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Every Year is a Challenge, the Key is Having Faith in Recovery: Antibiotics Are Dangerous

I’m not a spring chicken any more, so I am coming to expect aging issues. Ah, to be young again, because no matter the attitude, the body just doesn’t perform as well.

This post is mostly about antibiotics: back in 2014 I sustained nerve damage from the antibiotic Metronidazole, taking nearly two years to fully recover (the worst symptoms were gone within 4 months), making me very leery of all antibiotics. But every few years, something pops up.

Beating a urinary tract infection

This is a postscript to what follows below: after the Eastern Sierra double century, I had burning while urinating two days later. I did NOT want to take antibiotics yet again.

While I obtained more Cipro as a precaution (being in a remote area), I did not take it, deciding instead to force a lot of extra fluid (with electrolytes) through my system, the idea being that steady flow of urine might help flush out kidneys an urinary tract.

I did so for a week, taking in about an up to an extra gallon of fluid each day (with electrolytes). The discomfort was mostly gone after 12 hours and gone with only mild sense of it for a few days, then it disappeared and did not return, and has not 3 weeks later. Hooray!

Antibiotics for UTI and Prostatitis

In March after the Solvang Double Century where my body worked supremely well, I came down with a urinary tract infection (UTI) a week later. I had not had such an infection since 2012. It only got worse, so I took the antibiotic nitrofurantoin (Macrobid). It was nasty stuff doing a job on my insides and even worse when done. It the UTI, but unfortunately it seems that prostatitis was probably the root cause/source of the infection, and nitrofurantoin does not get into the tissues and thus won’t cure prostatitis.

About two weeks after finishing the Nitrofurantoin, I was getting my strength back and resuming training, when prostatitis struck, which was uncomfortable and also made cycling impossible. It held steady at a tolerable level of discomfort but it was not improving, so I had to take a 10 day course of ciprofloxacin (Cipro), which surprisingly was much less troublesome than Nitrofuran tin.

By the time I was done with the Cipro, I was severely weakened, not just from losing fitness, but by damaging effects to body and brain. Even baseline rides were tiring. Worse, one or both of those antibiotics brought back certain post-concussion symptoms, which in terms of a self employment situation is a very serious side problem. I would say that more than half the days of the week, my productivity was cut in half or worse—unable to focus or concentrate, very easily distracted, etc.

I was weakened enough that I skipped three key double centuries, and had my doubts about doing one, but I did complete the Eastern Sierra Double by keeping cadence higher and power lower (I was also concerned about tendon rupture, a black box warning for Cipro, so I had kept training very aerobic). For the first 80 miles, my legs muscles and tendons were right as drums, a daily condition since the antibiotics (another cyclist told me of also experiencing the same tightness following antibiotic use).

Starting out dead last, I finished 5th and 90 minutes slower than 2018, though conditions this year were ideal compared to last year’s heat , so I deem that 2 hours slower. But I got it done, which restored some confidence. Setbacks happen, and if I cannot bounce back, I can at least roll over and stand up!

Summarizing antibiotics

  • Maintain a strong aversion antibiotics; the cure can be worse than the disease.
  • Antibiotics often have all sorts of side affects, including on body and brain.
  • The gut is a second brain; since antibiotics kill the gut microbiome (and probably skin and other microbiomes in some cases), antibiotics in effect cause a sort of mild brain damage from which you can recover “fully” but the microbiome in the gut and body will NEVER be the same again.

IMO, antibiotics are far more dangerous than a similar course of narcotics or benzodiazepines! Because antibiotics for just 10-14 days can inflict changes from which there is no true recovery to prior condition.

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