Diarrhoea caused by taking antibiotics… a common complaint
Before antibiotics were discovered in the 1900s, bacterial infections were a feared enemy of modern society. Antibiotics changed everything – saving millions of lives and offering an effective tool to battle deadly infections. Fast forward to now and antibiotics, while still incredibly useful, are sadly claiming the lives of our beneficial gut bacteria, with diarrhoea caused by taking antibiotics now something patients often experience.
Life Before Antibiotics
Before antibiotics were discovered in the 1900s, bacterial infections were a feared enemy of modern society. Antibiotics changed everything – saving millions of lives and offering an effective tool to battle deadly infections. Fast forward to now, and antibiotics, while still incredibly useful, are sadly claiming the lives of our beneficial gut bacteria, which has been linked to uncomfortable side effects such as antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD).
Of course, losing a bit of gut bacteria to save you from a nasty infection is a no-brainer. However, the loss of beneficial bacteria from multiple courses of antibiotics can cost you so much more over a lifetime. In fact, losses of good bacteria have been linked to a greater risk of chronic diseases, such as digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease and even mental health symptoms. This is why protecting your gut bacteria is a top priority for good health.
The most important thing when taking antibiotics is managing loss of good bacteria during and after every treatment. This means having strategies to help protect your inner health. This comes down to two things: protecting your bacteria when you need to take antibiotics, and, reducing your need for antibiotics.
Probiotic Protection to Reduce Diarrhoea
A combination of specific probiotic strains can reduce Antibiotic Associated Diarrhoea (AAD) while also helping recover your gut microbiome after antibiotics. Good quality probiotics assist in rebuilding beneficial gut flora (bacteria).
It’s important to note that antibiotics can affect your gut bacteria for up to two weeks after you stop taking them. Ensuring you take your probiotic from the start of your antibiotic course until a minimum of two weeks after you finish will give your gut bugs the support they need.
Support Your Immune System to Reduce Your Need for Antibiotics
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised us to limit the use of antibiotics to the most essential situations. This is because using them too frequently or inappropriately can help infectious bacteria develop resistance to their antibacterial mechanisms.
Bolstering your immunity against infection is the smartest way to reduce your need for antibiotics and curb your risk of related side effects. Here are my best tips on how to do this:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water;
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue (or into your elbow if you don’t have tissues).
- Try to avoid touching your face, and wash your hands before and after if you do;
- Improve your health with nutrition, better sleep and stress management to avoid getting sick in the first place.
Let Your Bugs Bounce Back!
Thanks to modern medicine, we’ve been afforded the freedom to thrive without bacterial infections cutting our lives short. However, with this comes the responsibility of ensuring that antibiotic therapy is used wisely, by being mindful and modest in how often we use antibiotics.
When you do need them, it is important to support your gut bacteria with probiotics in order to prevent side effects such as Antibiotic Associated Diarrhoea (AAD).
What this Means To You
Antibiotics have given us enormous health benefits. Good quality specific strains are needed to protect your digestive system and prevent secondary complications.