15 Reasons to Avoid Antibiotics for Prostatitis
There are many reasons to avoid antibiotics for prostatitis. First of all, for the majority of cases of prostatitis antibiotics just don’t work and may make the problem worse. Antibiotic use can lead to drug-resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance in your own body, and gastrointestinal problems, but that is not all. One class of antibiotics commonly prescribed for prostatitis is very dangerous, with often-permanent side effects.
The fluoroquinolone antibiotics are some of the most dangerous prescription drugs, and they happen to be the most commonly prescribed class of antibiotics in the U.S. Despite their known dangers, these drugs are prescribed as the first line of treatment for all kinds of conditions from prostatitis to respiratory infections to skin infections to people having dental work done and more. The common fluoroquinolone antibiotics for prostatitis include Avelox, Cipro, and Levaquin, plus Cipro and Levaquin are available as intravenous (IV) drugs for men hospitalized with severe acute bacterial prostatitis.
In the case of prostatitis, many of these antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary because about 95% of prostatitis cases are not related to bacteria. The antibiotics don’t work to fix the problem and can actually make the symptoms worse by destroying the beneficial bacteria in the body, allowing more dangerous bacteria to flourish.
As a patient you have to take control of your health. Since many people who are recovering from Cipro side effects say they were never warned about the dangerous risks of these drugs, you need to be an informed patient. Whenever your doctor recommends antibiotics, find out why. Ask him or her to perform a culture so you know if bacteria are even the cause of your symptoms. So many times antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily. Antibiotics do not kill viruses, and they do not work on illnesses that are not bacterial.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, or any other drug, ask questions such as the following:
- Why you are prescribed that drug?
- Are there any side effects or warnings for that drug?
- Is the drug even necessary?
- Is there a drug-free, natural, or alternative treatment that may also be effective in treating the condition?
If your doctor is recommending a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, ask for a different drug unless your life or allergy situation depends on this drug. After you hear the side effects you will probably have no problem standing up for your health.
The Severe Side Effects of These Drugs
The side effects associated with fluoroquinolone drugs are quite serious and can cause permanent damage to your brain, nerves, tendons, and more. The side effects are so severe that these drugs contain an FDA black box warning on their packaging and patient inserts stating that these drugs can cause severe tendon damage and permanent peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage that causes tingling, numbness, pain, weakness, and changes in sensation. These drugs may exacerbate muscle weakness in people with myasthenia gravis. The severe side effects are more risky for older patients, but they can affect young, active, and otherwise healthy individuals, causing them problems for the rest of their lives.
A central part of these drugs is fluoride, which is a known neurotoxin that has the dangerous ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and damage the immune system. Fluoride also disrupts collagen synthesis and can damage the immune system.
These dangerous antibiotics can cause:
- tendon rupture,
- joint swelling,
- skin reactions,
- loss of memory,
- kidney damage,
- vision problems,
- retinal detachment,
- hearing problems, and
- heart damage.
These side effects are certainly not what the doctor ordered and are in addition to the nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that these and other antibiotics can cause. Even though people can take these drugs without experiencing the severe side effects, is it worth taking that chance?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they estimate that antibiotics send 142,500 people to emergency rooms every year. That is why it is important to understand the reasons to avoid antibiotics and talk to your doctor about other treatments that could be used instead of antibiotics.
Another one of the reasons to avoid antibiotics is that their use can lead to antibiotic resistance. When you use antibiotics for every little minor illness, the bacteria in your body build a resistance to them, increasing the likelihood of them not working when you do have a serious illness and legitimately need them later on.
For example, men who had previously taken fluoroquinolone antibiotics for other conditions in the past had more complications later on when they were recovering from a prostate biopsy. The men had become resistant to the antibiotics and therefore suffered acute bacterial prostatitis after the biopsy because they did not respond to the antibiotics given to prevent infection associated with the biopsy. Researchers said that prior use of an antibiotic like Cipro is a “significant risk factor behind rising incidence of acute prostatitis after transrectal prostate biopsy.” This shows how overuse of these antibiotics can actually cause you to get bacterial prostatitis from a prostate biopsy.
They Destroy Gut Health
When you take an antibiotic, they also kill some of the beneficial bacteria and microflora in your gut, which can allow other harmful bacteria that are not killed by the antibiotics to take over. While these bacteria may do no harm in small numbers, when there is an overgrowth they can cause diarrhea, fever, and dehydration that may require hospitalization. Patients may also experience nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal problems.
If you do require antibiotics, which should be used as a last resort and when absolutely necessary, it is important to support your immunity and digestive health by taking a high quality probiotic. A probiotic can help you restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Taking probiotic supplements can help repopulate your colon with the beneficial flora, helping prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
This improved gut health can help your whole body stay healthy and prevent future illnesses because researchers are finding that much of your immune system is located in the gut. Looking into other natural therapies (like supplements and diet) can help promote your own body’s natural immunity so can avoid future illnesses.
There are times when you may need an antibiotic. If you have acute bacterial prostatitis, antibiotics may be necessary. By being an advocate for your own health, you can talk to you doctor about avoiding fluoroquinolone antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary and after you have not responded to other treatments.
Antibiotics do play an important role in modern health when they are used appropriately. But they also can create many health problems when prescribed unnecessarily, too often, and for conditions that can be treated in other ways. Knowing the risk of long-term dangerous side effects can give you enough reasons to avoid antibiotics for prostatitis when they are not necessary and find relief through several other natural and alternative therapies.
Taking antibiotics when you have a bacterial infection is usually unavoidable. The problem is that most Urologists prescribe antibiotics even when no bacteria is present “just to make sure”. The side effects of these drugs are significant so make sure you carefully question and challenge your health care provider as to “why” he/she is prescribing a drug for bacterial infection when there is no evidence of bacteria. If you have CPPS/Chronic Non-Bacterial Prostatitis, antibiotics should not be prescribed in the absence of bacterial infection. These drugs carry a BLACK BOX WARNING which is the highest form of warning by the US FDA.
Resources for Reasons to Avoid Antibiotics for Prostatitis:
Ekici S et al. Fluoroquinolone-resistant acute prostatitis requiring hospitalization after transrectal prostate biopsy: effect of previous fluoroquinolone use as prophylaxis or long-term treatment. Int Urol Nephrol 2011 May 6.
Mosharafa AA et al. Rising incidence of acute prostatitis following prostate biopsy: fluoroquinolone resistance and exposure is a significant risk factor. Urology 201 Sep; 78(3): 511-14
Ozden E et al. Incidence of acute prostatitis caused by extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli after transrectal prostate biopsy. Urology 2009 Jul; 74(1): 119-24.