I have been reading with interest the comments on acidophilus. I started researching the subject of yeast overgrowth after hearing a specialist speak about leaky gut at a workshop.
I can not vouch for the accuracy of what I have read but my understanding of the subject in very simple terms is that good bacteria and yeast colonize various parts of the digestive system. They do not fight each other or kill each other off per se. What the good bacteria does, in effect, is to contain the yeast by colonizing large areas of the intestinal tract so they are not available for use by the yeast. They carry on many beneficial activities having to do with the digestive system.
If the good bacteria are killed off the area they occupied is then open for colonization by either reintroduced good bacteria or by yeast taking over the area with a new colony of yeast. When first starting antibiotic therapy, it may be possible to contain the yeast overgrowth by continual and consistent replacement of the good bacteria. If however the yeast gets established in too much of the system replacement is not enough.
It seems that there are three ways to reduce the overgrowth.
One is to take medications prescribed by a doctor. They are quite strong and can harm other organs. It seems that they are not designed for long term use which a person on antibiotics for months or perhaps years or the rest of their life would need.
Another way is to starve them. Yeast flourish on all types of sugars and simple carbohydrates. If you have ever made bread or seen beer being started you can appreciate how rapidly yeast grows in the presence of sugar. Just imagine that inside your body. The gases being given off are amazing in themselves. No wonder people complain of bloating. A diet such as the one recommended to us greatly reduces the food supply and can starve the yeast back. The diet also does much to regulate the pH balance which helps with overgrowth.
The last way is to ingest foods, herbs, etc.. that have known fungicidal properties and/or to increase oxygen to the area since yeast do not survive in a highly oxygenated environment. Three things that are recommended in the literature I have read were Caprylic Acid from the coconut, garlic and a homeopathic remedy called dioxychlor.
It seems that a combination of starving the yeast, replacement of good bacteria with acidolphilus, and working as many of the antifungal natural food substances as possible into the diet would be the way to go for people who are in danger of yeast overgrowth for long periods of time due to constant use of antibiotics, stress, and/or a weakened immune system.
I am trying to use diet and replacement to manage the balance. I have also chosen to take Aloe Vera liquid. In Dr. Weil's book "Spontaneous Healing" he told of a man who took aloe vera and lemons and put his Scleroderma into remission. There were similar claims in various places for its ability to aid RA sufferers. At the time it made no sense to me but as I continued to read about other people who claimed to be healed the common factor seemed to be that they all took something that was believed to have antibacterial properties. Aloe was being used to cure ulcers long before the use of antibiotics got all of the publicity. I started drinking the juice and have noticed that I can now throw away my Zantac. When I found the book "The Road Back" (now "The Arthritis Breakthrough" by Henry Scammell) and antibiotic therapy it all fell into place. A few people who were desperately seeking a cure for a condition they were unable to find traditional medical help for were lucky enough to try substances that were mildly antibiotic and were able to help them. How much luckier we are because we have medications available and a protocol to follow. Thank God for Dr. Brown and all of the doctors who now follow his or very similar protocols and thank God for the internet where people like me can find the answers so desperately sought and the support so very much needed.
Even though I am on Minocin now, I still take the Aloe because it seems to keep the gastrointestinal problems under control and helps keep the food digesting and moving along. I have read recently, somewhere on the vast internet, that it was discovered while using Aloe Vera for ulcers that yeast colonies were reduced significantly. Be sure if you decide to try Aloe that you do not get the capsules that are designed as laxatives. What I take has most of those properties removed. Dr. Weil recommended Georges Aloe Vera. I couldn't get it at first so I tried some other products including gels. Georges works as well or better than anything else I tried, has no offensive taste or texture, and does not need to be refrigerated. I also keep a bottle of the Aloe Gel Caps on hand so that it is more convenient if I am away from home for a day or two. I personally feel they do not work as well but that is just me.