5 Ways to Heal Your Gut After Antibiotics

5 Ways to Heal Your Gut After Antibiotics NaturalFamilyToday.com

Are you looking to heal your gut after antibiotics? I can certainly understand, as I was in the same position just a couple of months ago.

I had to go through an intense few months of antibiotic treatment. Though I had gone to the dentist and doctor regularly, an infection in my jaw bone was missed repeatedly over the course of 2 years.

The infection had spread over that time span and had become fairly serious. I was scheduled for surgery and was put on a course of long-term antibiotics. This included one month of at-home IV antibiotics. I administered my own infusions every 6 hours around the clock.

When Antibiotics are Unavoidable

The best thing to do would be to avoid antibiotics all together, but this is not always an option. Sometimes antibiotics are the best course of treatment. I feel that was the case with my infection, as 2 years of my body fighting an unknown infection was far more detrimental to my health.

I am lucky that I had previously been focusing on eating real food and plenty of probiotic foods, as it saved me a lot of trouble. Even so, I did suffer some effects from the antibiotics and my gut needed healing.

I've decided to share what I did here so that you can heal your gut after antibiotics as well.

Symptoms of Bad Gut Health:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Gas or bloating
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Repeat yeast/candida infections
  • Feeling generally unwell

If you know that you will be on a course of antibiotics, it's best to start the following healing protocols as soon as possible.

Don't worry if you can't do everything right now. Anything you do to promote gut health before, during, and after antibiotic treatment is better than nothing.

Here are 5 things you can do to heal your gut after antibiotics:

1.) Real Food

The last thing your body needs while it's trying to heal is a bombardment of additives, preservatives, trans fats, and otherwise “fake” foods. What is Real Food? It is simply any food in it's most naturally obtainable form.

Mainstays of a balanced real food diet include real salt, healthy saturated fats, protein, properly prepared grains, and a variety of vegetables.

What to do:

Limit your consumption of sugar and simple carbs, as bad bacteria in the gut thrive on these foods. You may find it best to eliminate these foods altogether while you are healing from antibiotics.

Stop eating processed and packaged foods, or limit your consumption of these foods as much as possible if you cannot stop eating them completely. Replace them with fresh ingredients whenever possible. Check labels and look for healthier alternatives to your favorite foods.

2.) Probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria that are needed by the body to promote good digestion and gut health.

Antibiotics don't just kill the infection and bad bacteria within our bodies. They destroy the probiotics (the good bacteria) as well.

Because these good bacteria are being destroyed, it's important that we replace them as quickly as possible. It's also important that we introduce as many varieties of probiotics into our bodies as possible. The more variety we have in our system, the better it is able to keep the bad bacteria out.

“Antibiotics don’t just kill the infection and bad bacteria within our bodies. They destroy the probiotics (the good bacteria) as well.”

The most widely known strain of probiotic bacteria is Lactobacillus, which is sold in over the counter probiotic supplements and can also be found in foods such as yogurt, cheese, and naturally fermented foods such as pickles (not the vinegar pickles commonly found in stores).

Lactobacillus is just one strain of probiotic among many, and as I said before, the more strains of probiotics that populate your digestive system the better.

The best way to get a variety of probiotic strains into your digestive system is by eating a variety of fermented and cultured foods, which are foods that have been preserved and populated with naturally occurring strains of good bacteria.

Probiotic Foods to Consider:

Yogurt – For the complete beginner, I recommend starting with yogurt. If you're buying it from the store, make sure it's plain organic yogurt with no added sugar or other ingredients. Or you can make homemade yogurt for much cheaper.

Milk Kefir – If you are used to yogurt, and you're ready to go for even more healing, I recommend milk kefir. While yogurt typically only has a few strains of probiotics, kefir usually has anywhere from 24-36. This makes it much more potent and effective at repopulating the gut with good bacteria.

Water Kefir – Often known as the “healthy soda”, water kefir feeds on sugar and produces dozens of strains of healthy probiotics. It is popular because it can be flavored in many different ways to make a pleasant probiotic drink.

Kombucha – This naturally fermented tea drink is made from a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) that feeds on the sugar and caffeine in the tea.

(learn how to make your own kombucha)

Fermented Vegetables – Before we began canning, freezing, and pickling foods with vinegar, our ancestors used a more natural approach to preserving vegetables. This process is called fermentation, and it can be done just as easily today. In fact, you will be surprised at just how easy it is!

Popular fermented vegetables include fermented pickles, fermented salsa, and homemade sauerkraut, which can all be easily made at home. If you don't have the desire to make your own, you can buy fermented vegetables from a few select companies.

How to Adjust to Probiotic Foods

If you are not used to taking probiotic foods, or your gut health is very imbalanced following antibiotics, you will need to ease into eating probiotic foods slowly.

Learn how to start eating probiotic foods.

3.) Prebiotics

Prebiotic foods have a very important job when it comes to healing your gut. Basically, prebiotics are nondigestible food ingredients that make it easier for beneficial bacteria to thrive within your digestive system.

Many foods do this, but prebiotics are special in that they not only create a good environment for good bacteria, but selectively stimulate the growth of these good bacteria.

Identified Prebiotics Foods:

  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Honey
  • Bananas
  • Onions
  • Chicory root
  • Jerusalem artichokes

A small amount of one of these prebiotic foods should be eaten daily in addition to probiotic foods in order to promote the growth of good bacteria within your digestive system.

4.) Bone Broth and Gelatin

Bone broth and gelatin can help your body heal and restore the mucosal lining in your digestive system (which can be damaged during antibiotic use or through poor diet).  They are also anti-inflammatory foods.

Bone broth already contains gelatin, so if you are consuming homemade bone broth you will not necessarily need to supplement your diet with other forms of gelatin. Most commercial gelatin comes from animal sources, so those who do not consume bone broth can eat foods made with gelatin to reap the benefits.

Read everything you need to know abut the different kinds of gelatin at Butter Nutrition. Learn how to make bone broth here.

If you want to learn more about how bone broth can benefit your health, I highly recommend Broth: Elixir of Life by Loving Our Guts.

5.) Healing Diet

Those who find only limited healing with the above suggestions or who want to heal faster may choose to eat an intensive healing diet. These healing diets are usually known as “gut healing diets”, the most notable being the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet.

My family followed the GAPS diet for a few months in 2012 in order to kickstart our healing from various digestive issues, allergies, and more. I credit the GAPS diet for teaching much of what I know about healing foods and reverted to much of what I had learned from GAPS in order to heal from my use of long term antibiotics.


I would love to hear your experiences or suggestions in healing from antibiotic use int he comments.

Are you trying to heal your gut?






image credit: Tips Times

FREE Introductory Guide to Medicinal Herbs

FREE Medicinal Herbs

Subscribe to receive 3 FREE ebooks, including our guide to medicinal herbs.

Sign up to download absolutely free.


Sign up to download my
Low Carb Meal Ideas Ebook absolutely FREE!
The following two tabs change content below.
Vanessa Pruitt
Vanessa has lost 80lbs on a keto/low carb diet and is a certified wellness coach. Her goal is to inspire others to get healthier through a ketogenic diet, fitness, and mindful living. She also writes at Nerdy Millennial.

31 thoughts on “5 Ways to Heal Your Gut After Antibiotics

  1. Very informative, I make milk kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, everything naturally fermented. It is so easy to make it and it very cheap when made in home. Tasty and does not contain Vinegar. :))

  2. Despite the fact that I have been eating a healthy diet for many years, I too developed infections that required several rounds of antibiotics. I therefore value the suggestions in your post. I have been using probiotics intermittently, however I am going to be more consistent this time. I have made sauerkraut, pickles and rejuvelac. I love to eat kimchi and I drink kombucha too. Apple cider vinegar is part of my daily diet as well. I am so glad I found this post on Party Wave Wednesday. Again, thanks.

  3. Great information! I was hoping to see 4 more ways besides what I am already doing but because I am on GAPS I’m already doing them all. I was having 14+ seizures a day until I got on the GAPS diet. I haven’t been doing everything I’m supposed to like the broth and probiotics for about 4 months so I kind of regressed but I was almost able to eat everything without having seizures recently and I’m still pretty close to that. I had a HUGE improvement in my health, no seasonal allergies, and I hardly ever have seizures now. I haven’t gotten sick in about a year, I used to get sick every month and even if I do get sick now I don’t have to go to the doctor anymore for it because of how these 5 steps have influenced my body. However, I’m unsure if similar effects could be achieved by store bought (pasteurized specifically) probiotics since everything I used was alive (raw). Also, I use garlic oil along with a few other things to boost my immune system whenever I get sick or to treat any infection and it works better than antibiotics. The only thing I would like to see in your post is more on the symptoms of bad gut health such as psychiatric disorders and so on. Kindly, I would appreciate any suggestions if you know anything else I can do to help heal my epilepsy to food sensitivities.

    1. Kathleen, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your story. I have not done more research on healing specific to epilepsy. I appreciate your recommendation to include into on symptoms of bad gut health and will put it on my list to possibly add to or write a new post in the future. Have a great day!

  4. This has really helped me to progress my gut healing. I thought it was enough to make my own homemade yogurt, and more recently, incorporating water kefir into my diet. Your post has given me so much more information on other things to do which I’m certain will help me out even more.

    I’m particularly interested in bone broth. I did a lot of reading up on grass fed cows, and how the saturated fat can help with a lot of health issues. My local farm rears organic grass fed cows, and I’ve been getting my dairy and meat from them for a while. I’ve just found out that they sell bones for making stock/broth in their farm shop too, so this is going to be the next thing I get going with. The link you gave to making the slow cooker bone broth sounds very easy, and right up my street.

    Many thanks for the great information.

  5. Whenever you hear about probiotics, all you hear about is yogurt. So it is good to see there are other foods besides that. But in addition to diet, there are also probiotic supplements.

    I’ve done a lot of research on probiotics, because I needed to find a way to stop recurring yeast infections. There is growing research, and studies, that show they can help fight it.

  6. I have had a horrible ongoing ear infection and fluid draining issues for almost two months. I’ve avoided taking antibiotics for several reasons, among them: I’m nursing and really don’t want to mess up my 8-month-old’s perfect gut flora; I’ve avoided taking antibiotics for almost 5 years and have turned to natural methods of healing my issues; This particular physician definitely overprescribes antibiotics, so I felt unsure.

    But here I sit, 8 weeks later. Never fully healed (I sure felt pretty good for a couple weeks though — just with a “fullness” in my ear), and it’s coming back full-force now. I feel awful but I think I just need to take the drugs. For some reason this feels like a major decision for me. I feel awful about it.

    I’m already taking probiotics and I’m about to take my first pill. I’m going to use some of my frozen milk in the next 10 days for the babe and put probiotics in her bottles too. Hopefully that will help her little gut. She has only gotten one little cold and one day that I think was teething in the last almost 9 months. Don’t want to mess up our good thing now!

    Thank you for the pointers. I’m vegetarian so I’m not going to eat bone broth (a bummer, I know — seems like a good one!) But I love kumbuch and I will hopefully find a love for sauerkraut, etc in the next 10 days — we have a great local brinery, etc.I already eat a probably 90% real food diet — I’m a personal chef and help others do the same! I’ve largely cut out dairy and sugar already in the last two months (although, to be honest, I eat very little of both anyway). I even take shots of apple cider vinegar and use it with flax seed oil as a salad dressing. I’ve never had water kefir, but I’ll pick it up and try it.

    I know I’m going to at least feel better 24 hours from now so that will help. Thank you!

  7. I developed fructose intolerance because my mucosa lining was damaged by long term antibiotic treatments for rheumatic fever, which resulted in my inability to produce the enzymes necessary to digest fruit sugars. I can no longer eat fruit, or if I do, it causes severe cramping due to excess acid and gas, with diarrhea and constipation at the same time. I avoid High fructose corn syrup, but sometimes I eat it on accident because it is in everything, and it makes me sick.

    I have been eating yogurt regularly for years, and kimchi when I can get it, but my gut has not healed. My immune system is weak and I catch every cold and flu that comes along, even though I have had a flu shot. I’m a terrible cook, so I haven’t attempted to make my own kimchi or sour crout. I am frustrated and wish there was a simpler way to heal my mucosa. I will try the bone broth. Thanks!

    1. Kefir and yogurt both give me gas and bloating because I seem to have developed lactose intolerance at the same time as the fructose intolerance. I take lactaid to help me digest the milk products. I wish there was a fructose digestive aid.

  8. Thank you for the article. I am on my way to the store for some of these foods mentioned. I had Strep and was placed on Penicillin for 10 days, now its time to recuperate. More so, I heard watermelon was a good food choice after antibiotics. ?

  9. Would you suggest doing the GAPS diet while on antibiotics long term? I am getting ready to start 2 months of intense antibiotics. I really don’t want to entirely kill my gut. I am definitely going to be taking high quality probiotics and eating saurkraut with every meal that I can manage. But my husband is getting ready to start the GAPS diet (our first time) and I wondered if I should just do it with him during the antibiotics, or wait until afterwards.

  10. this helped alot i’ve cut my hand hand i’m on anti-biotics and this helped me understand alot and really explained some things to me that wher troubling me I tried doing some of these like with in a half hour of reading this and I already feel better.

  11. My gut lining has been seriously damage because of antibiotics , Mercury , candida and mold
    Poisoning, I m bedridden in a terrible
    Suffering . Histaminosis don’t let me eat even
    Healthy foods , fermented ,fruits .. I think I ll die soon

  12. My gut linning has been seriously damage because of antibiotics , Mercury , candida and mold
    Poisoning, I m bedridden in a terrible
    Suffering . Histaminosis don’t let me eat even
    Healthy foods , fermented ,fruits .. I think I ll die soon

  13. I have been on antibiotics for the past 5 weeks. I initially was misdiagnose for a bug bite and had taken Bactrim for 10 days. Three days later my symptoms came back, now getting treated for Lyme Disease. I will be ending my 21 day treatment of Doxycyclline very soon.

    Is this a avenue I should follow after I complete my antibiotic?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Blog Updates!

**This page may contain affiliate links. This blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Read full disclosure here.