Does Taking Antibiotics Cause Constipation?
Published February 27th, 2020
Antibiotics are one of the most common drugs that are prescribed in the US. And while it eradicates and treats all types of bacterial infection, many health professionals agree that its side effects outweigh its benefits.
According to the CDC, at least 30 percent of all antibiotics prescribed in outpatient clinics are unnecessary.
How Does Antibiotics Work?
There are two types of Antibiotics, and each has a different way of treating the infection. The first one inhibits bacterial growth, while the other kills it entirely.
The downside is antibiotics can’t determine which bacteria in the body are beneficial and harmful. Thus, it kills all of them, including the “friendly” bacteria, or more commonly known as probiotics, that help the body to have a better immune system.
What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Antibiotics?
Many side effects can happen when taking an antibiotic, and your physician will most likely warn you about them.
Here’s what happens when antibiotics alter the normal flora of bacteria in your gut:
- Soft tools
- Stomach upset
- Allergic reactions
Yes, diarrhea is the common side effect of taking antibiotics. So does this mean antibiotics do not cause constipation?
Unfortunately, it does. Although rare, antibiotics can cause constipation as well. And while it is very common, it can be very uncomfortable and may cause some severe complications.
Complications of Constipation
According to Stanford Health Care, the most common complications of constipation are discomfort and irritation. But, unfortunately, these two can lead to:
- Anal fissure
- Fecal Impaction
- Intestinal Obstruction
- Blockage in the colon
- Rectal prolapse
How To Restore Gut Health
After taking antibiotics, it will take some time before the so-called “friendly bacteria” in your gut be restored and work at its optimum. Here’s what you can do to speed up your gut-health restoration and ease constipation.
Getting your blood pumping is one of the best ways to ease constipation. Doing a thirty-minute cardio a day accelerates your breathing and heart rate, as well as stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles, which help move stools out quickly.
Drink Lots of Water
Try to consume at least 8 glasses of water per day if you have a hard time defecating. Hydration triggers a bowel movement because it makes your stool softer.
Eat Fermented Foods
Eating fermented foods is famous for maintaining proper gut health because they are naturally rich in probiotics. If you want to speed up the process of your gut-health restoration, then try consuming kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, or yogurt.
Eat Fiber-Rich Food
Eating foods rich in fiber can help alleviate your constipation. Fiber-rich food is well-known in making your stools softer, which makes it easier to pass through your bowels.
Also, almost all fiber-rich foods are prebiotics. Prebiotics are like fertilizers, which acts as food for probiotics. The more food that probiotics have to eat, the more these beneficial bacteria work efficiently, which means the healthier your gut will be.
While fermented foods contain lots of probiotics, some people are just not fond of eating food that has a tangy taste. But do not fret just yet, there are other options for you to get enough probiotics and restore your gut health post-antibiotic use.
Probiotics supplements are one of the best ways to treat constipation and bring your gut-health back to normal. One study says that probiotics that contained Bifidobacterium or BLIS-K12 are the most effective strain in alleviating the symptoms of constipation.
Problems with the digestive system is a well-known side effect of antibiotic use. This unwanted aftermath serves as a reminder that sometimes, what we think is good for us can also do more harm than good if not used properly.
And while constipation after antibiotic use can be easily treated, there are ways on how you can avoid it. Rather than taking antibiotics to cure an infection, why don’t you start taking probiotics instead to boost your immune system and prevent acquiring diseases? After all, prevention is still always better than cure.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer based in the Philippines. Her commitment to communicating factual content in when writing is unmatched. She works hard to cross check reputable sources to ensure her work uses accurate facts.