I got an interesting press release appear in my email inbox yesterday.

It was about a survey, sponsored by Danone, of 120 UK GPs about antibiotic use and it’s impact on gut microbiota.

According to the survey over 60%  of people prescribed Antibiotics abandon the course half way through and just 5 out of 100 doctors surveyed were confident that 3/4 of their patients would finish a course. Not finishing a course of antibiotics is a huge problem, I started training as a nurse in the early 00’s (I never finished, apparently you have to get up REALLY early) and at that time the problems of bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics was s problem we had to deal with on a daily basis.

Patient picture Danone

MRSA is the one that everyone has heard of, but there are multiple infections that are becoming able to resist the antibiotics used to treat them, and as we run out of effective treatments that becomes a massive issue. When you don’t finish that course of antibiotics because you feel better, or forget and miss a dose, that bacteria might still be in your blood and with a lower than effective level of antibiotics it might become resistant to the drug.

Another issue that leads to resistant bacteria is the over use of Antibiotics for diseases it won’t cure, such as the common cold, which is viral in nature. In my early 20s I was prescribed several courses of antibiotics in fairly quick succession, which caused me all sorts of intestinal problems and led to me being treated for an intestinal overgrowth of a yeast called Candida Albicans and IBS that has been with me ever since. The reason for this is that antibiotics don’t only kill that nasty bacteria making you ill, they also kill off the beneficial “friendly” bacteria that keep our digestive system in good order.

Ever since then I’ve been wary when prescribed antibiotics, and question whether they are necessary, I’ve also always taken probiotics alongside them and finished the course.

It seems that I’m not the only person that this information has this effect on though. The Danone survey found that a third of Doctors now consider antibiotics impact on gut microbiota when writing prescriptions, and that when provided with information on probiotics and the effect on gut patients at least half of them finish the course compared with a third who haven’t been given the information.

So, lesson for the day, people. Don’t ask for antibiotics you don’t need, make sure you finish the course, and be aware of the delicate balance of bacteria in your body, and that some of it you want to hang onto!

This is a sponsored post.