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Excessive Antibiotic Use Can Also Cause Diarrhoea: Did You Know This?

Excessive Antibiotic Use Can Also Cause Diarrhoea: Did You Know This?

Beware! Severe dehydration due to diarrhoea can be life-threatening. Know what to eat and avoid when you have diarrhoea.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : July 8, 2022 8:46 PM IST

Diarrhoea is common in the monsoon season, mainly due to poor sanitation and drinking water contamination. A diarrhoea outbreak has been reported in Fatehpur area of Aliganj in Lucknow caused by contaminated water supply.

As reported by a news agency on Thursday, more than 90 persons in the area have fallen ill due to the diarrhoea outbreak, and eight of them were hospitalised with nausea and loose motions. The outbreak had reportedly claimed two lives, including a year-old child.

The residents claimed that they have been supplied the contaminated water for more than a week.

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Assistant Chief Medical Officer Dr Sandeep Singh also said that they took samples of stored water and "prima facie it appears to be contaminated."

However, the cause of contamination of water is not known yet. Shivangi Srivastava, Junior Engineer of Jal Kal Department said that are looking into it.

Diarrhoea could also be a side effect of excessive antibiotic use

Taking antibiotics for an extended time or taking more than one antibacterial medications can also cause diarrhoea. We are talking about antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.

"Infective diarrhoeas are usually caused by viruses (most common in children) or bacteria which are transmitted through contaminated food and water. Sometimes diarrhoea can also be caused by excessive antibiotic use, when the normal gut flora gets altered," said Dr. Bharat Agarwal, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals Navi Mumbai.

According to Mayo Clinic, about 1 in 5 people who take antibiotics develop antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, which refers to passing loose, watery stools three or more times a day.

Usually antibiotic-associated diarrhoea is mild and clears up within a few days after the medication is stopped. A more serious antibiotic-associated diarrhoea may require stopping or switching antibiotics.

How use of antibiotics leads to diarrhoea? It's commonly believed that diarrhoea occurs when antibiotics upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in your digestive system. When this happens, the bacteria C. difficile can quickly grow out of control, and create toxins that attack the lining of the intestine, causing diarrhoea.

Nearly all antibiotics can cause diarrhoea, but the most commonly involved ones are Macrolides (clarithromycin), Cephalosporins (cefdinir and cefpodoxime), Fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin), Penicillins (amoxicillin and ampicillin).

So, take antibiotics only when necessary to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.

What to eat and avoid when you have diarrhoea?

If you have diarrhoea, Dr. Agarwal recommends drinking plenty of fluid like ORS and fruit juices, and eating fruits, curds and probiotics.

One should avoid oily, spicy and heavy food at the time of diarrhoea, he added.

Beware! Severe dehydration or extreme loss of fluids and electrolytes can be life-threatening. Watch out for signs and symptoms like very dry mouth, intense thirst, little or no urination, dizziness, and weakness. If you have these signs and symptoms, see a doctor right away.

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