A Perfect Storm.. Chronic Prostatitis, an Endless Torrent of Antibiotics & .. Depression:
Setting the Scene..
1/ A genitourinary infection otherwise known as UTI, STD, sometimes diagnosed as IC, often called "Nothing", "It's all in your head" because of inadequate testing, (very often guesswork drugs are used).. AND.. you've got a urogenital infection that you may never see the end of..
2/ Course after course of antibiotics are tried, at first symptoms disappear for a while, then predictably, symptoms slowly come back for good.. and very subtly other even more scary things start to happen; your mood changes slowly to anger and sadness, your job becomes a weight around your neck. Food, drink and relationships become.. just plain unenjoyable, you eat and drink more, adding to the pain and misery you are feeling.
It's a perfect storm.. underneath all that trauma, something is changing, the endless courses of antibiotics are killing off the thousands of bacterial strains (primarily in the gut) which are essential to our health.
The destruction of our essential "microbiome" has started..
When I first got a genitourinary infection, I went through the disaster I've related elsewhere on this site; a lazy Doctor, a refusal to culture, a "guesswork" script (Rx) which, as later proved, was useless for the particular bacteria. My usual Doctor came back from holiday, tried to pick up the pieces, but it was all too late.
From that day on, for the next 12 months there was an endless stream of antibiotics, each course failing, a return of a serious infection, then on to another drug. This continued month after month until all the most common antibiotics were used.. and all failed.
I never had been an "emotional" person, not prone to periods of anger or sadness, other than normal reactions to the events of life. Then one day, I woke up and could only talk at a whisper, I had 5 pounds of lead on my chest; I was struck down with depression. It came totally out of the blue, no work/career problems, no relationship problems.. nothing!.. except 12 months of relentless pain.. and antibiotics.. truckloads of them.
Ok, so what did I do.. I couldn't give up the antibiotics, I managed to settle on a daily antibiotic dose that partially worked and I took a year off to travel the world, go to places I'd never seen at a very slow pace. Within 3 months, 90% of the depression passed and I was left wondering what had happened.
The total truth is I never gave antibiotics a thought until much later.. and then ~12 months ago, research results started pouring in about the gut/microbiome > brain link. Not just speculation but proven research in animals brought through to humans. By now, this was no surprise to me, apart from the realization that even now, the Doctors throwing guesswork scripts for antibiotics at bewildered patients didn't have much of a clue about the longterm effects of their actions; well we know they're not even that longterm.
The takeaway is that there's a lot you can do to help the gut and immune system even while taking antibiotics, have a read below, and, especially peruse the research links at the bottom. The research conclusions are sobering, but like many things (alcohol, smoking, fast food), it's not rocket science. It makes perfect sense.
This "microbiome", or microbiota, is the bacterial ecosystem in our bodies, most of it in our gut. This intestinal community is made up of trillions of microorganisms, most of which are bacterial. When your family Doctor or Specialist prescribes yet one more course of antibiotics (very often with no lab.-work, instead, just guesswork, they are almost invariably unlikely to be aware that bacteria in the gut are constantly communicating with neurons in the brain, and that this formidable attack on them puts your mental health in danger as well as exposing you to a multitude of medical conditions.
Recently much more has been uncovered about how bacterial species residing within the mucus layer of the colon have the ability to directly communicate with host cells in the immune system.
The antibiotic assaults not only kill off a multitude of essential bacteria, but by compromising the immune system it starts to let pathogens become established that the body would normally be resistant to.
This can trigger both local and systemic inflammation.
Inflammation can include skin reactions, indigestion, mood-related problems, joint pain and fatigue.
After many many antibiotic courses for Chronic Prostatitis, there is a high risk of the (sudden) advent of Depression
Our brains contain billions of neurons, and these have a close working relationship with the trillions of “good” and “bad’ bacteria in the gut. Bacteria seem to be instrumental in how our brain develops, how we behave, our capabilities of handling stress and how we respond to treatment for mood-related issues like depression and anxiety.
Obesity & Weight Gain
What does gut bacteria have to do with obesity? The latest research suggests overeating and obesity might be tied to reductions in certain beneficial bacteria that populate a healthy microbiome. The gut microbiota can also contributes to retention of fat mass.
But what do our gut bacteria do exactly, and how? Roles of gut bacteria include:
- Managing our appetite and body weight
- Helping to produce hormones, like serotonin, for example
- Aiding in the extraction of energy (calories) and nutrients, including minerals, amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants
- Digesting fiber which helps form stool
- Controlling our moods, motivation and cognitive health
- Prevent catching colds and viruses
- Help repair damaged tissues/injuries
Here are some steps you can take now to improve gut bacteria during and after antibiotic courses:
- Eat plenty of fiber
- Probiotic food such as yogurt, fermented greens, kefir, kombucha. Consider taking a quality probiotic supplement.
- Avoid things which can make poor gut health worse like dairy, shellfish, soy, peanuts, gluten products, processed food, fried food and added sugar.
- Exercise and manage stress to keep inflammation levels low
- Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake to moderate levels.
- Avoid antibiotics, where necessary, ensure they are targeted as a result of laboratory tests - DO NOT take guesswork antibiotics!
- Vary your protein intake. In addition to meat, cheese and eggs, diversify into soaked beans, seeds, legumes and nuts
Understanding the "Microbiome" and preserving/fixing it after partial destruction; antibiotics:
The Human Microbiome: A True Story about You and Trillions of Your Closest (Microscopic) Friends
Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis
The gut microbiota and psychiatric illness
Gut Bacteria Protect Your Mental Health. Learn How to Protect Your Microbiome
Mental Health May Depend on Creatures in the Gut
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