How to Bring a Healthy Balance Back to Your Gut
This past week, my daughter without CSID got strep throat. For most families, this would not be a concern. Simply go to the doctor, get antibiotics and within a few days all should be back to normal. However, in our home, using antibiotics can result in weeks or months of digestive problems. My biggest concern was that Parker would catch strep from his sister and require antibiotics. This would put him in a highly sensitive state, and reverse much of the progress he has made in recent months. Worse, his diet would become highly limited on the cusp of school starting again, and he could potentially lose weight.
So far, he is not showing any signs of illness. Upon his sister’s diagnosis, I had him on a preventative dose of 1000mg Vitamin C (Emergen-C packs sweetened with fructose), plus gargling with Echinacea and salt water three times per day. Salt water may wash away bacteria, while vitamin C and Echinacea build immune-system strength.
However, with this current threat to Parker’s digestive health, I thought I would also list the additional steps to take if antibiotics are needed in the future.
For a normal, healthy person without digestive issues, it can take up to 5 years for good bacteria to rebuild in the digestive tract! You can imagine how difficult it is for someone with digestive problems to recover.
However, I have good news. If you are prepared and take precautions, a course of antibiotics does not have to take months or years to get over.
First, it is important to have plenty of digestive-friendly foods on hand. These include eggs, green vegetables, homemade chicken broth, plain yogurt, liquid chlorophyll, lemons and berries. Fruit and yogurt smoothies and scrambled eggs with mixed and softened non-starchy vegetables are among the easiest, nutritional options while recovering from an illness.
Removing dairy products except for plain yogurt may also be needed. Avoid the normal “B.R.A.T.” diet if antibiotic use results in diarrhea. For those of us with carbohydrate intolerance, Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast can exacerbate symptoms. Ideally, implement the Induction Diet I describe for the first phase of controlling CSID symptoms. It may take three weeks or longer to recover from a course of antibiotics, but it is important to avoid sugars and starches until normal bowel movements occur. In addition, probiotic supplements and digestive support supplements are crucial.
Finally, if starches are normally tolerated, reducing or eliminating starchy foods for ten days or longer may be needed. Antibiotics kill all the good and bad bacteria in your gut. Unfortunately, harmful bacteria grow quickly and thrive on sugars and starches. Your goal is to increase good bacteria first, which will result in a healthier balance and few digestive problems.
Although I am an advocate for natural remedies, our family has had too many serious strains of strep to consider avoiding antibiotics. However, I believe we have avoided spreading strep throat by taking precautions once we are exposed and before symptoms occur. In addition, being aware of the steps to take to bring our bellies back into balance after illness helps us to recover quickly with little long-term consequences.