When you need antibiotics to treat an infection, there are four things you can do to get your body back in balance and on the right track.
There are many reasons why those of us in the natural health community avoid antibiotics. Some may have a general distrust of modern medicine, but most of us are likely to identify with a more valid reason. We know that antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in the gut, and that can lead to bigger problems than the original infection.
But there’s no need to swear off antibiotics entirely because they can cause imbalances in the gut. Sometimes antibiotics are the best course of action during an infection and they absolutely have their place in healthcare.
When antibiotics are genuinely needed, it’s okay to take them without a twinge of guilt. Rather than fret about a prescription, you can take four proactive steps to help restore health and balance to your body when you need antibiotics.
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Finish the Entire Prescription
It’s likely that you’ve heard this advice from your doctor or pharmacist when antibiotics have been necessary, but you may not know why finishing the entire prescription is so important. It’s not to just be sure you are completely better; it’s mainly because antibiotic resistant bacteria are becoming such a problem.
When an antibiotic prescription isn’t finished, it’s likely that some of the harmful microbes in your system have survived. Those that have survived are likely the strongest of the bunch and most resistant to the antibiotics you took. Those microbes can then spread to others and multiply, spreading the extra hardy bacteria that become increasingly difficult to treat. Certain antibiotics have become obsolete and ineffective because of this. Antibiotic resistance isn’t about an individual person no longer responding to the medication; it’s about the bacteria themselves becoming, in a sense, “immune” to the drugs.
Antibiotic resistance is a huge reason why it’s so important to only take antibiotics when necessary, and when they are required, they need to be taken exactly as prescribed. We don’t want to lose the option of antibiotic treatments because they’ve been misused or used incorrectly!
Our intestines require a good balance of beneficial bacteria to properly digest food and keep us healthy in general. During a round of antibiotics, those good guys are killed off with the bad bacteria, making it so important to reestablish healthy gut flora. If that doesn’t happen, all sorts of inflammation, allergies, mood disorders, food sensitivities, and more can develop.
Thankfully, one round of antibiotics doesn’t doom anyone to chronic health conditions. The body can heal from even multiple rounds of antibiotics!
Taking a quality probiotic supplement is one of the best steps to take anytime antibiotics are needed because they help replenish the beneficial gut bacteria. They can even be taken while on antibiotics, just at a different time of day than the prescription.
It’s typically wise to continue the probiotic for weeks after the antibiotic treatment ends, and most people benefit from a daily probiotic as part of their supplement routine. I look for probiotics from reputable companies that provide multiple bacterial strains, like this one. Naturally fermented foods and drinks are also a great way to add probiotics to your day!
Reduce or Eliminate Refined Sugar
Refined sugar and carbohydrates can really throw off gut flora, even when antibiotics aren’t taken. When antibiotics are warranted, that excess sugar only harms gut health more, possibly contributing to an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria and yeast, like candida.
I’m not a fan of artificial sugar substitutes, and in truth, not entirely on board with sugar alcohols like xylitol and erythritol in most cases. So what options are left?
Limited amounts of natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, unrefined cane sugar, and perhaps some stevia extract can provide a little sweetness to the day without disrupting gut flora as much, so long as they aren’t enjoyed too liberally. Fresh fruits are naturally sweet and can often satisfy a craving for sweets, and their fiber improves gut health, too.
Focus on Whole Foods
Speaking of fruit, focusing on whole foods improves health all the time, and this is especially important when antibiotics are needed. Whole foods supply nutrients and fiber, strengthening the body on the whole and helping recover gut health.
Though it can be difficult for someone committed to natural health to take an antibiotic, it sometimes is the best choice for certain infections. Focusing on these four things helps bring the body back into healthy balance with all systems go.