Are We Too Dependent on Antibiotics?

Overuse of antibiotics may make the micro-organism resistant to that particular antibiotic. This can lead to various side-effects that can be problematic for you.

Antibiotics are strong medicines that can fight against bacteria causing certain infections. Also known as antibacterials, antibiotics work by either killing or slowing down the growth of bacteria by attacking the wall surrounding them, blocking the production of protein and by interfering with reproduction in bacteria. Antibiotics come in various forms like tablets, creams, capsules, ointments, liquids etc. Also Read – Toothache: Use These Natural Ways, Not antibiotics, to Get Relief

If used in the limit, antibiotics can provide you protection from the diseases and conditions caused by bacteria but its overuse may make the micro-organism resistant to that particular antibiotic. This can lead to various side-effects that can be problematic for you. Here we will talk about them. Also Read – Safe antibiotics developed from wasp venom

Digestive issues

As antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria present in the gut, it can cause gastrointestinal distress that is characterized by symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps, and nausea. The condition may become severe if you take antibiotics empty stomach. Gastrointestinal infection can go away as soon as you stop taking the medications. Rarely, people also experience severe symptom including fever, severe diarrhoea, blood or mucus in stool etc. Also Read – Antimicrobial Stewardship guidelines for judicious use of antibiotics released

Fungal infection

As mentioned above, antibiotics kill good bacteria in the gut that are responsible for protecting you against fungal infection. This puts you at increased risk of developing a fungal infection in mouth, throat, or/and vagina. Some of the common signs and symptoms of a fungal infection include fever, loss of taste, abnormal vaginal discharge, pain during intercourse, pain while eating etc.


Certain antibiotics like tetracycline are known to make the skin highly sensitive to the sunlight. This means that prolonged exposure to the sunlight can damage your skin, cause itching, red patches etc. due to sunburn. Your eyes may also get damaged due to hypersensitivity to natural light. So, if you are taking antibiotics, avoid exposure to sunlight for a longer duration. Also, do not use a sunscreen with high SPF and wear protective clothing.

The reason behind the sudden concern over antibiotic use can be attributed to the discovery void that we are currently experiencing. This void is defined by the lack of new antibiotics being discovered. As bacteria are evolving and mutating, we are equipped with fewer new antibiotics to stop their spread. One of the key reasons behind this void boils down to a simple reason. The creation of new antibiotics are not profitable enough for Big Pharma, especially compared to other medications that a person takes for an entire lifespan. The economic incentive is driving lifestyle drugs rather than antibiotics, which are only taken for a few days to a couple weeks.

But the blame does not solely rest in the hands of Big Pharma. There are various other social factors influencing antibiotic resistance. Within the general public, concerns surround the tendency to self-medicate, low adherence to full antibiotic treatment, and easy accessibility to antibiotics. Medical professionals also play a key role. Within the private sector, medical professionals are faced with patient demands and expectations, economic incentives, high costs of diagnostic testing, and a lack of continuing medical education. Some overlap exists between the private and public sector, as professionals in the public sector face similar issues surrounding a lack of education and diagnostic facilities. In the public sector, these issues are also compounded with heavy patient loads.

So, where do we go now? Luckily, the continued awareness around antibiotic resistance has led the development of guidelines to improve our health. By improving access to clean water, sanitation, and vaccination we can reduce the need for antibiotics. Important strides are being made within antibiotic stewardship to improve hospital infection control. Changing political and economic incentives can encourage antibiotic development. By reducing the use of antibiotics in the agricultural industry, we are limiting the antibiotics we consume through our diet. Finally, education and accountability will keep us informed and responsible, ensuring the safety of our future health.

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