Unfortunately, diarrhea is a common side effect of antibiotics, along with other unwanted digestive symptoms such as bloating, discomfort and others. And studies have shown that, in some people, certain antibiotics can cause long-term digestive issues including decreased microbial diversity, and candida (yeast) overgrowth, among others.
Given the potential impact, antibiotics can have on digestive and gut health, it’s important to restore your gut health after antibiotics, and to prevent diarrhea from occurring while taking antibiotics. We’ve put together a list of some simple and effective tips to help prevent diarrhea while taking antibiotics.
5 Ways to Prevent Diarrhea While Taking Antibiotics
1. Take Probiotics While Taking Antibiotics
Contrary to popular belief, it’s now becoming more widely known that taking probiotics while taking antibiotics – as opposed to beginning them afterward – can be extremely helpful in preventing diarrhea.
A high-quality probiotic supplement works by delivering beneficial bacteria to the gut. As many antibiotics can wipe out good bacteria in addition to the bad, probiotics can help to repopulate the good bacteria that has been wiped out by the antibiotic. Studies suggest that taking probiotics during the course of your antibiotics and after can help to prevent and alleviate antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
2. Eat Fermented Foods
On the subject of probiotics, eating naturally fermented foods before and during your course of antibiotics can also help to lessen your chances of suffering from diarrhea. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, and include delicious options such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha tea, miso and kefir. If you’re new to fermented foods, begin slowly (2-4 ounces of kombucha or kefir, 1-2 tablespoons of sauerkraut or kimchi) and work your way up.
3. Eat the Right Foods
Avoid foods high in sugar, artificial sweeteners and refined grains, as these can cause or worsen diarrhea. Enjoy nourishing and gut-supporting foods like homemade broths and soups, cooked vegetables and small amounts of lean protein.
Candy, cookies, cakes, sodas, fruit juices and most processed and packaged foods have the potential to worsen symptoms of diarrhea. On the flip side, plant-based foods provide important prebiotics, which act as food for probiotics and can help boost gut health.
4. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol could worsen antibiotic-associated diarrhea, so it’s important to avoid it while taking antibiotics. Other symptoms of drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics include nausea, an upset stomach, drowsiness, headache, disrupted sleep, diarrhea and dehydration.
5. Stay Hydrated
Staying well-hydrated is always important, and it is especially important if you are dealing with diarrhea which can quickly lead to dehydration. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids – pure water, unsweetened coconut water, and broth are all good options. You can also consider a homemade oral rehydration therapy to help keep you hydrated and restore important electrolytes that are often lost during diarrhea.
Antibiotics are one of the greatest medical advancements of our time and play an essential role in helping us overcome illness. Unfortunately, they can sometimes negatively affect our digestive health and lead to unwanted issues like antibiotic-associated diarrhea. But by following these seven steps you can help give your body the tools necessary to stay healthy and diarrhea-free.