Can I drink alcohol while taking antibiotics?
I´ll start by answering this question directly. You can because you might do it, but you risk defeating the desired result of taking antibiotics if you do.
There are other reasons this combination could be harmful, but the reason that is given to patients most often by their physicians is that alcohol reduces the effectiveness of the antibiotic medication. That may be all you need to know to make a wise choice.
This does not mean that consuming some alcohol while using antibiotics will always result in treatment failure, but it certainly works against the desired goal.
Some other medicines, may contain small amounts of alcohol and this may be trivial and not a problem. Be mindful that each situation is unique so if worried, contact a nurse or physician.
Don´t betray your efforts to recover from illness by being careless.
When antibiotics are necessary, consider that it may be your one chance to overcome a bacterial infection. You do not want to undergo a repeated course of antibiotic treatment but that may be required if a single treatment fails.
Success is not a guarantee. Neither is tomorrow. We might assume that something we use to helps us overcome illness is in itself harmless. Not so. These drugs destroy more than harmful bacteria. They can suppress digestive functioning because they wipe out important bacteria that are part of your own ecosystem, including those that helps to break down the food you eat. This destruction may reduce your ability to access nutrients obtained from food until the intestinal flora recovers. This can take many days or weeks after treatment has ended. (consuming yogurt with active cultures after antibiotic treatment can speed this recovery)
Make a single course of antibiotics do the most good with the least harm, so contribute your cooperation and support.
Positive changes in how antibiotic treatments are prescribed:
Antibiotics are no longer considered a first line of defense because over reliance on these drugs has resulted in higher incidence of treatment resistant bacteria. ¨Super bugs¨ as they are sometimes called.. are not something you want to contend with. It is a battle that you may lose, so we are to take responsibility for supporting our body to allow natural recovery to occur before turning to drastic measures, which describes most conventional medical treatments.
More on the impacts of alcohol on immunity and blood components:
It is reasonable to make use of what you may have already heard about alcohol consumption; that alcohol suppresses immune function temporarily (as does high or drastically increased consumption of sugar), ¨thins the blood¨ which may not be ideal if there is any kind of wound healing under way. It may help to know that many drugs, alcohol, aspirin, some herbal medicines, supplements like fish oil and ibuprofen included, will destroy or otherwise reduce circulation of blood platelets (thus ¨thinning¨ the blood). Depending on a person's health profile, this may not be desired. Platelets perform other functions besides clotting / scabbing such as the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Alcohol is not an ¨everyday food¨. It is a drug by definition and a burden for the liver to process. This essential organ has to process all of the strong pills and potions that are consumed, often carelessly and out of habit.
Avoiding alcohol during treatment with antibiotics should be a ¨no-brainer¨. Just don´t do it. Whether or not you seek help from any kind of specialist, always take an active and decisive role in your health because the responsibility and power to do so- is yours.
Brief comment on self medicating….
If abstaining from alcohol has been a problem, even when you know it is sabotaging self care, there may be one or more underlying problems that need some self love. Continued chronic alcohol use alongside struggle and feelings of guilt is not a sustainable way to live. There are many ways to start overcoming this situation, alternative remedies for anxiety and depression are not the least of them. Look beyond what is on display and within easiest reach. Research potential solutions and kinds of support, have some faith and prepare to be amazed at what you can achieve with tools you didn't know existed and problem solving ability that you you didn´t know you had.