Dangers of Antibiotics: Case Study

A column in The Telegraph by a doctor named James Le Fanu describes the following case:

It started eight years ago when he was laid low, while on holiday in Sri Lanka, by diarrhea. His symptoms cleared with antibiotics but he was left with a churning gut and frequent loud belching. This carried on for a couple of years until, listening to Farming Today, he heard an Australian vet talking about his belching sheep. “I got in touch and explained that I seemed to be behaving like one of his flock,” he writes. The vet suggested his bowel infection might have interfered with the gut enzymes for metabolising sugars, causing him to be intolerant of fructose. A test dose of orange juice immediately brought on his symptoms, and his gut problems settled on reducing his sugar intake.

In other words, no one consulted about this case, including the Australian vet and Dr. Le Fanu, seems to have understood that (a) a large fraction of our digestion is done by bacteria and (b) antibiotics kill bacteria. If you take antibiotics you risk digestive problems. I predict the belching would have gone away had he started eating fermented foods with bacteria that digest sugar. It was certainly worth a try.


7 Replies to “Dangers of Antibiotics: Case Study”

  1. It strikes me as a massive violation of the Hippocratic Oath that doctors routinely prescribe anti-biotics without prescribing pro-biotics. My girlfriend once prescribed acidophilus to a patient and the pharmacist refused to fill it, feeling it was inappropriate.

  2. By the way, reading a great book, “Bacteria for Breakfast” by a Professor of Pharmacology (!) at Penn State (author’s name is Kelly Karpa). It cites a lot of studies but is also a good popular read on the important role of bacteria in our body.

Comments are closed.