One of the greatest achievements in medical history are antibiotics. However, they may have gotten a little too much recognition. So much that they tend to be used in situations that they shouldn’t be. As a matter of fact, antibiotics have become a go-to medication by many even without the advice of a doctor.
As a result, people end up misusing the drug. Should you be worried if you are one of them? Here are five effects that you can experience either by overusing or underusing antibiotics.
1. Recurring Infections
If you are one of those people who have strong faith in the effectiveness of antibiotics, then you might have found yourself in situations wherein you stopped using them before you should. Just because the bacterial infection has healed, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are free to stop your medication. When you are advised to take it for two weeks, it is imperative to stay with it up to the very last day.
Bacteria are resilient. It doesn’t mean an infection is in remission, it will continue to do so. As soon as the antibiotics stop, there is no stopping the bacteria and are able to reinfect your body. Even if you think you are already completely fine, there can be trace presence of the bacteria that are just waiting to have a jumpstart on reinfecting you.
2. Stomach Problems
The drug is called antibiotics for a reason and not anti-bad-biotics. There is no way for the drug to different good and bad bacteria so it can also kill good bacteria. Rather, it attacks both simultaneously. So, while antibiotics do good when you are indeed having a bacterial infection, the opposite can also happen.
The places that have a lot of good bacteria are the stomach and colon. They help in digestion and keeping everything in balance. In their absence during a complete sweep induced by antibiotics, you are looking at different intestinal issues such as indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. It could even result in the bloody stool.
So to be on the safer side, you can take some precautions during antibiotics course. This article by Healthline provides good tips on what you should eat during and after antibiotics.
3. Fungal Infections
Another effect of the absence of good bacteria is fungal infections. The worst part is that it doesn’t just hit one part of the body, but almost every area that has skin.
In reality, every inch of your body is covered with good bacteria. They keep biological balance and that includes killing bad bacteria. So, in the event that you are misusing antibiotics either from over usage or using the drug to treat non-bacterial infections, you are looking at fungal growth on the vagina, mouth, and throat, among others.
4. Drug Interactions
One of the most important reasons why antibiotics should only be used under the advice of a physician is that it is a strong type of drug. An effect is its strong capability to combat infections, another is its strong tendency to react with other types of medication. To make things worse, there is a wide range of drugs that it is able to complicate with and the effects are various and could even be life-threatening.
So, be wary of antibiotics when you are under blood thinners, antacids, antihistamines, antifungals, and steroids, among others. The list goes on, making it imperative to always have the advice of a professional who knows what shouldn’t go along with antibiotics.
5. Bacterial Resistance
People who tend to misuse antibiotics don’t just do it once. Instead, they practice it regularly since this is what their limited medical knowledge dictates. So, they tend to experience the long-term effect of antibiotic misuse which is bacterial resistance.
Bacteria have the capability to learn and develop, that includes creating resistance against a drug. As a result, it becomes harder to combat infections which could even later lead to complete immunity to the antibiotic. In the end, it becomes harder to find one that will be effective in the event that you really need it.
While antibiotics are great, they aren’t really a magic drug. They don’t get you better within a day nor do they combat all forms of infections and diseases. Just like any type of medication, they have a specific purpose and they should be used only for that.
So, it is time to tread lightly with antibiotics. Start using them as they should or you are looking at adverse effects both short- and long-term. When in doubt, seek the advice of a medical professional.