Tummy Repair After Antibiotics - A 5 Part Protocol
October 21, 2018
A few years ago a girlfriend of mine was explaining how her 3 year old son was prescribed antibiotics for a cut on his foot (preemptively, at that point no sign of infection). And I remember her looking at me apologetically and saying ‘sorry Heather, I know your against them.’ I was actually shocked at her comment as I had never told her or anyone else for that matter that I was ‘against antibiotics’. It was an assumption she made and I think many people make about me.
And I can see how this assumption could be made; I have a diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition specializing in deep digestive healing and am pretty passionate about getting to the true root of digestive issues rather than just managing the symptoms. I also have seen more clients than I can count with IBS like symptoms due to antibiotic use like excess gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, chronic infections, etc.
But my brain actually doesn’t work well in ‘black and white’ scenarios like this, I prefer to see the world in beautiful shades of gray. So the statement, ‘I am against antibiotics’ is therefore completely untrue. My truth is that antibiotics have saved lives and will continue to save lives but the science does show they are vastly overused; 1 in 10 doctors will unnecessarily write a prescription for antibiotics even though they know it is not needed because they feel the patient wants it.
The other truth is that they can cause many potential side effects such as;
Long term digestive upset like vomiting, nausea, stomach pain
Higher risk of being exposed to bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics (this risk is life threatening)
Allergies and asthma in children
Diarrhea leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance
Psychotic episodes, hallucinations, depression and brain fog
Even though we have learned so much on the harmful side effects of antibiotics, in 2018 antibiotics still hit the sales mark of $40 Billion globally, making it the most commonly prescribed drug class in the world.
What do Antibiotics do to the body?
Antibiotics kill off pathogenic bacteria causing sickness in the body (which is great!), however; they also kill off our amazing health promoting bacteria (most of which is in the gut). Imbalance of gut microbes has been linked to many health issues like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), IBD (irritable bowel diseases), food sensitivities, chronic infections (cold, flu, yeast) and even mental imbalances like depression and anxiety.
So you can see how important it is to replenish our gut microbes after antibiotic use and the potential long term health impacts if we don’t.
Gut Repair during & after antibiotics
1. Keep your diet clean and avoid your known gut triggers/food sensitivities: This decreases inflammation in the digestive tract which increases the likelihood that beneficial microbes will colonize rather than just pass right on through. Unsure of your gut triggers/food sensitivities, make sure to check out the Calm Your Gut Program!
2. Avoid refined sugar – Think white sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, cane sugar, etc. which feeds the bad bugs allowing them thrive, prosper and produce a lot of gas. When your belly is full of pathogenic microbes the good guys can’t set up shop!
3. Increase fibre – Fibre is what feeds the probiotics, so ensure you are getting lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, etc.
4. Bone broths, soups and stews – These foods heal and nourish the gut lining making a nice home for the good bugs. Need some good recipes? Make sure to check out my 3 Day Meal Plan for Gut Repair!
5. Probiotics and fermented foods – A good quality probiotic is great to take during your antibiotic regiment (just do so at a different time of day) and for at least 3 months after. That’s right 3 months! Also, do not forget about glorious fermented foods (aka: nature’s probiotic) like sauerkraut, miso, kimchi and lacto fermented veggies. These ideally should be a part of your regular diet even long after the antibiotics to maintain a happy healthy microbiome.