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Antibiotics Have Long-Term Impacts on Your Gut Flora

Even short courses of antibiotics can leave your gut harboring antibiotic resistance genes for up to two years. This reservoir increases the chances of resistance genes being transferred to pathogenic bacteria.

Eurekalert reports:

“The impact of antibiotics on the normal gut flora has previously been thought to be short-term, with any disturbances being restored several weeks after treatment. However ... high levels of resistance genes can be detected in gut microbes after just 7 days of antibiotic treatment and that these genes remain present for up to two years even if the individual has taken no further antibiotics.”

In related news, babies treated with antibiotics for middle-ear infections or other problems may have increased odds of developing inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers found that among children with either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, the two main forms of IBD, 58 percent had been prescribed at least one course of antibiotics before they were one year old.