I had to start taking antibiotics for an ear infection that was extremely painful and I have two questions.
1) Do I really take them all, or can I get away with just taking say half of the FOURTY(!) pills that I was prescribed?
2) Since I guess that the antibiotics will kill a lot of the good stuff in my gut, when should I start taking probiotics to replenish the "good guys"?
1.) ALWAYS ALWAYS take ALL of your antibiotics!
2.) my doctor recently told me to take a probiotic throughout the time I was taking the antibiotic to replenish the "good" bacteria to prevent a possible yeast infection (as I am female). I would say the same to replace the "good guys" in your gut. And to keep taking the probiotics for a few days when your antibiotics are done.
Antibiotics--the rule is either take all or none. If you take half, you'll just kill the weak bacteria, and the rest will have developed resistance to that antibiotic. It's not just a problem for you but for the entire community, because when that bacteria makes its way out into the world, everyone gets an antibiotic resistant bacteria. Ever hear of MRSA?
Also, it's important to follow the dosage schedule, which is based on the life cycle of the bacteria and the mechanism that the antibiotic uses to kill the bacteria. If you are taking a q6 hour antibiotic every 12 hours, that's another good way to breed resistant bacteria.
Probiotics are useful for helping to prevent overgrowth of candida in the gut but not for preventing vulvo-vaginal candidiasis. If you develop symptoms, ask your provider for a diflucan or get a monistat 3 or 7 day treatment (not one day it doesn't work very well).
1) The idea is that if you don't take all of them you might just miss a few that are somewhat resistant to the antibiotic and, therefore, start them down the path of becoming more resistant. That's bad. Take 'em all.
2) After you finish the whole course of antibiotics.
Shouldn't you start taking the probiotics as soon as you start antibiotic treatment, if not before starting? You want to protect your GI microflora from massive die off. I can't imagine that taking probiotics would attenuate the effectiveness of the antibiotics from crossing the gut barrier, entering the bloodstream, and then having its intended effect on your ear infection. But I'm not an MD, so this is just an educated guess, not professional advice.