2

votes

Probiotics and Antibiotics

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM

I've been fighting a relatively minor stomach virus and have been very clear with my doctor that I really only want to take antibiotics if I'm doing some damage to myself by not taking them. I can deal with the discomfort and prefer it over that side effects of antibiotics. I have a very cool doctor who is not at all unfriendly to paleo ideas. However when I explained my reluctance to take antibiotics for fear of wiping out the beneficial probiotics he had an interesting response. He said my fever was so high (102 at the time which as gone down from that high) that it was effectively killing of the probiotics as well as whatever nasty stuff was down there causing the problems. He said it was fine by him if I didn't want to take anything but understand that my body was doing the same thing I feared antibiotics would do with the elevate temperature.

I don't expect anyone here to say 'Sure. Take the antibiotics' but at the same time I thought it was worth discussing. Do antibiotics have essentially the same results as the body's natural defenses? By scrupulously avoiding antibiotics whenever possible are we fooling ourselves into believing that our precious probiotics are safe?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 19, 2012
at 02:05 AM

very few bacteria have cheap and affordable culture tests. Many times "knows" is just not possible.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 18, 2012
at 07:21 PM

My point was that "thinks" and "knows" are two different beasts. If the doc performs a test and verifies that it is bacteria xyz, awesome. If he throws a med at you because he "thinks" he knows what is wrong, run like hell.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 18, 2012
at 02:42 PM

as much as we like to think of medicine as math -- that is, symptoms come in and a diagnosis comes out -- it is a science. symptoms come in, you build a hypothesis based on the facts you have, and you test your hypothesis. There are tests that can be preformed and certain bacteria (like strep) are pretty easy to get right. But it is almost never black and white.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 18, 2012
at 01:16 PM

The problem is "thinks." Too many docs throw meds at you because they "think" they know what is wrong with you and can do more harm than good.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 05:37 AM

Jamie, Im confused (or you are ;) I'm not talking about culturing "normal gut bacteria" I'm talking about anything that a doctor of mine thinks is a bacterial infection needs to be identified as an actual bacteria. I got this way after YEARS of one doc after another Rxing antibios. for nothing. Stupid. Its better now but not good enough. Point is if they can't identify something is a bacteria WHY would they Rx an antibiotic and why would anyone take it. Unless its a medical emergency or there is compelling evidence that its likely a bacteria, I am not taking it.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 18, 2012
at 05:05 AM

Only 25% or so of normal gut bacterias can be cultured. I wouldnt rely on culturing myself, being that we havent identified the nessasary living conditions for alot of bacteria. Might help, if they can actually culture it.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:06 AM

I have a feeling David is using the word "virus" loosely here, as in a "stomach bug". If it is a bacteria then it most def. needs to be identified so the correct anti-biotic is used

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:06 AM

I have a feeling David is using the word "virus" loosely here, as in a "stomach bug". If it is a bacteria then it most def. needs to be identified so the correct antiobiotic is used.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:03 AM

I do have good luck. I used to have to be very bitchy and remind them of the overuse of antibiotics. More recently its not been an issue. That said... I do have an integrative MD and an ND so Im kinda preaching to the choir.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:00 AM

DO you have good luck getting your doc to do a culture? Mine always refuse :-\

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on July 17, 2012
at 09:18 PM

antibiotics do not kill viruses.

Medium avatar

(3213)

on July 17, 2012
at 08:08 PM

An Antibiotic is the nemesis of a Probiotic

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 17, 2012
at 07:44 PM

If it's a stomach virus, why would your doctor prescribe antibiotics?

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5 Answers

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 18, 2012
at 01:26 AM

If your doctor is treating a virus with antibiotics then you need to find a new doctor (no matter how cool he is).

If on the other hand your doctor thinks you have bacteria and wants to treat you with with antibiotics then you should take them.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 19, 2012
at 02:05 AM

very few bacteria have cheap and affordable culture tests. Many times "knows" is just not possible.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 18, 2012
at 02:42 PM

as much as we like to think of medicine as math -- that is, symptoms come in and a diagnosis comes out -- it is a science. symptoms come in, you build a hypothesis based on the facts you have, and you test your hypothesis. There are tests that can be preformed and certain bacteria (like strep) are pretty easy to get right. But it is almost never black and white.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 18, 2012
at 01:16 PM

The problem is "thinks." Too many docs throw meds at you because they "think" they know what is wrong with you and can do more harm than good.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on July 18, 2012
at 07:21 PM

My point was that "thinks" and "knows" are two different beasts. If the doc performs a test and verifies that it is bacteria xyz, awesome. If he throws a med at you because he "thinks" he knows what is wrong, run like hell.

2
1f91fa5584b27c2c7fc0cf1f97a386c5

on July 17, 2012
at 08:58 PM

This is a very valid idea, but (and quite a large But) elevated temperature doesn't out right murder bacteria. Why do you think it's necessary to use an entire regime of antibiotics when you are ill? Because the antibiotics do not insta-jib all the funky bacteria in your system. It simply attaches to all offending foreign bodies that have capable receptor sites and stops them from reproducing... for the time being. Thus explains the need to take more antibiotics over time, you're simply creating an environment less suited for them to reproduce in. Your own immune system is still doing it's thing, all other processes are still ticking along in their attempts to kill the foreign bodies.

Now to rephrase your question with another question, How certain is your doctor that the antibiotics will be as responsive as your own body to the current infection (stopping counter measures when they are no longer needed)? Will the elevated body temp really effect both pro-biotics and the infectious organisms similarly while the offending bodies are also being hunted down by your immune response?

There are very good odds some, if not most, pro-biotics will survive a fever. Not so much for the infectious invaders, since they would further stimulate a continued fever.

2
4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

on July 17, 2012
at 08:46 PM

My stance for myself and my family is this - I NEVER mind taking an antibiotic for a known and identified BACTERIA.

I make them culture everything so I know A. its a bacteria (it never is...) and B. they give me the correct antibiotic.

I don't like guessing games when its not necessary since they can easily identify the issue.

If you have a high high fever then you can lower that, while you wait for the culture. Or just take the medicine if the doctor has a reasonable explanation as to what he thinks it is.

If you think you have a GI bacteria, I personally would have testing done.

03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

(4100)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:00 AM

DO you have good luck getting your doc to do a culture? Mine always refuse :-\

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 05:37 AM

Jamie, Im confused (or you are ;) I'm not talking about culturing "normal gut bacteria" I'm talking about anything that a doctor of mine thinks is a bacterial infection needs to be identified as an actual bacteria. I got this way after YEARS of one doc after another Rxing antibios. for nothing. Stupid. Its better now but not good enough. Point is if they can't identify something is a bacteria WHY would they Rx an antibiotic and why would anyone take it. Unless its a medical emergency or there is compelling evidence that its likely a bacteria, I am not taking it.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:03 AM

I do have good luck. I used to have to be very bitchy and remind them of the overuse of antibiotics. More recently its not been an issue. That said... I do have an integrative MD and an ND so Im kinda preaching to the choir.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 18, 2012
at 05:05 AM

Only 25% or so of normal gut bacterias can be cultured. I wouldnt rely on culturing myself, being that we havent identified the nessasary living conditions for alot of bacteria. Might help, if they can actually culture it.

1
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on July 17, 2012
at 11:46 PM

Fellow member akd posted this podcast somewhere about our inner ecosystem of bacteria, and I found it to be informative:

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/06/20/bacteria-2

1
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on July 17, 2012
at 09:34 PM

There seems to be some misconceptions about what antibiotics do. They do not treat viral infections! Using antibiotics for viral infections is a major part of the reason for increased antibiotic resistance.

There are many different kinds of antibiotics and they are specific to different types of organisms. A good doctor will know the odds of which antibiotic is most likely to cover the offending infection. See an ear infection, probably azithromycin will take care of it. See a UTI, probably SMZ/TMP will cure it. Not too difficult if a prescriber knows what he/she is doing.

As long as you take all of your medication you increase the chance that your infection will be cured and you decrease the chance that the bug will become resistant. (That's because the ones not killed mutate enough to foil the med and then they continue to reproduce.)

I think it is interesting that your doctor said that your fever is killing your probiotics. I have no idea if this is true or not. That said, you might want to be proactive here and take probiotics to replenish what you'll lose whether or not you choose to take the antibiotic. Hope you feel better soon!

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on July 18, 2012
at 12:06 AM

I have a feeling David is using the word "virus" loosely here, as in a "stomach bug". If it is a bacteria then it most def. needs to be identified so the correct anti-biotic is used

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