Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Cells, Microbes & Viruses => Topic started by: Bakhusele Njongwe on 11/10/2009 13:30:03

Title: What happens to beneficial bacteria when we take antibiotics?
Post by: Bakhusele Njongwe on 11/10/2009 13:30:03
Bakhusele Njongwe  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I understand that our bodies have billions of both good and bad bacteria.

I'd like to know what happens to the good bacteria that we need when one takes anti-bacteria pills? Do the good bugs also die? If so, then what happens to the essential functions they perform for our well being?
 
Bakhusele

What do you think?
Title: What happens to beneficial bacteria when we take antibiotics?
Post by: Nizzle on 14/10/2009 14:43:44
They'll be attacked by the Antibiotic as well.

As far as i know, the 'beneficial' bacteria you're talking about have two tasks

- Some of them produce Vitamin K (of which we need minimal quantities, compared to how much is produced by them)
- They just occupy space, which therefore can't be occupied by 'malicious' bacteria.

So maybe an overextensive use of antibiotics might result in vit. K deficiency, but other than that, I don't see any big problems.
Title: What happens to beneficial bacteria when we take antibiotics?
Post by: rosy on 14/10/2009 15:22:02
Various things can sometimes happen.
People get lactose intolerance after a course of antibiotics, because actually many adult humans can't digest lactose but none-the-less can eat milk products because the lactose is digested by gut bacteria to sugars that can be absorbed.
Also, women sometimes get vaginal thrush because the natural flora of the vagina is a balance between bacteria and yeast-type organisms.. kill off the bacteria and the yeasts get out of control.
Title: What happens to beneficial bacteria when we take antibiotics?
Post by: chris on 24/10/2009 12:12:29
To embellish Rosy's answer slightly, vaginal yeasts, including Candida, are suppressed by low vaginal pH (acid). This is the result of the action of bacteria called lactogenic bacilli, which are the same bugs that turn milk into cheeses and yoghurts.

The lactobacilli are so named because they produce lactic acid as a product of their metabolism. This lactate reduces vaginal pH below a level tolerable by yeasts. But antibiotics, oral contraceptives, other intercurrent illnesses and diabetes can alter the conditions of the vagina, suppressing or eliminating the lactobacilli. This allows vaginal pH to rise, de-repressing the yeasts which then begin to over-grow, causing symptoms of "thrush" in the process. 

Chris
Title: What happens to beneficial bacteria when we take antibiotics?
Post by: Madidus_Scientia on 24/10/2009 12:36:21
Nasty. So are women prescribed other drugs to take in unison with the anti-biotics to prevent the thrush?