A.Sports Injuries Expert
Firstly, it's important to know exactly what type of antibiotic (Ab) you're taking. Different classes of Abs have different side effects, so whenever you're put on a course, please ask your medical practitioner for the potential side-effect profile. Below are several of the most important considerations with regards to Ab use and exercise.
Tendon injury: There is a risk of tendon injury/rupture with the use of the Ab class called fluoroquinolones (e.g. ciprofloxacin, Levofloxcin). This class has been known to cause tendon injuries, tendinopathy, and even rupture, most commonly in the Achilles tendon. Thus, it's advised to use an alternate Ab if training or competing.
Ab related diarrhoea: broad spectrum and long term Ab use can destroy your normal gut flora, and thus predispose you to diarrhoea. This is obviously not beneficial to performance. Shorter courses, narrower spectrum, and the use of concomitant probiotics can help to limit the risk.
Cardiac arrhythmias: some Abs have been known to induce abnormal heart beat rhythms or electrical activity. Also, athletes with underlying cardiac anomalies may be predisposed to a higher risk of condition exacerbation if training on Abs. Again, please check the potential side effect profile of the Abs with your doctor.
Reduced performance: some athletes complain of a 'leaden' or fatigued feeling when exercising on Abs. It is difficult to differentiate whether the underlying illness or the Ab is the cause. Knowledge is power, know your side effect profile.
In general, if you're on Abs and continuing to train, rather back off on intensity and duration. Your body will thank you for it, and you put yourself at a lot less risk of any potential side effects. Remember, always consult your practitioner before training on Abs.
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