Ask a Nutritionist: Antibiotics Advice

The Gut Stuff reader:

I’ve recently had helicobacter pylori followed by antibiotics to clear it. Any advice for getting my gut better?

Jeanette Answers:

Hullo and great question. Sorry to hear you have been through that. For those who haven’t heard about this, H Pylori is a bacterial infection of the gut, where bacteria drill spiral shaped holes into the lining of the stomach and can cause stomach ulcers. This can result in chronic heartburn, nausea, burping, and sometimes a burning pain in the stomach, soon after eating. You can catch this bacteria from a dirty glass or spoon. Interestingly, some people carry H pylori bacteria but never get any symptoms, so don’t need to worry about it. But if you do experience chronic heartburn and nausea, it is well worth checking in with your GP who can test for it with a breath or stool test. The bacterial infection is then cleared up using our “friends” antibiotics. As you may know, antibiotics kill nasty bacteria, but also wipe out lots of the good ones that help manage our weight, our mood, and our immune system.  So it’s a good idea after an experience like this to give your gut lots of love and attention.  My two immediate suggestions after finishing the antibiotics would be: a big glass of fermented milk kefir each day to parachute billions of friendly bacteria into the gut and replenish stocks after the antibiotics. A 12 hour fast overnight, or miss breakfast two mornings a week so you have a 15-hour fast.  Only drink water or herbal teas during the fast. A long stretch of time without food gives good bacteria a chance to flourish and regrow for better health. 

No advice in this column is designed to override any by your medical doctor and should not be relied on as a substitute for specialist dietary advice. If you have any concerns about your health, visit your general practitioner, or medical consultant. 

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