Can Antibiotics Help or Cause IBS?

I have been thinking back at when my IBS symptoms started and I can most certainly pin point them to a few months after I had 3 courses of antibiotics within 5 months.

I have never been very keen on antibiotics, but I understand that sometimes there is no way around it, if you have an infection. The fact that my symptoms have started soon after this overload of antibiotics may or may not be a coincidence, so I have done a bit of research to understand if there is a possible correlation between IBS and use of antibiotic.

Bloating is one of the symptoms of IBS and sometimes is thought to be related to bacterial imbalances in the gut. The theory is still controversial, but there is a possibility that antibiotics could cause IBS, as their purpose is to kill all bacteria and in the intestinal tract we have also a lot of good bacteria, which are responsible for part of our digestion and that unfortunately are also killed in the process.

For this reason it is important that after completing a round of antibiotics, one should always replenish the good bacteria with probiotic.

A good well rounded probiotic can be found at health food stores or chemist. Some people believe that the best kinds are the ones that need to be refrigerated as they are alive. However, freeze dried ones can be more efficacious, as you don’t have to worry if they’ve been properly refrigerated along the way or not. Freeze dried ones are reconstituted when you take them. The water you take them with, activates them in your stomach and they go on down through the intestinal tract working where they are needed.

When good bacteria are introduced, where there are none or few, the bad bacteria in the intestine will begin to fight with them. As the good bacteria become well established, the bad ones will die. In that process, you will most likely have some diarrhea, some really putrid gas, and possibly even additional pain. But that should not last more than a week, if even that long. The result will be that your irritable bowel will begin to heal itself with the help of the good bacteria.

New studies may support an antibiotic to treat IBS

According to new studies there is an antibiotic which could help with the chronic functional symptoms of bloating and flatulence common to IBS sufferers.

This antibiotic is widely used to treat diarrhea in travelers and may also provide some relief to people with the common and difficult to treat irritable bowel syndrome.

Currently this antibiotic has not yet been approved, as only a small percentage of patients responded to the drug, during the trial. Some doctors would welcome the approval of this drug as they are frustrated by the lack of effective IBS treatments.

As usual you should talk to your doctor and if interested you could research more about this antibiotic trials to see if this drug will eventually be approved to help with IBS symptoms.

For what I am concern, I’d rather use natural way to cure myself, when I can and in this case I am happy to say that by taking specific probiotics and following a low FODMAPs diet, my symptoms have virtually gone and it’s only when I ‘cheat’ on my diet that I get those horrible symptoms back.

I wish you all the very best and until next time, take good care.

Xo Larah



About Larah

I have been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for many years, but it took a longtime to get a diagnosis, since then I have been following a low FODMAP diet, which has changed my life for the better. This is my story and experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet.

8 comments on “Can Antibiotics Help or Cause IBS?

  1. I think I’m with you on this one. I’d prefer to let my body heal itself naturally, if possible. I understand when antibiotics might be needed for serious infections. But otherwise, I would believe the human body has an amazing capacity to heal itself. I have been on the low FODMAPs diet for less than a week, and I’m already noticing less discomfort. 🙂 Probiotics are an excellent idea as well as antibiotics may inadvertently kill the good bacteria.

    • Thanks for stopping by Stephanie, I appreciate your comment. I also try not to take antibiotic, unless I feel I have no choice. With IBS I surely prefer a change of lifestyle and diet instead of taking drugs, but again I am one of the lucky 75% that is on a low FODMAP diet and it is actually working 100% for me. There is a 25% out there who are probably ready to try anything that could work for them.

  2. Thanks Dana, for your lovely and encouraging comments. I am trying to keep things simple, I am not a health practitioner and I am learning as I’m researching the topic. I write about things that interest me, I’m glad you also find it useful. Good luck with your IBS, I hope you get some good tips from my blog. Xo

  3. You know what I have really enjoyed as I have read these blog posts today? Is how everything is written in layman’s terms. It is so easy to understand what you are talking about and how it will benefit me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. I have read other blogs and they usually lose my interest after one paragraph.

    This post right here is a great example. It had me understanding probiotic information before I even knew it! I now understand what that term actually means, where I can find a good one and if I should take live or freeze dried. I did not know this type of information before..sure I had seen the verbiage Probiotic but I never really researched it or took the time to see if I needed to be using it, now I know.

    Thank you Larah! Great site! I hate to sound like such a newbie to all this but I am and your site is really teaching me and introducing me to the things I needed to know.

  4. If there could be an antibiotic that would cure or at least alleviate my IBS I would take it in a heartbeat. Thank you so much for writing this post, I’m going to follow this closely!

    • Thanks Alex, while you are waiting for it, give a go to the low FODMAPs diet, you may be pleasantly surprised. 😀

  5. Hi Larah,
    Some great information there. I am thinking I will try your method and going the natural way and following a low FODMAPs diet.

    Thanks Mandy

    • Hi Mandy, thanks for stopping by.
      Sure I am all for the natural way. It has made a huge difference in my life.

Comments are closed.