No matter how healthy we keep ourselves, sometimes taking an antibiotic is unavoidable. While antibiotics should never be taken for a viral illness like the common cold, influenza, or COVID-19, there are times when they are necessary. These include an unexpected case of:
Tonsillitis or strep throat
Tooth or gum infections
Urinary tract infections
Ear, sinus, or chest infections
The truth is that antibiotics are powerful, life-saving medicines. They are partly responsible for significantly extending our average life expectancy over the last century. What many people don’t understand, however, is that antibiotics can disrupt the balance of our good gut bacteria - and consequently impact other areas of our overall health.
From stomach upsets like diarrhoea or other gastrointestinal disturbances like nausea, pain, & bloating, to a higher incidence of yeast overgrowth and inflammation (with outcomes including vaginal thrush), antibiotics aren’t without their consequences.
Antibiotics and the Gut
Humans have trillions of microbes in the body, most of them located in the gut. These microbes impact everything from digestion to immune defence, playing an active role in fighting infection and threats from microscopic fungi and parasites, viruses, and harmful bacteria.
Maintaining the balance of good bacteria in the body is just as important as eliminating harmful bacteria. While antibiotics kill harmful bacteria, they also kill these beneficial bacteria, and this disrupts the delicate balance.
As many as one in ten¹ people taking antibiotics experience associated nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea as a direct consequence of antibiotic treatment – and the intestines are less able to function properly.
The good news is that when you do need to take a course of antibiotics there are simple steps you can take to help support your body and minimise any undesirable health effects, including taking probiotics with antibiotics.
Taking Probiotics with Antibiotics
Taking probiotics with antibiotics is an effective way to restore your natural gut flora and hit the “reset” button on the health of your digestive and immune systems. The benefits also extend to enhanced brain function and general wellbeing, as the microbiome is very adaptable and responds well to the right probiotic treatment.