Candida, or yeast, is a fungus that lives almost everywhere including our bodies. They normally live in our intestinal tract or on our skin but our immune systems generally keep them under control. 
However, sometimes things don’t quite run to plan in the complex world of the human body and an overgrowth of these organisms can cause an infection to develop.
These yeast infections are actually very common, but that doesn’t seem to make them any less embarrassing, especially for women who are often dealt the great brunt of them below the waist.
Thankfully, science has shown that true probiotics can suppress candida growth, ease symptoms, and reduce the frequency of these infections, calling them a “worthy ally in the battle against chronic mucosal candidal infections”. 
So let’s take a better look at what yeast infections are and how a true probiotic might assist in their demise.
What are yeast Infections?
Yeast infections are an overgrowth of candida, a fungus that can be found both in our environment and permanently living on the human body. The candida fungus is a microscopic organism that can live harmlessly by your side for a lifetime.
However, like with so many human ailments, when an imbalance occurs in your body or your immune system is weakened you can suddenly be at risk of an overgrowth, or infection of this yeast.
Though candida is usually considered a rather mild ailment, in patients with weakened immune systems, like those with AIDS or cancer, candida in the bloodstream can actually be fatal.
The most common form of yeast infections are usually found as oral thrush in the mouth, athlete’s foot on the skin or as vaginal yeast infections that plague as many as 75% of adult women at least once in their lifetime. 
Symptoms of yeast infections
Symptoms of candida vary depending on the area of the body that is infected.
Oral thrush usually displays as white patches or plaques on the tongue; vaginal yeast infections as an itching or burning sometimes accompanied by a “cottage cheese-like” discharge; and athlete’s foot as a scaly rash that causes itching, stinging and burning. 
How do you get a yeast infection?
When an imbalance occurs in your body or your immune system is weakened you can suddenly be at risk of a yeast infection. One of the most common ways this tends to happen is from the use of antibiotics which change the normal balance in your body’s flora. Antibiotics often have to kill “good bacteria” in order to rid your body of “bad bacteria”. This imbalance of the “good guys” allows other conditions to flourish, such as candida. 
In regions such as the vaginal area, an imbalance can also occur by upsetting the local flora from practices such as douching which removes the healthy bacteria that line the vagina and protect it against infection. 
What are probiotics?
A probiotic is defined as a live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. 
Probiotics can be found naturally in yoghurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles and even some cheeses or they can be taken as daily supplements.
But not all probiotics are created equal.
Today, the health and wellness market is absolutely saturated with probiotic products. And, with good reason. Science continues to show that probiotics can really make an impact on our general health as well as several serious health conditions.
But with so many to choose from, and so many strains available, how can you be sure that you’re getting a true probiotic?
What are true probiotics?
A true probiotic is a probiotic that is able to survive the very low pH environment of your stomach so that it can make it through to the intestines where it is most beneficial. If the probiotic can’t make it to the intestines it is of little value in the treatment and management of many diseases.
The most efficient way to improve the survival rates of probiotics is by using acid resistant probiotic strains alongside effective “microencapsulation” – the casing of the supplement. The casing needs to be able to survive the acidic journey to ensure that the probiotics are delivered into the intestine. 
In terms of acid resistant strains, Lactobacilli are considered particularly resistant to acid environments with L. rhamnosus showing some of the highest survival rates in acidic conditions. 
Treating a yeast infection with true probiotics
Probiotics are seen as a useful treatment for yeast infections and science continues to hold up this theory.
A number of studies indicate that the true probiotic Lactobacilli can indeed suppress candida growth, symptoms and even the incidence in the most chronically ill patients. 
One study, on 215 elderly patients living in nursing homes (one of the most prone groups to yeast infections), showed a significantly reduced amount of candida yeasts in the mouth after they took a probiotic lozenge containing two strains of Lactobacillus reuteri for 12 weeks. 
Another 65 patients with oral thrush were given probiotics such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus alongside conventional antifungals. The results showed that the probiotics improved the effectiveness of the antifungals and reduced the candida. 
A study utilizing Lactobacillus in a slow-release vaginal tablet showed that 86% of the women remained free of the infection after the 10-week study whilst 72.4% experienced no recurrence of candida even 7 months later. 
There is also evidence of Lactobacillus reuteri preventing the infection of candida in preterm newborns .
Though many probiotics continue to show effectiveness in the treatment of human disease, true probiotics offer far greater odds that more of the probiotics will survive and reach where they’re needed most – the intestine – and ultimately your yeast infection
By choosing to purchase probiotic products that use “controlled-release” pills which offer a resistant coating, we can help to ensure that more bacteria in the pill survive our gastric acids and reach the intestines alive and ready to work. 
At the same time, choosing probiotic strains of Lactobacillus such as Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus with their acid resistant makeup and high success rates in treating yeast overgrowths may also help to keep yeast infections at bay permanently.