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On antibiotics. What should I do?

by (50)
Updated about 7 hours ago
Created April 21, 2012 at 8:21 PM

My doctor started me on 2 antibiotics a few days ago to treat a pelvic infection. They are doxycycline hyclate and metronidazole. I have a 10 day course. I have been taking probiotics from Jarrow daily an hour or so after taking my antibiotics. I have also been trying to stick to paleo as closely as I can. I have been feeling nauseated and sick since starting the antibiotics so my appetite has been off. I have been avoiding dairy and wheat since they make me feel sick on their own. I am not taking any other supplements right now.

So here are my questions. Is taking probiotics enough when on a pretty heavy duty course of antibiotics? When should one take them? Should I also be taking any other supplements?

Also, this is the first time in my life that I have had to take any antibiotics. I am 31. I am worried this is going to screw me up forever. Please tell me there is hope!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194
11557 · April 26, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Yeah, Happy Now that is a great point- you should always let your pharmacist know if you are taking any probiotics, vitamins, or anything else in a pill or in large amounts because there can be interaction with medications.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b
24538 · April 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM

I'm sure they already told you this at the pharmacy, but just in case they didn't make sure you stagger the probiotics and the antibiotics by at least 2 hours, there is some danger of them cancelling each other out a bit if taken at the same time.

592fdaa77ec6342b736f1d25962aab7f
547 · April 22, 2012 at 3:16 AM

Might as well ask for some Diflucan when you go to your follow-up...

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · April 22, 2012 at 2:11 AM

@Sunny, hard to know. After months of successfully drinking water kefir, I arrogantly drank an entire bottle of lively kombucha and suffered 2 days of "probiotic flu." If you don't react to a large initial dose of a particular probiotic, either it was "dead" or you already have a large community of those strains.

6ae83bdd914ec4718fc762df5cabe327
50 · April 22, 2012 at 2:06 AM

I am absolutely going to finish the full course. Thanks for the advise. It is very helpful.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194
11557 · April 22, 2012 at 1:13 AM

Yeah, after a course of antibiotics I always spring for buying a whack of fermented food instead of waiting around to ferment my own. It can be a bit pricy from the health food store, but it is totally worth it. I can buy this huge jug of kefir that is already prepared for $4, I always spring for it after sickness!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194
11557 · April 22, 2012 at 1:11 AM

Yeah, I overdid it yesterday on the kefir- got home from a long hike and guzzled how much I normally drink in two days! After a short cold it was a little much. Very gurgly tummy! But Nance makes a great point about feeding your bacteria- they only do as well as you create an environment for them!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b
5509 · April 22, 2012 at 12:19 AM

I second the ginger tea!!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b
5509 · April 22, 2012 at 12:14 AM

What generally happens if you drink a lot the first day? I drink the whole bottle of komboucha the first time I bought it. I felt fine...does that mean that I was "healthy" in the gut to begin with?

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081
1646 · April 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Bingo! Well said.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41560 · April 21, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Jenny is spot on. Antibotics properly used are nothing to worry about.

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4 Answers

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11557 · April 21, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Pelvic infections, depending on the strain of microbe, can be serious, so I would think that it is probably wise to take them under your doctors advice. It is important to finish the full course of antibiotics, because stopping halfway through the desired length can put you in a tough spot- not all of the "bad" microbe can be killed, but plenty of the "good" microbes will be, so it can actually cause the infection to worsen.

Taking probiotics WHILE you are taking antibiotics may do a little bit of good, but chances are the antibiotic is killing a lot of the strains that you are taking in. That being said, I always think it's better to just keep taking them, just in case it helps. The most important window for the probiotics is immediately after stopping the antibiotics- you want to get a jump start on colonizing your gut with good bacteria. Fermented food is important during this time, because it offers such a diverse microbiota that it will maximize colonization. You will be more susceptible to different infections (the ear is a common one) immediately after the course of antibiotics, so just try to take it easy, get all your good bacteria, stay hydrated, and don't push yourself.

Antibiotics, when used appropriately, can be really important in preventing much worse infections- it is wise to keep in mind that they are a life saving tool when the need arises. There are some things they should obviously never be used for (acne, farm food), but they can be a useful part of modern medicine.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081
1646 · April 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Bingo! Well said.

6ae83bdd914ec4718fc762df5cabe327
50 · April 22, 2012 at 2:06 AM

I am absolutely going to finish the full course. Thanks for the advise. It is very helpful.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41560 · April 21, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Jenny is spot on. Antibotics properly used are nothing to worry about.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b
24538 · April 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM

I'm sure they already told you this at the pharmacy, but just in case they didn't make sure you stagger the probiotics and the antibiotics by at least 2 hours, there is some danger of them cancelling each other out a bit if taken at the same time.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194
11557 · April 26, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Yeah, Happy Now that is a great point- you should always let your pharmacist know if you are taking any probiotics, vitamins, or anything else in a pill or in large amounts because there can be interaction with medications.

1a36544c34d554b5e8cfd2ff1beea5ac
1
30 · April 26, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Eating more vegetables is a great way to help with the stomach issues. Probiotics are definitely a good start and one of the most effective ways to fight the antibiotics. If you are taking over the counter probiotics you may wish to find a more potent strain. CP-1 is very potent probiotic item and if you want to replenish the good bacteria that the antibiotics killed off I would start there.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
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37187 · April 22, 2012 at 12:03 AM

While you're on the antibiotics and not feeling great, I think your number one priority should be trying to eat the best overall nutrition to help you get through this in as good condition as possible.

Once you're done, your probiotics will then do their best for you but don't forget they're just like us--they need to eat. A healthy mix of meat, vegetables (ideally both fresh and cooked) and fruit will be just as important as taking the probiotics. It won't do much good to swallow lots of the good kinds and then starve them.

If you can tolerate such, "lively" kombucha or water kefir are 2 of the most powerful probiotic food/beverages. If you decide to try either of those, because they ARE powerful you need to start with very small doses--such as a teaspoonful once or twice per day for 3-4 days, then a tablespoon for another few days and then gradually increasing quantities.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b
5509 · April 22, 2012 at 12:14 AM

What generally happens if you drink a lot the first day? I drink the whole bottle of komboucha the first time I bought it. I felt fine...does that mean that I was "healthy" in the gut to begin with?

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194
11557 · April 22, 2012 at 1:11 AM

Yeah, I overdid it yesterday on the kefir- got home from a long hike and guzzled how much I normally drink in two days! After a short cold it was a little much. Very gurgly tummy! But Nance makes a great point about feeding your bacteria- they only do as well as you create an environment for them!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
37187 · April 22, 2012 at 2:11 AM

@Sunny, hard to know. After months of successfully drinking water kefir, I arrogantly drank an entire bottle of lively kombucha and suffered 2 days of "probiotic flu." If you don't react to a large initial dose of a particular probiotic, either it was "dead" or you already have a large community of those strains.

992862b1b9e443f83aa4e46d14833418
1
264 · April 21, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Can you eat naturally fermented vegetables? What about ginger tea for the nausea?

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194
11557 · April 22, 2012 at 1:13 AM

Yeah, after a course of antibiotics I always spring for buying a whack of fermented food instead of waiting around to ferment my own. It can be a bit pricy from the health food store, but it is totally worth it. I can buy this huge jug of kefir that is already prepared for $4, I always spring for it after sickness!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b
5509 · April 22, 2012 at 12:19 AM

I second the ginger tea!!

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