5 Shocking Reasons Why Antibiotics Might Do More Harm Than Good

Antibiotics have revolutionized healthcare, saving countless lives from what used to be fatal illnesses. However, there are significant health risks associated with their use, some of which can lead to long-term health issues and even death. Each year, antibiotics are responsible for sending 142,500 people to emergency rooms as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Consider discussing alternative treatments with your healthcare provider before taking antibiotics. Here are five reasons why you should avoid them:

Risk of severe side effects

Some antibiotics, like fluoroquinolones (e.g., Avelox, Cipro, and Levaquin), have severe side effects. These drugs are often prescribed for prostate conditions like prostatitis, but in most cases, are unnecessary and ineffective because the majority of these cases (~95%) are not related to bacteria. Antibiotics may worsen the issue by destroying beneficial bacteria in the body.

Drugs in this class often cause permanent damage resulting in symptoms like tingling, numbness, pain, weakness, and changes in sensation due to tendon damage and peripheral neuropathy. Additionally, fluoroquinolones may exacerbate myasthenia gravis, a muscle weakness condition, and can even lead to tendon ruptures and joint swelling. Other possible side effects include skin reactions, memory loss, psychosis, kidney damage, vision problems, retinal detachment, hearing problems, and heart damage.

Antibiotic resistance

Widespread overuse of antibiotics has led to the development of drug-resistant harmful bacteria. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one example of a difficult-to-treat and dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Overusing antibiotics for minor illness may increase the likelihood of them not working when you really need them for serious illness later on.

Yeast infection

Taking antibiotics kills both “bad” bacteria you want to target and “good” bacteria in your body. This imbalance allows other microbes to take over, leading to yeast skin infections in warm, moist areas of the body like your groin or armpits.


Killing off the beneficial bacteria in your gut may also allow other bacteria to overgrow. For example, Clostridium difficile remains unaffected by antibiotics like penicillin, erythromycin, and sulfa drugs. In overgrowth situations, this bacterium can cause foul-smelling diarrhea, fever, and dehydration, which may result in hospitalization.

Antibiotics may be unnecessary

Millions of antibiotics are prescribed each year when they are not actually needed, increasing the risk of drug resistance. To ensure bacteria is the cause of your symptoms, ask your doctor to perform a culture and identify the specific bacteria they are trying to treat. If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, ask questions about the side effects and any potential alternative treatments.

If you do need antibiotics, support your immunity and gut health by taking a high-quality probiotic. Probiotic supplements help repopulate the colon with beneficial flora, reduce harmful bacterial overgrowth, and improve gut health. Your immune system is mostly located in your gut, so maintaining gut health may prevent future illnesses and reduce the dependence on antibiotics.

By being mindful of antibiotic usage and considering alternative ways to support good health, you can help mitigate the risks associated with antibiotic use.