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Antibiotics and  Diarrhea- Its Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Antibiotics and  Diarrhea- Its Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Antibiotics are the medicines that are given to cure bacterial infections. But in many cases, antibiotic treatment make the situation more troubling as they have an unpleasant side effect related to them and that is diarrhea. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea is quite common among people and it is believed that almost 5 and 25 percent get affected with Diarrhea. Antibiotic-related diarrhea means passing loose and watery stools at least three to four in a day. The frequency of this can be much higher as well, it depends upon person to person, how much troubling his/her Diarrhea is. Medicines are taken to treat bacterial infections (antibiotics). In most of the cases, antibiotic-related is mild and need no treatment and it gets cleared on its own within a few days once you stop taking the antibiotic. But in case you are facing more trouble due to serious antibiotic-associated diarrhea then it is important that you stop or change antibiotic medications which you might be using previously.

Are antibiotics responsible for causing diarrhea?

Yes, it is absolutely correct that antibiotics can result in diarrhea and the below-mentioned facts will make your decision more firm and accurate. Antibiotics target bacteria as they take benefit of the structures and processes that these bacterial cells have which are not same as compared from our own cells. Though antibiotics don’t give us any kind of harm our own cells, still they are not good for us as they kill good and bad bacteria which are present inside our intestines. But not all the bacteria are bad, there are many good kinds of bacteria as well that live inside our intestines. Good bacteria are useful in improving the digestive process and they are also important and needed to keep us healthy and fit. Antibiotics can impact the balance of these bacteria, which include killing good bacteria as well that are good for our body and other disadvantage is that they result in causing diarrhea.

Good bacteria that is present inside our body helps in keeping a check on the growth of opportunistic and the bacteria like Clostridium difficile can result in causing infections in case we don’t take care of it. Also this can happen in case good bacteria are killed by consuming more of antibiotics. Toxins which are emitted by C. diff can result in causing inflammation in the intestines which results in diarrhea.

Symptoms

For most of the people, antibiotic-associated diarrhea results in mild signs and symptoms like Loose or watery stools.

More-frequent bowel movements

Antibiotic-related diarrhea mostly start a week after you start consuming antibiotic and sometimes, its symptoms don’t appear till many days or even weeks as well post finishing your antibiotic treatment.

Clostridium difficile infection

Clostridium difficile is a kind of toxin-producing bacterium that results in more serious antibiotic-associated diarrhea and makes the situation more difficult. Also loose stools and more frequent bowel movements make it troubling for the people suffering from it. This kind of infection results in lower abdominal pain and cramping, mild fever, Nausea, loss of appetite among other kinds of problems.

Some other common symptoms of Diarrhea

Antibiotic-related diarrhea is known as having watery stools and the frequency of it can be anywhere between three times in day to 10 times in a day as well. This is mainly due to taking antibiotics, we start experiencing Diarrhea after a week of consuming antibiotics and in some cases, diarrhea occur after weeks as well post completing the treatment. In case you have C. diff infection, then you might witness additional symptoms like abdominal pain, fever, decreased appetite, feeling of uneasiness and sometimes nausea as well.

Are antibiotics only responsible for causing diarrhea?

Although all kinds of antibiotics can result in diarrhea, but there are some kinds of antibiotics that are responsible for making the situation more troubling. It is still not that much clear why antibiotics are the main cause of diarrhea as compared to any other factor. Some of the kinds of antibiotics that have higher chances of causing diarrhea include ampicillin, amoxicillin, clindamycin among many other kinds of medicines.

Causes

Why this antibiotic-associated diarrhea occurs is not clear as there are many reasons responsible for this kind of situation. Most likely, this kind of problem develop when antibacterial medications (antibiotics) upset our immune system and disturb the balancing of good and bad bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract. Also antibiotics result in causing diarrhea, mostly all kinds of antibiotics result in antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Some of the antibiotics that result in worsening the problem include Cephalosporins like cefdinir and cefpodoxime; Penicillins like amoxicillin and ampicillin etc. When the antibiotics upset the balance of bacteria in our digestive system, bacteria C. difficile grow quickly which grow out of control. This kind of bacteria results in the creation of toxins that in turn attack the lining of the intestine. The antibiotics that are responsible for Diarrhea include fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, penicillins and clindamycin.

Risk factors

Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can happen with anyone who is taking antibiotic, but there are higher chances of experiencing antibiotic-associated diarrhea in case you:

  • Have had antibiotic-associated diarrhea in the past
  • Have taken antibiotic medications for a longer period in the past
  • Taking more than one antibiotic medication

Complications

One of the most common kinds of difficulty of any type of diarrhea is excessive loss of fluids and electrolytes (dehydration) and many kinds of dehydration can be life-threatening as well. Some of the common signs and symptoms of diarrhea include dry mouth, intense thirst, no urination, weakness among many other symptoms.

Prevention

To prevent yourself from getting affected by antibiotic-associated diarrhea, you must:

  • Take antibiotics only when there is no other option left, don’t consume antibiotics until and unless referred by your doctor. Antibiotics though cure bacterial infections, but they are unable to help viral infections like colds and flu.
  • Ask your caregivers to wash their hands before coming closer to you.
  • In case you are hospitalized, ask everyone to wash their hands to that the chances of spreading infection can be reduced. Also, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Tell your doctor in case you have taken antibiotic-associated diarrhea earlier and consuming antibiotic-associated diarrhea will increases the chance that antibiotics which in turn results in that same reaction again. Your doctor is the best person to guide by selecting a different antibiotic for you this time.

What kind of foods we can eat to cure diarrhea?

In case you are also experiencing diarrhea mainly by taking antibiotics, then you need to make some kind of adjustments in your diet plan to lower the impact of diarrhea on your body. By taking right kind of food, you can witness a relief in your situation.

  • You are advised to eat food with low fiber as it will help in making your condition better. Doctors advise high fiber foods only in case you are healthy, but consuming them in case you are suffering from diarrhea will only worsen the condition.
  • You need to have lots of fluids and salts and in Diarrhea, your body already has experienced significant loss of fluids and electrolytes more rapidly which are important for your body. So try to add more fluids into your diet.

Some of the fruits which you must add in your diet in case you are suffering from diarrhea include:

  • Fluids like water, broths, or tea will help in covering the loss of fluids.
  • You can eat fruits like bananas, applesauce, or small portion of canned fruit as well to get well soon.
  • White rice, and noodles will also help, peeled potatoes which you have boiled are some other good food items which you can take
  • Poultry, lean meats, yogurt can also be included in the diet plan

What kind of foods you must avoid in case suffering from Diarrhea?

In case you are suffering from Diarrhea, then there are some kinds of food items which you must avoid to recover faster. There are some kinds of food that might worsen your condition in case you don’t stop consuming them especially when you are taking antibiotic treatment as well. Some of the items not be taken include:

See Also

  • alcoholic beverages, and other kinds of beverages like coffee, sodas, tea must be avoided
  • You should not consume dairy products (excluding yogurt) as it can result in causing digestive problems especially when you are taking antibiotics and it will affect your antibiotic absorption as well
  • Foods that have high fatty acids like fatty meats, baked goods, french fries among many other kinds of food items must be avoided
  • Those foods or beverages that have high intake of sugar like sodas, fruit juices etc must be avoided
  • Also try to avoid consuming spicy foods as it might affect your digestive system and will complicate the situation as well.

Some other self-care remedies which can help in making you feel relaxed

Along with making adjustments with your diet, you must take some other preventive steps as well to lower the uneasiness caused due to Diarrhea. You can replace lost fluids by taking more of liquids. We all know that Diarrhea results in a loss of fluids which sometimes can also put in the risk of dehydration. So it is advised to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Along with taking water, fruit juices that have low level of sugar in them can also be taken to prevent excess fluid loss.

In case your child is experiencing, then you can give some kind of oral rehydration solutions as well like Pedialyte, but contact your doctor before giving any kind of oral rehydration solution to your kids. .

You can take anti-diarrheal medications

There are many kinds of antidiarrheal medicines which can be taken in case you are suffering from Diarrhea and these medicines will give you some relief in your symptoms. Though talk to your doctor before consuming any kind of medications.

When to see a doctor

Though in most of the cases, we start feeling better with the passage of time but in you are not getting relief at all, it is advisable to contact your doctor. You can call your doctor in case you are experiencing some serious signs and symptoms of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and are not getting relief from them at all. These signs and symptoms are common in various conditions, so referring to your doctor is advisable as he/she might recommend few tests that will help in determining the exact cause of the problem.

In short, you must get in touch with your doctor in case you are experiencing the following symptoms and things are not getting better. If you are consuming antibiotics and experiencing the below-mentioned symptoms, then you must contact your doctor at the earliest.

  • In case you are witnessing more than five episodes of diarrhea in a day
  • You have fever
  • Also there is pain in your abdominal on a regular basis

In also these cases, contact your doctor. Since your condition is milder, the doctor might advise you to stop taking antibiotic for some time till diarrhea goes away completely or may change the antibiotics as well.

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