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Antibiotics Cause–Then Cure–IBS

Q. For over 30 years, my husband dealt with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). He came to suspect that the problem might have been triggered by over-prescription of antibiotics.

We tried medical treatment, home remedies, herbal remedies and dietary changes to little effect. Ironically, this year he caught Lyme disease and was fortunate that a very visible bulls-eye rash led to an expeditious prescription of doxycycline for 21 days. (He hadn’t had any illness requiring an antibiotic in decades).

Within a few days of beginning treatment, the IBS symptoms disappeared and have remained gone for months now. Could IBS be cured by treating intestinal bacteria?

A. Overuse of antibiotics may indeed contribute to disruption of intestinal microbes. Paradoxically, there is some evidence that targeted antibiotic treatment might help restore a better balance of belly bugs and control symptoms of IBS (Current Gastroenterology Reports, online, Sept. 4, 2012).

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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