Everything You Need to Know About Taking Antibiotics

The intestine is known to be our second brain because it is related to hormonal function, heart health and our cognitive performance, and is not merely involved in the body's digestion process. In this sense, the secret to having a healthy microbiome is to ensure that the good intestinal bacteria outweigh the bad bacteria. However, when we are sick and need to take an antibiotic, we can end up completely altering that balance.

What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are medicines that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria and cannot treat viral infections, such as flu or colds. It is a common medicine that doctors prescribe to combat certain bacteria and infections, preventing bacterial reproduction.

Before bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms, the immune system can kill them. White blood cells attack harmful bacteria and, as a rule, even if symptoms occur, the immune system can fight the infection. However, when the number of harmful bacteria is excessive and the immune system cannot fight them, antibiotics become the best option.

There are several types of antibiotics available and these can generally only be obtained with a prescription.

How do they work?

There are different types of antibiotics: bactericidal antibiotics, which kill bacteria and generally interfere with the formation of the bacterial cell wall; and bacteriostatic, which prevents bacteria from multiplying.

Typically, antibiotics are taken orally. However, they can also be administered by injection or applied directly to the infected part of the body. Most of these medicines begin to fight the infection within a few hours.

Some of the side effects that taking an antibiotic can trigger are:

  • Stomachache;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Skin irritation.

How do they affect the intestine?

Being able to kill dangerous bacteria, antibiotics are also a powerful threat against good bacteria. In this way, they can significantly alter our intestinal flora, causing intestinal disorders (acidity, discomfort and bloating) and making the body susceptible to fatigue and other infections.

Since there is a large amount of bacteria in the intestine, we all gather our own bacterial collection. An unbalanced gut ecosystem is the main cause of bloating, weight gain, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten sensitivity and skin conditions.

Is it possible to protect gut bacteria during antibiotic treatment?

Some experts recommend taking a probiotic (a substance with living organisms that promote the health of the body) together with antibiotics, spaced apart. While our entire bacterial population is harmed when we take antibiotics, we can try to protect the intestine with the help of some beneficial bacteria. However, it is still essential to seek medical advice before doing so.

Choosing foods rich in fiber to multiply the microbiome is a good help, as is eliminating sugary and starchy foods from the diet. Consuming natural and plant-based foods is essential for successful intestinal rehabilitation.

Interaction with other medications

People who are taking an antibiotic should not take other medications without talking to a doctor first. Some professionals suggest that antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, but there is not yet enough research to support this claim. Even so, it is natural for the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill to decrease in the case of diarrhea or vomiting, as well as in situations where taking the oral contraceptive must be stopped due to stomach pain.

Stopping medication before treatment ends increases the risk that the bacteria will become resistant to future treatments. This is because the bacteria that survive will have some exposure to the antibiotic and may develop some type of resistance to it. Therefore, it is imperative to complete treatment, even after an improvement in symptoms is noted.

Follow your doctor's instructions correctly for the medicine to be effective.

Source: Medical News Today


This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment. No information contained in this article or otherwise provided on frederica.pt is intended to diagnose, treat or cure any patient or should be considered as medical advice or the practice of medicine.

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