How Antibiotics Cause Diarrhea + How to Stop It and Improve Digestion
5 minute read
Antibiotics are great for fighting and stopping bacterial infections. However, while they are beneficial to your health in many ways, antibiotics can have some drawbacks too.
Not only do antibiotics kill your beneficial gut bacteria along with the bad ones, but they are also commonly known to cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Since a course of antibiotics may be necessary, it is good to know that there are things you can do to prevent the unpleasant side effect of diarrhea.
The Good and Bad of Antibiotics
When antibiotics eliminate the good bacteria as well as the bad, the loss causes a disruption to the balance in your gut, which can lead to inflammation and digestive troubles. The most common of these troubles is diarrhea.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics are the ones most likely to cause you diarrhea. This side effect is often mild and only temporary, stopping once the antibiotics are finished.
However, in some cases, antibiotic-associated diarrhea lingers. This is typically seen in individuals with weakened immune systems or those living in nursing homes. In these cases, a more serious infection can result in painful conditions, like colitis and toxic megacolon.
If you notice that antibiotics are causing diarrhea, you can speak with your doctor. It may be possible to change the dosage or switch to another antibiotic. Not every antibiotic cause this side effect in every person, so there may be an alternative that treats your infection without diarrhea.
In addition to this, you can also avoid certain foods that are known to trigger diarrhea:
♦ Fatty foods
♦ Spicy foods
♦ Dairy products
♦ High-fiber foods like whole grains
Beyond that, you can also add a probiotic to your daily routine. Probiotics help to support the natural bacterial community living in your gut. These bacteria help promote digestion but also work to support your immune system.
Because antibiotics can kill these beneficial bacteria along with the ones causing your infection, it is important to replace them and restore balance and health.
Probiotics to the Rescue
Probiotics help to maintain balance in your gut microbiome despite the presence and activities of antibiotics. They also help to boost your immune system so it can more effectively fight the infection. By ensuring there is no disruption to the guy colonies, probiotics also prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. You can get these benefits from a high quality, clinically proven probiotic or through probiotics that are found naturally in certain foods.
♦ Yogurt: One of the best food sources for probiotics is yogurt, as it contains fermented milk produced by lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria have been proven to improve digestive health and functions. Yogurt is also great for those with lactose intolerance because these bacteria turn some of the lactose into lactic acid, making it easier to digest.
♦ Kimchi and sauerkraut: These are fermented cabbage dishes that also contain the probiotic Lactobacillus, which is another beneficial lactic acid bacterium. This bacteria works to reduce inflammation in the gut, which is known to trigger episodes of diarrhea.
♦ Kombucha: This is a fermented green or black tea drink popular in Asian cultures. Regularly drinking kombucha has been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut as well as ease digestive troubles, such as diarrhea.
♦ Miso: This fermented soybean seasoning is often added to soups and broth. Beneficial bacterial strains used in the fermenting process will improve digestion and can help support the natural bacterial community in your gut.
♦ Kefir: This is a fermented milk drink that is loaded with probiotics. Kefir is not like other grains, as it is full of lactic acid and beneficial yeasts. It has been clinically proven to contain more probiotics and is more effective at promoting digestive health.
Adding a probiotic supplement to your diet will benefit overall gut health. You don’t need to take these just for the purpose of reducing antibiotic side effects. Probiotics help support gut health and allow beneficial bacteria to flourish, so that digestion, immunity, and mental health all benefit.
It is important to remember that any probiotics should be taken a few hours before or after the antibiotic medication. This allows for separate absorption of the two and prevents the antibiotics from immediately targeting and killing the probiotics. This also means that the antibiotics can focus on the harmful bacteria they are supposed to kill.
The Bottom Line
The bacteria living in your gut help to maintain a delicate balance and a healthy gut environment. This ensures that digestion is efficient, nutrient absorption is optimal, and your gastrointestinal system stays healthy.
Probiotics can be taken to promote overall health as well as alongside antibiotics to prevent diarrhea. Whatever the reason, probiotics are the best way to ensure your gut stays balanced and you stay healthy.