Prompt: Describe your personal philosophy about how and when you have taken, or would take, antibiotics. What experiences or prior knowledge do you have that shaped that personal philosophy?
I have taken antibiotics a handful of times for minor surgery precautions (wisdom teeth), staph infections of the skin, as a treatment for acne and most recently, for rosacea, facial redness caused by inflammation.
I believe that there is a time and place for antibiotics. In the case of surgeries, I think it is a necessary precaution. Infections in your mouth or near organs can be life-threatening. If it was recommended that I take antibiotics prior to, or after, a surgical procedure, I would certainly do it.
For the staph infections, topical agents such as prescription Mupirocin ointment can be used as a primary method of treating the staph (as long as it hasn’t spread or become too aggravated). This would be a way to avoid oral antibiotics with a good cure rate. I would make the change from oral to topical antibiotics to preserve my gut flora in the future.
As a teenager, acne is often treated primarily with Doxycycline 100-200mg daily. I took Doxy for several months about 10 years ago and it certainly helped to clear my skin. This is not something I would ever consider doing again, and if I had the choice to go back and avoid the Doxy, I certainly would. Because this was not crucial to my health and they are other treatment options available, I don’t think taking antibiotics for acne is a great option.
Finally, low-dose, long-term antibiotics for skin conditions such as rosacea is actually a very common treatment. For this, it’s usually a 40mg daily dose of Doxycycline that you basically take….forever. A dermatologist will tell you that taking 40mg is not an antibacterial dose, it is only an anti-inflammatory one. Even so, I don’t think I would ever take a chronic antibiotic knowing what I know now about how my gut microbiome is impacted by their use.