Why Taking Antibiotics Can Make You Tired

Chances are that if you're taking antibiotics, then you're fighting off one or more bacterial infections that have taken up an unwelcome residence in your body. Often, it can be hard to determine if the heavy fatigue you are suddenly feeling is a side effect from the infection itself, or if it can possibly be blamed on the antibiotics.

Most of us are familiar with the uncomfortable digestive side effects that can occur when taking antibiotics (Hello, diarrhea!). Usually our stomachs don't feel quite right for a few days after other symptoms have disappeared. As it turns out, this could also be the source of your debilitating lethargy. As stated by Aging Care, prescribed medications, like antibiotics, not only kill off infection-causing bacteria, but they also kill off the good bacteria our bodies need. This can lead to less nutrient absorption, which in turn, can leave you dehydrated and fatigued. Additionally, according to experts at Healthline, there are certain prescription medications that are proven to make you feel more tired than usual. Noted examples include amoxicillin, azithromycin, and ciprofloxacin. Brands of amoxicillin include Amoxil and Moxatag, while Z-Pak, Zithromax, and Zmax are azithromycin brands. Cipro and Proquin are common brands of ciprofloxacin.

Do some research before starting a new medication

However, antibiotics aren't the only medications that can make us tired. Dr. Armon B. Neel Jr., author of AARP's Ask the Pharmacist feature, claims that diuretics, anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, and antidepressants can all contribute to our state of drowsiness (via How Stuff Works).

While there's no way of knowing how your body will react to a new antibiotic or any of the other types of listed medications, Healthline recommends doing a little research before use. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects and be sure to follow all labeled instructions. Until you know how a new medicine will affect you, avoid alcohol or any activities, such as driving, that require you to be particularly alert.

Antibiotics may be a great way to kill off a bacterial infection, but be sure to get enough rest. In doing so, you, your stomach, and your energy levels will be feeling back to normal soon!

How to combat fatigue from taking antibiotics

While we may not be able to completely override the tiring side effects of antibiotics, experts suggest there are ways in which we can boost our energy. As per HealthyBeat, taking a quick, mid-afternoon nap may be just what you need to recharge. However, quick is the keyword here, as naps over 25 minutes can leave us feeling even more tired than we were before.

Alternatively, certain breathing techniques may help increase focus when you feel fatigue setting in. HealthyBeat suggests inhaling deeply into your diaphragm and exhaling through pursed lips anywhere from three to ten times. Doing so can increase blood oxygen levels and leave us feeling more alert.

In addition, try snacking on foods throughout the day that are rich in protein, such as chicken or turkey, to help keep your energy flowing. Are fruits and veggies more to your liking? Sweet potatoes, bananas, kale, and berries are also nutritious yet filling options, adds HealthyBeat. 

Lastly, while exercise can also be effective in boosting energy and attention, few of us feel like going for a run when fighting off a bacterial infection. Thankfully, research has shown that even just ten minutes of exercise is beneficial! However, be sure to consult with your doctor before engaging in exercise while on antibiotics, as rest is important when recovering from an infection (via SingleCare).