How To Treat Diarrhoea Caused By Antibiotics

Before antibiotics were discovered in the 1900s, bacterial infections were a feared enemy of modern society. Antibiotics changed everything – saving millions of lives and offering an effective tool to battle deadly infections. Fast forward to now, and antibiotics, while still incredibly useful, are sadly claiming the lives of our beneficial gut bacteria, which has been linked to uncomfortable side effects such as children’s antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Read “6 Questions To Ask Your Doctor Before Antibiotics. here.

Of course, losing a bit of gut bacteria to save you from a nasty infection is a no-brainer; however, the loss of beneficial bacteria from multiple courses of antibiotics can cost your child so much more over a lifetime. In fact, losses of good bacteria have been linked to a greater risk of children’s poor immune function, skin conditions (children’s eczema and children’s rashes), digestive disorders and even mental health symptoms; this is why protecting your child’s gut bacteria is a top priority for good children’s health.

The most important thing when taking antibiotics is managing loss of good bacteria during and after every treatment. This means having strategies to help protect your children’s inner health, so that you can deal with children’s antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, and other issues linked to a loss of good bacteria. This comes down to two things: protecting gut bacteria when your child needs to take antibiotics, and, reducing the need for antibiotics.

Probiotic Protection to Reduce Children’s Diarrhoea

A combination of specific probiotic strains (types) can reduce children’s antibiotic-associated diarrhoea while also helping recover gut microbiome after antibiotics. Taking a good quality probiotic can assist in rebuilding beneficial gut flora (bacteria). Some of the most researched bacterial strains that reduce children’s antibiotic-associated diarrhoea include: 

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae (boulardii). 

To date, these specific strains have been the most successful in preventing children’s antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. It’s important to note that antibiotics can affect your child’s gut bacteria for up to two weeks after they stop taking them.  Ensuring your child takes probiotics from the start of their antibiotic course until a minimum of two weeks after they finish will give the gut bugs the support they need.

Support Children’s Immune System to Reduce Your Need for Antibiotics

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised us to limit the use of antibiotics to the most essential situations. This is because using them too frequently or inappropriately can help infectious bacteria develop resistance to their antibacterial mechanisms, eclipsing their utility. For this reason, limiting the chances of needing antibiotics in the first place does the world a huge favour.

Bolstering your child’s immunity against infection is the smartest way to reduce the need for antibiotics and curb the risk of related side effects. Here are my best tips on how to do this:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue (or into their elbow if they don’t have tissues), and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Try to avoid touching their face, and wash hands before and after if they do.
  • Improve health with nutrition, better sleep and stress management to avoid getting sick in the first place.
  • Have a handy natural ‘First Aid’ kit equipped with remedies to limit the severity of an infection, so your child can recover quickly.

Let Your Bugs Bounce Back!

Thanks to modern medicine, we’ve been afforded the freedom to thrive without bacterial infections cutting our lives short. However, with this comes the responsibility of ensuring that antibiotic therapy is used wisely, by being mindful and modest in how often we use antibiotics. When your child does need them, it is important to support the gut bacteria with probiotics in order to prevent side effects such as children’s antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.



To make an appointment with Fiona Stock, naturopath in Melbourne, Contact I’m here to assist you and your child on your journey to better children’s health.

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