Antibiotic induced digestion issues

Posted , 10 users are following.

Hey all,

I have been diagnosed with acid reflux by my GP, and although I trust him and he was very thorough I want to get to the bottom of my condition.

i developed this after a short-ish course of fluxlocicillin. I was violently sick one night and now have developed several issues with heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, choking feelings between throat and stomach after some meals. My symptoms are varied but I'll get at least one every couple of days. When I think relief is coming and I'm getting over it I get hit with indigestion in the middle of the night or wake up feeling like crap.

I was wondering if anyone has developed any issues following a course of antibiotics and what they have been. I am fortunate not to have any lower abdominal issues but after extensively researching this I see antibiotics have a lot to answer for. As much as they are needed in vital situations I have lost my trust in them. They cured the infection I was treating but I have been left with far worse, to be honest, and without a clear time limit as to when this will end!

0 likes, 16 replies

16 Replies

  • Posted

    Many of us have suffered different problems after a round of 1 or 2 times taking antibiotics. You can read about them when you go to the section regarding stomach problems. Not sure if there is a answer for you as many have been dealing with problems for years. Good luck and if you find something to help you make sure you post it so others could see and maybe it will be able to help them.
    • Posted

      Hey darlene,

      Thanks for replying. I have been doing a lot of research and I know people struggle with SIBO/reflux/IBS symptoms long after antibiotic treatment has ceased. I won't give up on getting my life back, I'm too determined to figure out what's going on! Even if it's a lost cause and I'm stuck with this horrible reflux I'll know and try to accept it once I've exhausted every other avenue. It's really awful reading everyone's accounts. I hope you are well and finding relief in what has troubled you and brought you to a medical forum!

  • Posted

    Hi mj1986

    Antibiotics destroy your good bacteria in your gut and cause stomach upsets. There are probiotics you can take whilst taking antibiotics to keep your stomach flora functioning. You can get them online from very well known companies....I don't think i can say the names here or my message will be wishes...

    • Posted

      Hey Lillian,

      Thanks for replying. Hindsight is a great thing - I'm on probiotics now but didn't take them at the time! The 2 rounds of antibiotics I did wiped me out! I don't know if my issue has anything to do with thrush as well since I did have oral thrush that was treated with nystatin. Basically since these antibiotics I have gone from taking herbal remedies for skin breakouts to at least 8 prescription drugs. Not a massive fan of antibiotics as a consequence of this!

  • Posted

    Without antibiotics we wouldn't be here since either an ancestor or we ourselves would have died of trivial issues, a scratched knee (like my great uncle - sepsis), tooth infection ....

    If used correctly, a blessing and the dooming antibiotic resistance (also thanks to people not finishing the given tablet package even no allergic reaction or contraindicated other reaction, just because of 'feeling better already' and 'nuh, don't want to finish, antibiotics are bad'wink a real threat.

    Anyway, during oral antibiotic treatment,

    you and anyone needs to take probiotics during and after.

    Space them at least 2 hours apart. It is proven, that the side effects - as they do kill the good gut bacteria too, of course, logically - are less, not 100% less for everyone, but from 35% down to 10%.

    Also if taken probiotics cannot colonize, alone passing through is beneficial.

    There are good yeasts, which are never effected by antibiotics, hence good to take as well.

    Also be adviced to read into prebiotics and take them. The downside: they clash with FODMAP diet. Hence everything is as always very individual when it comes to 'healthy' diet.

    I will send you a link as it will get deleted here in public view due to 'ads' on the side.

    We had to take probiotics (and alternated brands, forms every 1-2 months) for half a year before getting better.  They take time, no quick fix, especially if not taken during antibiotic treatment. Also include (if not protein allergic or lactose intolerant) some good life yoghurt or probiotic drinks.

    All the best!

    You will get better!


    • Posted

      Hey Sanya,

      Thanks for the reply. I know antibotics have saved and improved many lives. Unfortunately the original infection I had wasn't nearly as invasive or bad as the symptoms I've had since taking the antibiotics. I took them on an empty stomach which I was instricuted to do but I was busy the week I took them and I don't know if I've done some damage taking them with coffee and not eating properly! Lesson learned!

      I do think they've affected me so negatively. Until I took flucloxicillin and an anbitiotic for a UTI I hadn't taken prescription meds since accutane. Accutane comes with a BOOKLET of side effects and I only got dry lips and fragile skin for the duration of the treatment. And my skin is mostly great now. These antibitoics have ruined my gut. I can't stomach food properly, I can't eat large portions or what I used to. I have also taken the following drugs for side effects I believe are induced from antibiotic use:

      Nystatin for a month (oral thrush).

      Omeprazole (acid reflux post antibiotics)

      Buccastem (for nausea when I get indigestion)

      Cerizycline(?) another anti nauseas tablet.

      Diazepam (to calm me down through all this and after a week of retching post antibitoic).

      A sleeping sedative, can't remember the name - for insomnia due to these issues and worrying I'm terminally ill following this.

      Setraline for depression due to these issues.

      Non prescription:

      - Acidophilis

      - mixed probiotics

      - Digestive enzymes

      - Vitamin B (depletes when on omeprazole)

      - Kalms (anxiety calming)

      - Bachs Rescue Remedy (anxiety)

      I did take Rennie's and Gaviscon prior to going on omeprazole but I can't take two at once.

      I do hear what you're saying about antibiotics being beneficial but I have spent hundreds of pounds following treatment and had at least 10 doctors appointmens plus a further appointment for an endoscopy since the treatment. I wish I hadn't bothered. The infection I had didn't warrant a broad spectrum antibiotic being used. It was in my lower abdomen and caused a bit of bloating (it was related to my smear test) but it was benign in nature, a staph infection I had had for months, and surely if it's localised like that I could have at worst taken something to be inserted like a Cannesten tube as opposed to my eating and life being compromised.

      The sad thing is to keep calorie uptake my diet isn't as healthy either. I don't drink caffeine anymore and I don't drink alcohol but my diet is far worse. The work starts here since if I'm saddled with acid reflux I will need to find a way to manage it - I am starting to get a handle on the stress this uncertainty as caused - but safe to say these drugs have made me the most miserable I've been in my whole life. I am 30 and was healthy before antibiotics and I will spread the word that they didn't work for me because I wish I had known the consequence of them before I had taken them.

      I hope I do get better and I'll look into FODMAP diet, thanks!


  • Posted

    Hi mj1986, 

    I know you posted a while ago but I just wanted to follow up on how you are doing as my story is very similar to yours. For the last few years, every time I took antibiotics I would always get extremely ill despite taking probiotics and taking them with food etc. But the issue with me is that I get really sick AFTER the course of antibiotics, and only experience nausea when I'm on them. I feel like I do all the right things but I simply can't tolerate antibiotics.

    I have spent so much money on doctors, specialists, supplements, and other various treatments but when I take antibiotics (which is only a couple of times a year), I get very sick. At the moment I have just finished a course of antibiotics and I am in bed not being able to go to work. Severe nausea, headche, diarrhoea, abdominal pain etc. The last time I took antibiotics 6 months ago I was off work for 2 weeks with severe gastro issues. 

    I already have a couple of health issues such as Coeliac Disease and Sjogrens syndrome which compromise my gut health but I eat Gluten and Dairy free, I don't drink caffeine and I don't drink alcohol and I take an array of supplemenets and natural remedies each day. I feel like I do all the right things but antibiotics ruin my life when I take them. 

    Since you posted a couple of months ago I was just wondering how you are getting on and what has helped you? I'm currently in bed and I am a bridesmaid at my friends wedding this weekend and I am desperate to feel better. Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

    Thanks heaps! smile

    • Posted

      Hi Lilian05079,

      I took Doxycycline 6 months ago for a blocked gland in my eye and last week I took a course of Aciclovir for the herpes virus. After taking both antibiotics I had horrendous nausea, diarrhoea, and stomach pain for a couple of weeks.

      Looking back, I can recall taking 3 other courses of antibiotics over the last 5 years and each time I had nausea and diarrhoea but never this bad.


    • Posted

      Hi Kelacx

      Aciclovir is an anti-viral drug not an antibiotic. I took Aciclovir for did not make me nauseaus.You may have an allergic reaction to antibiotics and anti-viral drugs.

      You should speak with your doctor about this because there may be a medication they can give you to stop the nausea, and wishes for a recovery for the wedding.....

    • Posted

      Hey Kelacx,

      It's lucky I saw this, I've not been on this forum for a while! 

      I'm sorry to hear you're going through all that. It's awful. These digestive issues have taken over my life, honestly.

      Since I last posted this I have improved, but I'm not as well as I'd like to be. I got really sick in January and very panicked (I was taking panic attacks daily), I just haven't felt like I've had a clear mind at all since my digestive issues started.

      I started on omeprazole in December since my GP said I had reflux oesophagitis. I have to say, I think they worked. I don't get the gagging or choked up feeling I was experiencing. I haven't had to take any anti-anxiety medications or herbal remedies for anxiety. My appetite most days is ravenous, and even on bad days it's still there - that was definitely the stress of not knowing what was wrong with me that scared me.

      So, positives, which I hope help people here who might see this:

      - I've put on 8lbs (I lost a lot of weight due to feeling sick/choked up and unable to eat).

      - I haven't felt like food just sits in my stomach since November.

      - My diet is more varied again...and on that note I have noticed massive triggers for me (onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, pizza). Caffeinesad I love tea but I started drinking it again a few days ago and lo and behold, I was so gassy and burny yesterday I felt awful!

      The omeprazole helped a lot with nausea after eating. I get that twice a month now rather than several times a day. But when I get nausea I'll tend to get it for days, and the anxiety increases when symptoms return.

      I took probiotics (a 7 strain brand) that helped loads, too.

      But there are still lingering symptoms:

      - Still getting reflux! I had Mexican food and spicy soup over the weekend, as well as 3 cupts of tea. Yesterday I was bloated, gassy, felt pressure in my stomach and like I was on fire. Deeply unpleasant. I woke up from a nap on the couch feeling sick and sweaty after choking down some dinner, and I have to say when symptoms recur like that I get so disheartened and it becomes difficult to keep anxiety levels down. I was really burpy last night, nauseous and kept waking through the night which honestly, hasn't happened for weeks. But I took myself off omeprazole 3 weeks ago and it might still be necessary for me.

      - My throat, when I get reflux, still gets a bit tight and sore, but it's not happening every day.

      - I burp less, but that's still present.

      - I'm bloated after eating certain foods!

      - My bowel movements haven't been bad or concerning, but they changed since that dose of antibiotics last year. They're softer and at times I feel like there is more urgency.

      - Then these symptoms come back I am more anxious, on edge and struggle to think clearly.

      I was referred for an endoscopy but based on the improvement in my symptoms my GP doesn't think it's necessary. He said that I wouldn't have put on so much weight again or have so many days I can eat fine if I had a serious condition. However, he's aknowledged it's chronic and I was given 4 months' worth of omeprazole and told to come back if I'm in distress (which I still am several times a month).

      I went through a nutritionist and did a comprehensive stool test. I don't usually go private since the NHS has always served me well in Scotland, but I am desperate to get to the root cause of all this and on days like today when I feel raw, gassy and uncomfortable I cannot live my life properly. I'm tense, distracted, struggle to work, struggle to eat and sleep. So I don't want to have to go through this every month.

      My GP had suggested a FODMAP diet based on onions etc causing me a lot of grief. He said onions can cause "gas for days" which maybe explains why this week hasn't got off to a flying startsad

      I'm finding out about the stool test on Thursday and can keep you updated. How are you feeling?

    • Posted

      Hi mj1986, 

      Thank you so much for your reply, it's really good to hear where you are at and I'm glad to hear that you have found some relief since your initial post. It's great that you are recognising your "triggers" and the Omeprazole has eased your reflux a little smile

      After extensive doctors visits and tests my GP and specialist both think I have gastritis. However, since my symptoms only accor after I take antibiotics they both don't believe it was the antibiotics that caused it. I disagree however but i guess that is besides the point. From the doctors and my reading i understand Gastritis is when the stomach lining is inflammed and the existing stomach acid irritates the damaged lining of your stomach causing symptoms such as reflux, nausea, bloating etc. I have been put on a high dose of Omeprazole (80mg) per day and told to take that dose for a week as it will limit the stomach acid enough so it gives my stomach lining a chance to heal. Then once my stomach lining heals and the acid no longer irritates it, I should have relief in symptoms. 

      Definitely easier said than done as I am still struggling like you. My speicalist said I need to learn about my triggers and limit any foods or activity that aggrevates it or makes my symptoms worse. I know that sugar, dairy, alcohol, and caffeine are big ones for me but I'm still figuring out what my other triggers are. Life is no fun when you have to eat super bland and socialising doesn't seem that fun anymore as you are surrounded by people who can eat and drink what they like and then you feel like a fun sponge. 

      In regards to the acid reflux, do you find it is worse in the morning or after you have been lying down? My specialist and surgeon said that when we lie down, stomach acid can get into your eosophagas which causes the nausea and the burning like symptoms. They said the high dose omeprazole will help because if there is limited acid it can't travel up the GI tract. They also suggested that i put small blocks under the head of my bed so when you sleep you are not 100% flat, you are slighlt on an angle so the acid doesn't creep up and cause damage/symptoms. 

      I tried the low FODMAP diet for a while and it was good in terms of irritable bowel. If you suffer from bloating and gas then I think this will be a really good options for you. 

      Interesting that you talk about anxiety as I too really struggle with this. With feeling so awful, I never want to socialise as much or go away on trips because I'm scared about being sick when I travel or being sick in foreign places. I too realise that when my synptoms are worse, my anxiety sky rockets. My naturopath said that our nervous system is located in our gut so when our gut is inflammed or not functioning properly, it has a direct affect on mental health (anxiety/depression etc). I am currently seeing a psychologist for anxiety as i once vomited on a plane when my tummy was really upset and now i am so scared about going on a plane. So much so that I work myself up so much about getting on a plane that i physiclaly make myself sick. Anyway- that's another issue!! But i feel better knowing that I'm not the only one that struggles with this. 

      Good luck with the stool test- let me know how you get on with that. I'm currently seeking every possible remedy for gastritis and I keep mourning the life I had before I took those antibiotics!! 


  • Posted

    Hi mj,

    After 2 rounds of doxyciline I'm having the same problems as you, since 2 months ago, and still looking for my life back.

    I'm trying probiotics and other remedies..

    Have you managed to make a good recovery ? Thanks!

    • Posted


      How are you feeling now, any better? Did you get any further testing done?

      I was doing good - saw good improvements from July - December. Then I started a stressful job, got a severe wisdom tooth infection and had to take erythromycin for a week. I took this very reluctantly since I managed to get my symptoms under control and had a much healthier appetite through the later part of last year.

      Erythromycin was easier to take than flucloxacillin. I don’t get nausea as much. However, heartburn and episodes of nausea and chills have returned, my anxiety is back with the raw feeling in my stomach, and this time I have more IBS. Loose stools, occasional D and shaky feeling when this is going on.

      I also developed a skin condition called pityriasis rosea 2 weeks after stopping the antibiotic. This has cleared up but in January I had a rash over my entire body from the neck down. It’s attributed to a compromised immune system and drug reactions which my GP confirmed.

      Interestingly, I’m not as bloated as I was last year, but still gassy, and now my lower intestines are dodgy. So, I’m getting tested for coeliac disease, fructose and lactose intolerances. I get my results back next week. I get dreadful heartburn after pasta where it feels like my body is under siege, and a raw feeling in my entire gut after too much gluten, so we’ll see.

      The good news is I got it a lot more under control. I don’t dry heave with reflux anymore and I have days where I feel ok! That’s as good as I can hope for now, but it’s honestly been dreadful experiences after taking antibiotics. Only take them if you have to. Good luck!

  • Posted

    I came to this site to help with back issues but I find myself offering suggestions for IBS victims.

    Doctors make me so mad!  Did he tell you to get your good gut flora back up?  Did he tell you antibiotics kill all the good and bad bacteria?  Did he tell you about eating more greens?  Did he tell you about eating fermented foods? Did he tell you to stop with the sugar?  Did he tell you about candida?  Did he tell you about the importance of your gall bladder?  Do you have any animals living with you?  If so, you may have parasites.  Did he tell you to take an enzyme after or before you eat? I bet not on a lot of these questions?  Chat me up if you have any other questions.  Good luck.

    Eat your 

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