Antibiotic use in the United States is among the highest in the world. In fact, this class of drugs is prescribed to four out of five Americans every year. They are an effective treatment and prevention for a variety of bacterial infections ranging from pneumonia to UTIs. And most of us have taken antibiotics at some point in our lives.
My most recent experience was six months ago after dental surgery. The dentist prescribed a seven-day course of antibiotics after pulling my wisdom teeth. I did not think twice. I followed his instructions because I wanted to avoid tooth infection.
However, the treatment did come with its side effects. I noticed that I had sluggish bowel movements after taking them. Since I have seen the records of patients who reported loose stools and diarrhea after taking antibiotics, I at first thought it must have been from something else. But it wasn’t.
Of course, none of the information in this article should be considered medical advice. But, hopefully, it will give you something to discuss with your doctor on your next visit.
Side Effects of Taking Antibiotics
When doctors prescribe antibiotics, they believe that the benefits will outweigh the possible side effects. The most common antibiotic side effects are an upset stomach, soft stools, vomiting or photosensitivity. Most people know about and expect these side effects and many doctors and pharmacists may warn you about them. But I find that constipation is usually overlooked as one of these side effects.
Constipation is the most frequent digestive complaint in the United States. It is a condition in which you typically have difficulty releasing solid waste from your body. Stools are generally infrequent – fewer than three each week – or hard, dry and small, making them very painful and difficult to pass.
Constipation can be very damaging to your health because it limits your body’s ability to get rid of toxins, which may result in the weakening of your immune system. Some consequences of constipation may include development of chronic and degenerative illness such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, accelerated aging, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular and many other diseases.
The Antibiotics-Constipation Link
As a group, Baby Boomers have very good reasons to be concerned about constipation. We are five times more likely than younger adults to have constipation or constipation-related problems. We…