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Long Term Antibiotic Use - Risks and Dangers

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The use of a low-dose long term antibiotic use is a treatment that may be implemented by a physician for a number of circumstances, from recurring urinary tract infections to problematic acne. While these treatments may very well be very effective for some, they may also have side effects, especially in long-term treatment regimens, that actually outweigh the benefits most patients receive from taking them. With the amount of research that has been done on the effects of antibiotics in general, as well as research focusing on long-term antibiotic treatments, there is a potential cause for concern for any patient who may be prescribed low dose long term antibiotic use.

Risks of Long Term Antibiotic Use

A number of studies have demonstrated that over-prescribing an antibiotic to patients in order to help a patient fight off an ailment is often detrimental to the patients overall health. This detriment results because of the fact, that over time, while the antibiotic may very well be helping fight off a specific bacterial infection, the antibiotic may also be depleting the patient’s ability to produce the bacterium that are necessary for the healthy function of the body. This, in turn, can result in the body allowing the growth of other forms of bacteria that then lead to more serious infections. Thus, where one problem may be treated fully, another may develop that is resilient to the antibiotic the patient is taking.

Another problem that may occur as a result of the use of a long-term antibiotic treatment is the depletion of the bacteria that is located in the digestive system, mainly in the large and small intestine. The antibiotic can make the body unable to naturally produce bacteria that is necessary for the efficient breakdown and absorption of the nutrients a person takes in through food consumption. This can leave the body malnourished and unable to process food correctly. The other problem is that, like the immune system, the digestive system may become susceptible to the growth of harmful bacteria that can actually make the patient extremely ill.

Finally, long term antibiotic use may have an impact on other areas of the body as well. Though the symptoms are most commonly noted in women, the harm that can be done to the human reproductive system through the use of a long-term antibiotic can also affect males, resulting in different testicular infections. Infections that women most commonly experience from long term antibiotic use include the growth of yeast, which can affect the membranous tissue. These yeast infections may become systemic, which in turn can be much more serious in nature.

Before engaging in any long term antibiotic use, make sure you discuss the treatment fully with your physician to understand the potential implications of your treatment.

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