How do you restore your gut flora after taking a course of antibiotics? Here are ten tips I’ve provided my clients over the years.
1. Finish the antibiotic treatment as prescribed: It doesn’t make sense to take the antibiotics for a day or two and then stop. If you need the treatment, finish the course. If you are getting side effects or an allergic reaction from the antibiotics, you need to let your doctor know right away. Stop taking the medication if signs of an allergy surface.
2. Don’t let your next step be more antibiotics: If the first round of antibiotics didn’t work, don’t take another round unless it is absolutely necessary. Some of the sickest clients I had during my career as a naturopath, took antibiotics repeatedly and severely damaged their gut function as a result.
3. Eat well for several weeks: You’re not going to get your gut right unless you eat good food. A critical step in restoring your gut health is to make sure you’re eating well.
4. If you get sick again, see a naturopath or a functional medicine doctor: You may want to get a comprehensive stool analysis to see what needs to be cleared up. It will help you decide what you need to do next to clear up your gut. It may be that you have a yeast infection that needs to be addressed.
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5. You need to rest up: Rest is best, as they say. If you can take time off work, do. If you push through instead of resting, you can end up with adrenal problems, thyroid problems, and fatigue. Cancel your social functions and spend time relaxing.
6. Engage in light exercise: You’re not going to get your gut in high spec, if you overexercise. Do some light exercise, but don’t push your stress hormone axis by training for three hours a day.
7. Get to bed on time: You need a lot of sleep to facilitate gut recovery. Better sleep patterns will help you recuperate faster.
8. No alcohol: Alcohol and soda drinks are not a good idea when you are trying to restore gut function after antibiotics. It worries me if people find it hard to take a break from alcohol – it may mean that they have a problem with drinking that is also harming the gut.
9. If you’re not getting better, get more testing: If you are having allergies and gut problems despite a healthy stool test, do some further testing. Take a look at your adrenal function through a salivary cortisol test. You may also need to look at your iodine levels and thyroid function. If you have hormonal problems, it sets you up for recurrent infections.
10. Don’t come off probiotics in a hurry: It’s crucial to stay on probiotics for the long haul to recover fully. For every week you were on antibiotics, you can easily stay on probiotics for four to eight weeks. Make sure you have a healthy gut long before you discontinue your probiotics.