Antibiotics were introduced in the early part of the twentieth century with phenomenal results for combating infections from injury and disease. They were truly miracle medicines for the times, and are still the mainstay for many illnesses that befall our frail human bodies. That said, in most cases, the good outweighs the bad. However, in the past couple of decades we have seen the emergence of resistant bacterial strains and super infectious organisms that is cause for much concern. The response in the medical community has been to apply stronger and stronger classes of antibiotics where needed. This often takes care of the primary problem, but leaves the body weak and depleted.
Strong antibiotics, those given by mouth and those administered through long term intravenous methods, can have side effects that may not be readily apparent for days or weeks. While taking these medications patients often feel sluggish, mentally hazy, dehydrated, experience blurred vision, and very often have diarrhea. Also during this time food (nutrient) absorption may be compromised in the intestine, thereby weakening more of the body’s natural resources and internal defenses.
Several things can be done to counter the side effects of antibiotics. First and foremost, the patient must drink plenty of fluids. This usually refers to water rather than flavored drinks. Don’t swallow your pills with just enough water to wash them down. Consume a full glass (six to eight ounces) of liquid. This will help with dry eyes and blurred vision. It is also necessary for replacing fluids in the gut if you experience diarrhea. If you must have a flavored liquid, try to drink something that replaces the electrolytes in the body, such as a sports drink. Soda, tea, and coffee all have a mild diuretic effect on the body and may actually promote dehydration. By no means should you consume alcohol when on medication of any kind. Not only can the alcohol molecules alter the properties of your medicine, thereby causing it to be less effective, it is a severe diuretic and pulls more fluid out of the body and into the intestinal tract. If you are already experiencing diarrhea, then having more water in your gut is not a goal to aspire to.
Second, while on the antibiotic course, take some lactobacillus acidophilus tablets, a good quality digestive enzyme, or a high quality whole milk yogurt each day. This will replace much of the necessary “good” bacteria in your intestines that is often killed and flushed out with the introduction of antibiotics. I have no recommendation of brand names or combinations of products. My best advice is for you to talk to the person in your circle of family and friends who is into a healthy lifestyle and who uses dietary supplements regularly. They usually know what works for them and can give you some good advice on what to look for when you go shopping in the health food or vitamin store.
Third, follow up your course of antibiotic treatment with an extended time on enzymes and other dietary supplements. If you had a particularly aggressive treatment for your ailment, it may take some time for your body to recover. You will need extra sleep. You may need to stay away from fatty foods for a while. Your tolerance for spicy foods may be very limited. Taking supplements for your intestinal tract for sixty or ninety days after your medical treatment would be prudent. I have seen acid reflux and heartburn symptoms develop many months after taking very aggressive medicines and your physician will likely put you on costly antacids or other related medications. If your digestive tract flora is out of balance, then heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and indigestion can often be the result. The wrong balance of flora will also hamper proper food digestion and absorption of nutrients. As always, work in concert with your family physician whenever possible.
There are many and varied dietary supplements on the market for digestion and proper bacterial balance in the gut. You must do your research and talk to those in the know about such things. Every manufacturer will claim that their product is the best. Most vitamin suppliers and health food stores carry a wide variety of products along these lines. Many national grocery chains also carry a supply of supplements. Be careful to check the expiration dates of any such product and use it as directed . . . with plenty of water.