My husband has Crohn’s Disease, a chronic autoimmune disorder, and he just finished a round of antibiotics for a sinus infection.
Yes, we fought it naturally as long as he could stand it, but after five days knocked flat, he had to cry “uncle” and take the big guns.
We actually think he may have had walking pneumonia instead, the treatment for which would be the same – IF it was a bacterial pneumonia and not viral. I have my doubts, sadly.
Poor Gut Flora
I know that at this point, dear husband’s intestinal flora – the healthy bacteria that give him the best chance of digesting well – are all tossed about like a city after “shock and awe” attacks.
What do we do to make sure that we counteract the long-term effects of antibiotics?
It was very timely that a reader on Twitter sent me a link to this article, which captured my attention from the first paragraph, and I sat, riveted, jaw on the keyboard, reading and taking notes (instead of writing Better Than a Box like I was supposed to).
Here’s a little synopsis for you. Among other fascinating points, it shows that:
- Antibiotics were hailed as wonderful because they killed infections without harming the person.
- What doctors didn’t understand at the time was the symbiosis between the human person and our unique microbiome, the community of beneficial bacteria that lives in and on our bodies.
- The antibiotics cannot differentiate between harmful and helpful bacteria.
- Scientists are just barely beginning to study the effect of antibiotics on the human microbiome, but early results are showing that the effect is intense – and lasting.
- It’s possible that a round of antibiotics can permanently change the makeup of one’s personal beneficial bacteria.
- After taking antibiotics, it is likely much easier for new pathogens (harmful bacteria and others) to take root – which is probably why in our family, we experienced a nasty ear infection as soon as antibiotics stopped for strep in my son.
- “Children who took antibiotics were at greater risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease later in life. The more antibiotics they took, the greater the risk.” (Similar for asthma)
- “It’s even possible that long-term antibiotic use may influence how people put on fat.”
- But what to do? This author doesn’t advocate giving up on antibiotics entirely, but he has a few key recommendations:
- Try to avoid prescribing (for doctors) or using (for patients) antibiotics when it’s possible that the infection is viral.
- Fight bacteria with bacteria (it’s more specific to the disease instead of like swallowing a grenade, the catchy title of the piece). This was a new idea for me – you’ll have to just read the article for more info.
Make Them Useful
Treating antibiotics with the utmost respect and figuring out how to use them less often will also allow us to retain the usefulness of the antibiotics themselves. The author points out that penicillin, the first “miraculous” antibiotic weapon, has been rendered practically useless because bacteria have evolved to resist it. (This, might I add, is why we do not use antibacterial soap in our home, and also why we strive to choose meat from animals that have not been treated with antibiotics – and not just in the “finishing period,” but the whole time.)
Should my husband have eaten less (zero) sugar and no alcohol for the duration of the antibiotics and at least two weeks (or more) afterward? Probably.
Notice the timing though – Christmas doesn’t make that easy.
RELATED: At Home Treatment for Cellulitis & After Antibiotics with expert Dr. Ana-Marie Temple
Our plan of attack at this point is to take a heavy-duty probiotic, one that has had incredible success on two different issues for the adults in our family, consistently, daily, for at least two months.
I’m wondering if we should also have him take some baths with Redmond Clay.
What do you do after a round of antibiotics – or how do you try to avoid them in the first place?
Some Quality ProbioticsSome of these I’ve used, some I’m planning to use, and some have been recommended by friends and professionals alike. It’s good to remember a few things about probiotics: 1. People should get different colonies of probiotics, so switching brands/strains every so often (6 weeks?) is good practice. 2. What works great for one person’s needs doesn’t always work for another. I’ve personally tried:
- Just Thrive Probiotics – this one can be taken during antibiotics and not be rendered ineffective, which almost all other probiotics are! It’s the top-recommended probiotic overall by Paleo Mom Sarah Ballantyne. 😮 (Be sure to use the code Katie15 for 15% off; also found on Amazon and from Perfect Supplements where you can use the coupon KS10 for 10% off!)
- Seed Daily Synbiotic – the new player in the field but recommended by superstars like Chris Kresser for its unique probiotic/prebiotic synergy. Here’s my full review including a number of surprises for my thinking and a 15% off code!
- Note: If you’re struggling with digestion, especially constipation, or you feel like you really need to populate your gut with healthy probiotics, I would recommend Saccharomyces Boulardii in addition to any other you choose (except any above which include this strain). Saccharomyces Boulardii is research-proven to get through the digestive tract without being killed, which is rare.
- Balance One probiotics with a unique time-release formula (use the code KITCHENS15 at either Balance One’s site or even Amazon to save 15% either place! Wow! Use the code at checkout on Amazon btw.)
For Little Ones (we use all of these):
- Mary Ruth’s liquid probiotic is a liquid probiotic that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and tastes like…nothing! It’s my new favorite for administering to kids! (Use code KCRF15 for 15% off!)
- WellBelly by WellFuture (9 strains of probiotics in apple and banana carrier – it’s a powder)
- Buddies in my Belly probiotic powder (2 strains of probiotics + potato starch carrier and prebiotics) or chewable tablets
- Biokult – highly recommended by many, including the GAPS diet
- Klaire Labs Pro-biotic complex V-caps or Ther-Biotic Complete (25 billion CFU)
- Probiophage DF (7 dairy-free strains)
- Transformation Enzymes (5 billion CFUs that may get through digestive tract…)
- Primal Blueprint (6 strains, 10 billion CFUs)
- Pharmax high potency (4 strains + FOS) or long-term HLC maintenance (2 strains)
- Pro-Bio from Enzymedica (8 strains)
- Syntol from Arthur Andrew Medical (13.6 billion CFUs with prebiotic, spore germinating blend, yeast cleanse)
60 thoughts on “How To Help Your Gut Recover Naturally After Antibiotics”
My 3 y/o has had a cough for a little more than a month. I’d done about everything for it including homemade cough syrup, probiotics, chicken stock, reducing sugar, increasing vitamin C and vitamin D. Anyway, after it never got any better, I took him to to dr. who thought it was a sinus infection and prescribed amox. I increased the probiotics and started the amox. The first day he got a temp of 102.8 and vomiting. He only vomited the one time and temp came and went for a few days. Runny nose, worse cough, and increased tiredness as well. No improvement after 5 days so dr. thinks it is something else.
Ugh! It makes me feel sick. This was his first time ever on an antibiotic and he is much worse! He now has a rash on his trunk from the amox. This was a horrible first experience.
Ugh, Shannon, I’m so sorry – I know exactly how you feel, having put my son on antibiotics at least once without needing to. 🙁
At least you know about probiotics and can keep up with them after the abx are over! I hope he’s feeling much, much better now (and his momma too).
Thank you so much for putting this post on facebook today. I have recently been put on an antibiotic for a horrible eye infection. It is nearly the worse pain I have felt and I tried as long as I could to not go to the doctor but once I finally did I was grateful this would had been a horrible and probably fatal (to my eyesight) journey if I hadn’t. I have felt horrible since on the antibiotic (on my third full do so far) and dread what its going to be like once I have to top off the bottle of pills. Your post was very helpful so thank you!!
Wow thanks so much for this article!
2 years ago, I somehow got e. coli O157:H7, the nasty e. coli. I was in the hospital for a month! It took them a while to figure out what I had, so they threw me on a huge dose of antibiotics. That actually tends to make e. coli worse and I then developed hemolytic uremic syndrome after that. It was a nightmare! I have had terrible bouts stomach issues ever since. The Dr. told me it’s IBS, but I want more answers!
I’m not sure if it was the antibiotics, e. coli, or what that messed up my gut more, but I have yet to find an answer on how to fix it. I’ve been on probiotics and included fermented foods in my diet ever since, but with no avail. Anyone have any thoughts? Maybe I need to try different probiotics?
I got IBS suddenly 8 years ago and had it for 3 years. I think the worst part about it was not knowing if my stomach would ever be normal again. It is normal now, so hopefully that will happen for you as well. There are 2 (groups of) things that I did. I don’t know if they both worked or just one did the job, but I was well very shortly after. I went to the website www.helpforibs.com and got peppermint tablets, peppermint tea and Heather’s Tummy Fiber. The tea is organic and cheap & I still order it just because it’s good. The other thing I did was go to a really good chiropractor- Dr. Winder in Slippery Rock, PA. His website is www.healthfix.com. He can probably recommend another chiropractor in your area who uses the same technique. I wouldn’t just go to anyone, since there are so many varied techniques in Chiropractors.
I’m so sorry I’m so late in catching your comment; I got totally buried in the release of my latest ebook.
Obviously I’m not a doctor and can’t give medical advice, but I can share what I’ve seen other friends and readers have success with:
1. Probiotics vary widely, so that’s not a bad idea to switch them up.
2. Many people with digestive distress of all kinds find relief with the GAPS diet or similar. It’s not easy, but it is often worth it. More here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/10/27/the-comparison-the-specific-carbohydrate-diet-scd-gaps-diet-gut-psychology-syndrome-and-the-makers-diet/
I hope you find the answer that is right for YOU somewhere, and soon! 🙂 Katie
I’m really upset about all the antibiotics that my kids have been on. I never wanted them to be on so many. I’m just now starting to see the damage that they can do- in articles online and their own reactions to them. My mother-in-law is on antibiotics more than she in not on them. Seriously- she goes from one round to another constantly. And every time my kids get sick, my father-in-law wants to prescribe more antibiotics. This is not how I wanted to raise my kids! He also comes over to our house straight from the hospital with his stethoscope still on! I think that is where they are picking up the sicknesses. I’m so upset about this- I have to put my foot down and regain my kids’ health! I constantly clean, steam mop, wash towels and sheets in hot water. I feel so bad for my kids and for the fact that I haven’t been able to get this under control. We have cancelled and missed so many things and they just are sick so often!
So frustrating, Elizabeth, I’m so sorry. 🙁 Keep up the doing your best part and work to rebuild their systems.
Thank you, Katie. So far, so good- they’ve been well for a week. I’ve been giving them extra vit d and c and giving them Eco-Drink (a vitamin drink). Also, just for now, keeping them away from extra germy people coming straight from the hospital! 🙂
I love your posts. Thank you.
Every single time I am prescribed antibiotics I buy a big fat bottle of probiotics (the kind my buddy with crohns disease buys) because I get yeast infections like none other from antibiotics.
My husband is dealing with an infected toe/toenail, caused by a cut right on the side of the toe near the nailbed. He’s been to the dr twice now and been prescribed 2 rounds of antibiotics, neither of which seemed to do anything. Maybe just a slight improvement now that he’s finished round 2? Anyway, he’s still seeing a lot of swelling and oozy discharge (gross!). He plans to call the dr tomorrow to see if he can just get the thing lanced open and cleaned out.
All that to say, I’m not sure what to do to get his gut back together like it should be. Suggestions?
I’ve got a probiotic supplement (pill form) and will pick up some yogurt and kefir today. Any other frugal advice you’ve got would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Yikes, sounds yucky! I’m amazed that a skin infection wouldn’t at least start with just a topical abx, but I’m no doctor. Bummer for your husband to have to go through 2 rounds! Keeping clear of sugars and white flours will help the good guys thrive instead of the bad guys as his gut repopulates. Good luck! 🙂 Katie
If there is discharge, maybe you could get some hydrogen peroxide (available in chemists) into the nail. Soaking in salt water may also help.
I had nearly a full year on antibiotics from a kidney infection. After each course, the infection would recur and the doctor would put me on stronger antibiotics until I was really sick from the side-effects – nauseous and weak. Finally a homeopath cleared the infection with colloidal silver. All of this by way of introduction… after this antibiotics have not had any effect on any other infections I have had… including an infected in-grown toenail. I got the message then, and haven’t taken them since.
Katie — What a wonderful post! Thank you for the info and the link to the fascinating article. You are a super sleuth and I so appreciate your research & reporting. I learn so much from your blog!
Reading posts like this make me so sad because I did not learn early enough about these things. When my daughter was 6 months old she had a severe kidney infection and was diagnosed with bilateral kidney reflux. The treatment–major courses of antibiotics (probably necessary at that point) but followed by daily preventative antibiotics. She took them daily for 5 years. Years 1-3 I dutifully followed the doctors orders, years 4-5 I questioned but was told it was necessary to protect her kidneys. At year 5 I stopped trusting the doctors and started learning. I never gave them to her again despite the requests of the doctors. Now she is 8 years old, and she is my only child who gets sick. And she is sick all.the.time. She gets everything, especially strep throat. She also had to have her appendix removed. Ironically she has never had another kidney infection. I feel that my family is a good example for analysis because my other two kids never get sick, and they never catch what she has. I have connected with other moms of kidney reflux kids who are having similar experiences now that these kids are older. I just wish I had been more educated earlier to know the damage that was being done. It makes me sad to see my otherwise healthy, active daughter get knocked down by every illness that she comes into contact with. I worry about what other long term effects she will have. So far she is fine with her digestive track, but we do yogurt and kefir every day. I just like to tell my story whenever possible so that other Moms will not be as naive as I was!!
If your daughter still has her tonsils and is coming down with strep when nobody around her has had it within the past month, ask your doctor about tonsillectomy. I had strep 2-6 times a year for 12 years after an initial bad case, never again in 20 years since I had my tonsils out! The tonsils were harboring the strep and re-infecting me whenever I got worn out, my doctor said.
The downside is that tonsils can block germs from getting into the lungs and sinuses. Now that I don’t have them, when I get a cold or virus it is more likely to turn into a lingering lung or sinus infection. But overall I get sick much, much less often than I used to! Also, I’m often successful at turning away infections with plenty of rest and healthy diet now, whereas the strep didn’t seem to respond to anything but penicillin.
Do you know of Joette Calabrese? She’s a homeopath in New York with a great blog. You can recover from antibiotics using homeopathy too. I had Cipro for a kidney infection and suffered horribly afterward. I took Cipro 30 (from a pharmacy in New York) and it made a HUGE difference. I’ve also been hitting the fermented veggies, homemade kefir, and probiotics.
I must have heard that name through someone before, because it sounds awfully familiar! Thanks! 🙂 Katie
Also, on the probiotic superfood you linked to, how many servings/doses are in the container. Trying to figure out how long it would last me since it’s a little spendy 🙂 I’m already ordering fermented cod liver oil (for the first time, finally!) next month so we’ll see if I can convince my hubby that both are necessary 🙂
Katie – you may want to look into low dose naltrexone for your husband’s crohn’s. i’m looking at starting for my hashimoto’s. it promises to have very good effect on autoimmune disorders.
you may also want to look at lufenuron for your candida issues. especially if you really want to kill those nasty beasties dead. let me know if you would like links to aforesaid suggestions. 🙂 anja
Are those meds, homeopathics, or what? The Crohn’s hasn’t really been symptomatic but for a few weeks in the last 10 years, praise be to God, so we’re not really looking for anything (yet) to control it. Thanks though! 🙂 Katie
if the crohn’s has been a sleeping giant, then leave it alone. naltrexone is a medication, that for some who suffer from autoimmune diseases is a God-sent help. 🙂
for candida, there is so much out there about probiotics, this, that and the other thing that often beat candida into remission – temporarily – but very little actually kills them dead. here’s a link for what does kill them dead. i have no affiliation with this company, am not a paid advertiser or any other thing – other than a grateful consumer. http://lufenuroncandidacure.owndoc.com/
We avoid antibiotics as well. Load up on vit D, FCLO, raw garlic, and fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut that are natural probiotics. For the last 18 months, I have only been sick one time (no antibiotics, just a bad cold), every other time I have felt sickness coming on I have done the above and knocked it out within a day. I am getting ready to learn more about essential oil’s and adding that to my arsenal.
Love the timing of this post. After 5 days with a fever around 102-103, sometimes lower but never less than 100, our 2-year-old went to the walk-in clinic today. We don’t take our kids to the dr unless its an emergency so this was a big step. There is no room for him today so we scheduled for tomorrow am based on how he is doing.
I don’t know what I expect them to tell me. I guess I was hoping to get them to test him for a bacterial infection so we’d at least know what is going on.
He has never had antibiotics and I dread giving him any especially only at 2….y’know, if that’s what the dr suggests. I just don’t know what else to do for him.
He is quite particular about what he will drink, eat (very little). We’ve been using essential oils rubbed on his back/chest with garlic, a forehead cloth with apple cider vinegar…anything we have think of that can offset him not wanting to ingest much.
I’m hoping he improves enough overnight that we can second-guess the choice to visit the clinic. Any suggestions? Cold/cough more at night, fever that ebbs and flows but doesn’t go away. Not sure what his body is fighting but apparently there is something going around. Wait it out or take him in to tomorrow…that’s my dilemma. I’d wait it out longer but am just not sure about the fever thing…
Man, everyone in Michigan is sick, I’m telling you!! I am so empathetic for you – I feel the same way about my 2 younger kids who have never been exposed to abx, like, don’t mess that UP! I’m praying for you that this “one more day” will make a big improvement. So tricky. My 16mo had similar stuff, although only one day of fever. He went for his well child checkup 3 days after the fever and came home with pneumonia in one lung! My doc understands how I feel and gave me the abx scrip but also let me wait about 3 more days, and he finally seemed like he was getting better so we dodged that bullet, but just barely. I wish I had more suggestions for you other than what you’re already doing, but alas, I don’t. Just keep trying! (Vaporizer at night?) Of course keep trying to get liquids into him, even a teaspoon at a time, just to make sure he doesn’t get dehydrated. And ask lots of questions about viral/bacterial at the doc’s…good luck!!!!!!
Sounds just like my 2 yr old. She tested positive for strep on Christmas Eve. Poor thing is so weak, 5 days of fever and very poor appetite. she didn’t want to drink anything, but I kept pushing fluids. She didn’t respond to the antibiotics right away (more than 50 hours before any sign of progress) and a followup Dr visit showed decreased capacity in one lung. This is the first time she’s been on abx.
Antibiotics do have a place. Don’t mess around with strep. Get tested and take the abx if necessary.
Serving up a lot of yogurt here. Also mixing breast milk into her regular milk as I’m nursing a baby too.
I avoid them if at all possible and have chosen doctors for my children who are VERY careful about when they are prescribed – I don’t think my 7 year old daughter has ever been on one! My coworker’s children are ALWAYS on antibiotics and have a host of illnesses and conditions because of it.
I haven’t used antibiotics, including for sinus infection and what felt like possible pneumonia, in years. I ramp up the oregano oil but I ONLY take the Oreganol brand extra strength drops under the tongue. This is the only one that has been standardized and tested repeatedly (including effective against MRSA) and the capsules of run of the mill oregano oil do not seem to be nearly as effective. When I bring out the big guns, I put 2-3 drops under the tongue, hold it there til the burn goes numb, then swallow with a big spoonful of yogurt – cuts the burn and the taste right away. I also do steam inhalations – it’s been proven that the active ingredients in oregano oil actually survive heat, so putting drops in boiling water and inhaling the steam is an excellent way to get the beneficial properties deep into the sinuses and lungs.
I also ramp up olive leaf extract (highest potency I can get in powdered form, or cold extracted tincture), extra coconut oil (2-3 T/day or more – I cook with it too), onions and garlic, bump Vit D up to 15,000 – 20,000 IUs a day, Vit C (with flavenoids) up to 4 grams/day, high vitamin fermented cod liver oil and high vit butter fat (to get the extra Vit A used up when fighting infections, as well as the Vit D needed to balance the vit A), ramp up B vitamins and Mag.; plus an herbal tincture specifically for respiratory health.
A “regular” MD does not even begin to be an option for me, on many different levels; so I gotta make sure all the natural means work! 🙂
Forgot to add: I take the Oreganol oil 2-3, sometimes 4 times a day til symptoms are reversing.
We have not yet done a single round of antibiotics for my children, and my husband hasn’t taken them in 5+ years, I haven’t had them in…10? I don’t actually remember the last time. For us, we’d have to be looking at a really serious, immediately damaging situation before we’d even consider using them. They’re just not something to mess around with.
We don’t take our children to the doctor when they are sick. We have a wide arsenal of herbs, essential oils, homeopathic medications, and also Scout Out. We use these as needed for illnesses, along with plenty of FCLO and magnesium.
We have had one ear infection and it wasn’t fun, and we did see an alternative doctor (who gave an herbal “antibiotic” for that, after confirming it was, in fact, bacterial). But we got through it. Keeping peoples’ nutrition up and consuming plenty of fermented foods helps a lot.
I wish my husband was interested in more fermented foods, but yogurt is the only one that gets past his lips! I hope someday I can write just what you wrote…I feel like I’m still a rookie at the natural health stuff. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂 Katie
None of my children have ever had antibiotics.
I use a combination of other natural products…lots of probiotics, but I also use LOTS of garlic when they develop any signs of an infection. It fights both viral and bacterial infections. I also use herbal teas which include licorice root, echinacea, muellin, and marshmellow root. Finally, I also use essential oils (lavender, euclyptus, or tea tree) in diffusers or a humidifier. HTH :-).
Carrie, how do you administer LOTS of garlic to your kids? Seems tricky, since garlic is spicy. Thanks!
Katie, when I take an antibiotic, I try to make sure that I can have dairy with it. I then eat a lot of yogurt. Yogurt puts the good back in your digestive track. Or it helps me. When I take certain antibiotics, I always get a yeast infection, so there is more meds to take. =( I totally dislike taking any and all kinds of meds, but unfortunately, I have a lot I have to take to keep going.
for everyone wondering about antibiotic use, probiotics or simply BEING healthy check out knowthecause.com You will be happy you did! you will learn how to take care of your & your families health & diet, learn about natural antifungals, and so much more from health professionals. the info i gained from them changed my life for the better…it’s information EVERYONE needs to know – doctors included…
and should have added THANK YOU katie for bringing such an important and live changing topic to the forefront of our busy lives…no telling how many lives will be touched positively by todays blog…
Great post–as always. My mind is swirling with thoughts…and I need to take some time to check out all the links! So here’s my question: what do you think about antibiotics during labor & its effect on the baby’s gut flora? I was GBS positive with my first two babies & had the antibiotics in labor (FOUR doses with baby #1 & 1 dose with baby #2). They both have some MAJOR digestive issues & are gluten & dairy (and one is egg) free. I had only had 1 dose of antibiotics in my life until during labor. Do you think the antibiotics in labor could have set them up for bad gut flora?
Looking forward to any comments here. I was GBS+ with my first and am at 35 weeks with #2 so the GBS test is looming. Still not sure what to do if we get a positive.
I’m interested in hearing this too. I just found out yesterday that I tested positive for a small amount of GBS in my urine at my 16 week appointment with our second. She told me that I’m then considered positive for the entire pregnancy and won’t need to be retested. I have some serious issues with this and am thinking I need to insist upon being retested at the normal 36-37 week time. I absolutely don’t want to have those antibiotics unless completely necessary, especially not in a “just in case” scenario when I might not even still have it. She herself told me it comes and goes.
I agree with getting tested again wholeheartedly!! This probiotic helped Lacey of KV Organics, the gal who introduced me to it, not only be GBS negative for child 3 or 4 after the first few were positive but also to kick yeast infections after birth.
As far as number of doses in a container, it depends. I take about a teaspoon a day, but you could do more or less, since it’s food. A container would last at least a month at 1 tsp./day, maybe more. The label says a serving is 5g x 30 servings in a tub. It is spendy, for sure, but you might get by with just one for this particular issue – Lacey can explain how to get a bit better deal than the posted price. 🙂 Katie
I’m convinced that my two kiddos have gut problems due to antibiotics given during labor. I was also GBS+ and had to have C/S with both of them. Of course I can’t prove this, but I’m sure it didn’t have a positive effect on their intestinal health. Both of my kids suffer from eczema an unidentified food intolerances. All we can do now is do the best we can at healing and reducing more damage. Frustrating isn’t it?
You know I’m pretty humble about what I don’t know, which is a TON, but my gut tells me that you’re exactly right, no pun intended. I also had abx with my first, and so did he within hours of birth b/c I didn’t get both doses in before he was born. I praise God that labor went too fast for no. 2 to have any, even though I was GBS positive again, and I have a pediatrician who was willing to watch the baby for symptoms before sticking her with a needle. No. 3 was again positive, again WAY too fast for abx, and we watched and waited. It means an extra day in the hospital for observation, but that’s SO worth it to me. When I discussed that right after John’s birth here at KS, people had very heart-wrenching stories in the comments about GBS injuries and deaths of newborns, so it’s nothing to mess around with.
That long story is my way of saying that my oldest seems to have the worst health, has had way more antibiotics than I care to even think about, and has eczema, although it’s gotten much better as we decreased gluten as a family (or he just got older, or whatever). I DO think any exposure to abx is a bad thing – but I also had a totally fascinating interview with a brain doctor just today that gives much hope to the possibility of healing food sensitivities, if not with something like GAPS to heal the gut than by rebalancing the brain to strengthen the gut and immune system.
Natural health and parenting are so TOUGH! Keep doing all the good work you’re doing, Erin, your girls are benefiting for sure!
I wholeheartedly concur with Katie’s strategy here. You can’t mess with a newborn’s gut flora directly as they don’t have any, but messing up yours just at the point of innoculation is to be avoided. Mid-preg testing does NOT determine active infection at delivery. Don’t even get me started on the lifelong effects of c-sections on a child’s gut/immune/metabolic health!These things have their place in acute emergency situations, as many readers have said, but the risks are rarely explained (until you’re in no position to understand them or argue).
I would also have to say that although I don’t have scientific proof, my own experience tells me that there is a connection. I tested positive with my oldest, had a 40+ (I stopped counting after a while) labor with multiple doses of antibiotics to end up with a c-section. His digestion and health were a MESS. Don’t even get me started on his speech delay and sensory issues. My daughter, another c-section, also had some digestive issues but because of fewer doses of antibiotics as well as proactive use of probiotics has much better digestion and health overall. She also has no developmental or sensory problems.
If you think about it, it makes sense that antibiotic use (and c-sections) would interfere with populating the gut with good microbes as the baby’s gut mostly gets populated as they come through the birth canal. No microbes (or trip) means no population.
Gotta weigh in here too. I was GBS+ with my second, and had abx for mastitis a few days after his birth. He has minor food allergies (which he does seem to be growing out of – or something; we did Gaps for a month as well), while my two girls have no issues. And I was also diagnosed with GBS at like 12 wks. Always thought it was silly. I mean, if I am then considered + for the whole pregnancy, why not for all subsequent, too? If I knew then what I know now, I’d totally insist on a retest.
I’ve also always wondered about the influence sex has on these things too. Would my girls have been so strongly affected, were the situations swapped? Anyone heard anything about that?
Reading a lot about the risks is so important. I tested positive with both of my kids. Both were born at home so there were obviously no antibiotics. Thought I’d share a little bit about our decision making process. GBS is very common and the risk of infection, though serious, is quite small, especially in full term babies. Also, there are now several strains of antibiotic resistant GBS. I believe this is because women with low risk are put on antibiotics routinely. I did not want to contribute to these strains because some sources believe that in 50 years all GBS will be resistant to antibiotics. This means that babies who are infected will be untreatable and many more deaths will occur.
Another factor for me was the fact that in many hospitals if you spike a fever you are automatically put on antibiotics whether it is GBS or not. Epidurals commonly cause fevers.
I went on a strict anti-candida diet for the last months of both pregnancies, but was not re-tested. Our midwife gave us material on the symptoms and we monitored our babies for the first few days. (Both were born after 41 weeks – so no premee worries here.) We also live within 5 mins. of a hospital so I was comfortable with that.
Finally, my son has never had antibiotics of any kind and he was allergic to milk, eggs, and various fruits during his first year. He is still allergic to peanuts, kiwi, and sensitive to random things. You never know what causes stuff, so do your best and don’t beat yourself up too much! (Says a mom who constantly questions whether we started solids too soon!) My daughter is a chunky 10 month old who hasn’t reacted to anything (but started solid food much later and still barely eats any. . . )
I too had a long string of antibiotic usage over several years when allergies led to ear infections (and before starting allergy treatment). Nothing in the gut has been the same since (and I mean going back to the late 1980s). Later I avoided antibiotics by using acetic acid (vinegar) based ear drops which worked for awhile. In the last several months I’ve switched to oral colloidal silver and have had good results. I bought my own generator so have also been able to consume enough to treat my colds, sore throats, ear problems etc. without breaking the bank. If you have not considered this avenue it might be helpful. Silver is also making it’s way back into mainstream medicine. My father-in-law was prescribed an ointment to treat some pressure sores he developed while hospitalized. Careful reading should help avoid some of the pitfalls encounted when incorporating silver into one’s healthcare regimin.
Colloidal silver often comes up when I talk natural health, and it’s always been one I’m nervous about. But I keep looking into it, thank you! 🙂 Katie
Garlic…fresh…raw…6 cloves a day…for a week! That is what it took to kick my sinus infection (or whatever it was), noticeable improvement after only 2 days, kept at it for a week to make sure.
God’s wonderful broad spectrum antibiotic, only targets the “bad” bacteria and “bad” bugs never develop resistance!
How do you take the garlic? Seems like it would be tough to get down 6 cloves!
I take 2 cloves, 3 times a day. Use the garlic press and spread on buttered bread/toast. Covering the garlic with avocado also helps to tone it down…mostly I just take it and follow with water and something else to help get rid of the garlic taste in my mouth!
I can get down 2 cloves mixed into spaghetti with tomato sauce–heat the sauce first, then stir in the crushed garlic just before eating. Sometimes I’ll add it to beans instead; they are supposed to be antibacterial, or is it antiviral?
I brush my teeth after eating, and it’s not too bad, since I am not breathing on anyone anyway to keep germs to myself! The only downside is if the illness leads to vomiting; partially digested raw garlic can burn on the way up. 🙁
Crush cloves into honey, swallow by the spoonful, chased with water (like swallowing a pill). Take on empty stomach or before eating!
Katie, what are your thought on injected antibiotics? One of my kiddos had a nasty chest cold last month and I was prepared to discuss the negative side effects of oral antibiotics, but then I got kinda side swiped when they offered a shot instead, saying it will protect her gut better… What are your thoughts?
Hmm, that’s a new one on me! I’m still wary, because if the antibiotics are able to get to your infection, how are they not able to mess up gut flora? Plus, as this article mentions, it’s not only gut bacteria that co-exist with us. So….without looking into it more, I’m officially wary. Probiotics no matter what! 🙂 Katie
Based on my sadly extensive experience with strep throat, injected penicillin has virtually no effect on the gut, whereas oral penicillin can skew things for a month or so. I’ve never taken any other antibiotic by injection, unless you count IV antibiotics during surgery–I don’t recall any side effects from those, either.
Still, I avoid any antibiotics unless truly necessary. Thanks, Katie, for the research!
People who know my husband is a hospital based healthcare worker are usually shocked when they find out that we have absolutely no antibacterial soap or hand-sanitizer in our home. Other than when he is at work we go out of our way to avoid it. Many are also surprised that when the kids are sick enough to go to the doctor that I ask them to be sure it is bacterial before prescribing an antibiotic. Haven’t needed one yet. Antibacterials and antibiotics have their place. I have no doubt about that. I almost lost my foot to an infection I got in the hospital and proper use of antibiotics were key to preventing an amputation. My husband treats patients every day who truly need such lifesaving interventions. That said there is a reason for the current campaign trying to educate patients and doctors about the dangers of over-prescribing antibiotics. I only wish that campaign had more emphasis on increasing beneficial bacteria.
I am enjoying reading ur blog. My husband also has chrons. It is not fun. One of thigs we have found useful instead of antibiotics is olive leaf. (herb) it works as a natural one tht attacks bad bacteria, we use for bacterial infection. And mulein (herb) it drys up mucus. Not sure if it will work for you guys but we have had wonderful success. No antibiotics in our family of 6 .. Now for 6 years :).. Good luck to you
Thanks for the recommendation! Another friend rec’d olive leaf back in the spring as a natural antibiotic, so I do have it on hand, although in capsule form. I don’t know if it’s as effective that way – ?? How do you take it? I don’t think I did give my husband that one – but we tried oil of oregano, garlic oil, Pau d’Arco, and other oils, to no avail. 🙁
Yes you can take in capsule but liquid form is much stronger. We try and get the kind with out alcohol. This seems to be gentler on the stomach. We take 4 full droplers the first day and then 3 after that until better usually do an extra day, just in case :).. Still recommend a probiotic with it to reinforce the good guys :).. Good luck to you guys!