to two hours, and keep me awake. I then took a food intolerance test, and, amongst other things, I was found to be highly intolerant of yeast. The company told me to stay away from products containing yeast, specifically: bread, pizza, cider and beer. No mention was made of kefir. I went on a strict diet in February, and I am now noticing distinct improvement, especially in my legs, and on my breastbone, which itch hardly at all. I should mention that I have also been taking homeopathic and herbal remedies as well. A few weeks ago, I decided to bring my kefir grains to life again, and have now been drinking about a half cup/day. Two days ago the vaginal itching returned with a vengeance, and when I looked up the strains of yeast most likely to be found in kefir, one of them was identical to that in bread and wine, namely Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  A couple of weeks ago I finally got to see a dermatologist, who told me the whole thing was lichen planus, had nothing to do with my diet, and thrust on my two things to put on the spots: Cetraben, which I won't use because it contains Paraben, and steroids, which I won't use either -- no mention of trying to cure the problem, merely to cover it up, so I'm delighted that my diet is finally kicking in. Soon I shall start gradually reintroducing regular bread, which I do miss, but if and when I decide to drink kefir again, I'll do it just a week on, and a week off, to see if that works. I'd hate to have to stop drinking it altogether, because I know it helps my gut, but if that horrible, intense vaginal itching returns, then that will have to be the end of kefir for me, I'm afraid.
Hi there - I've been having kefir for about 2 weeks now and just had my first uti (well that's what I think it is) in about 5 years. I also thought yeast in the kefir as this introduction if kefir is the only new thing in my diet. I have about 1 large glass every day or two as have no idea how much I should have? What do you suggest? For my children aged 5, 3 and 1.5 they have about 100 to 150mls in a cup a day.
Avatar universal
Hi all.
This thread is quite old, so I would like to bring it alive again.

In my search online I found contradicting info. I took antibiotics 2 weeks ago, then started making my own Kefir and a few days ago itching and swelling started (it appears to be a yeast infection).

This threat is the only info that really fits my experience after Kefir use. However, I was also wondering if the yeast infection is caused by the antibiotics, rather than by the Kefir. So I am wondering if we are blaming the Kefir for something that might be caused by something else (in my case the antibiotics)? Just throwing it out there and curious about your experience.

I am also curious about your experience after you stopped Kefir completely. Did the yeast infection disappear completely?
Absolutely, antibiotics are WELL KNOWN to CAUSE yeast overgrowth.  They change the PH of the vagina as it kills bacteria in the body.  We have 'good' bacteria that we need and when that is cleared out too, we end up with things like yeast infections.  
Hi. Thanks for your response. I am wondering, whether the Kefir played any role in that at all. If maybe the Kefir was (also) responsible for the yeast infection...
I started taking Kefir first time about a week ago never had any vaginal problems and now today intense pain burning and itching so I googled could it be due to the kefir and found all these posts I believe 100% it is the kefir. Too bad because I love the benefits of kefir and I do not want to give it up. I think I will stick it out and see if it gets better.
That's interesting. I eat kefir all the time, and have never had any such reaction or even close to it.
When I was on antibiotics (clindamycin and teva-cephalexin), I religiously used Visbiome probiotic every night. I never had any side-affects from any of the antibiotics. A couple of weeks later, I came cross kefir and started drinking half a bottle of kefir once a day, and within 3-4 days, I got a very bad rash/itching/candida in my groin and inner right thigh. I am very sure its kefir.  Today I am stopping kefir and I regret that I should have taken tiny bits of kefir in the beginning instead of half the bottle.
I see kefir in the store and have always wondered if it would help.  I'll read more about it.  Thank you.
Try the strawberry or peach. It's delicious!

Aside from this thread, I've never seen anyone say they had a bad reaction to kefir. (Depending on the brand), it's a live-culture product like some yogurts. It stands to reason that if live-culture products bother you, you always should come at them with caution. (This goes for fermented things like kombucha, too.)

But but if you've never had a problem with them, kefir is great. When my son is in a rush to get out the door, he has a small glass of kefir and calls it breakfast (similar to how one might do with a small container of yogurt) and it's a pretty healthy way to go. It can ease sore throats. In fact, my aunt was a hospital dietician, and she once gave it to a throat-cancer patient and it helped the inflammation go down. It's doubtless great for the gut biome. For me, it buys off cravings for something sweet to drink like a soda, and it can also stand in for lunch if I'm trying to drop some weight.

From what is being said here, some people need to proceed with caution on fermented or cultured products, starting small at the least. But otherwise I would unhesitatingly recommend kefir to anyone.
Avatar universal
This thread is so interesting! I have started Kefir on and off this past year. Every time I start it, within two days I have a serious yeast infection. I also thought that it might be the yeast die off in my body as I know I have Candida. I am consuming about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup a day. I know I have intense allergies as well. I am scheduled to see an allergist this month and will stop the kefir until I can get the immunotherapy started in my body. I feel like I'm having some sort of an allergic reaction, not sure from what because I make coconut kefir and I'm not allergic to coconut. I will update this post after my allergy treatments and try to re-introduce kefir back into my system. I wanted to add that I also get severe itching on my lower legs on the shins. Very uncomfortable and painful. Burning at times! I am on this journey with you all to figure this craziness out! Thank you for the comments!
Avatar universal
I have been dealing with staph infections for 2 years now. I have had 5 staph infections so far (Recent ones being only 2 months apart). I was getting sick and tired of antibiotics, so I finally did some research to see what I could do about my staph infections and I came across an article where they talked about good bacterias including bacillus subtillis. I purchased bacillus subtillis from amazon. I also came across Kefir plain milk. I went and bought several bottles of kefir from my local metro store and drank half the bottle a day. I may never get staph again, but for crying out loud, I got a bad candida infection in my groin and inner right leg. I am literally screaming over itchiness at night. The rash seems to get worse between 12 am and 4 am. I lost all my sleep. It's been hell on earth. I started googling again and came across this forum where people are talking about the same thing for kefir. I am going to stop drinking kefir immediately. Doctor prescribed me 1% HC Powder in clotrimaderm cream, and it seems to be helping. But lesson learned, I shouldn't have drank half a bottle of kefir in a day and everyday. Once my rash/candida clears up, I will start kefir with very little amounts.
just an update, Today, it has been at least 5 days since I stopped drinking kefir and my rash has gone considerably down!
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