Anti-biotics and tap water question

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 8/27/2008 9:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Maybe some-one with more knowledge than me can fill in the gaps...
Prescribed anti-biotics are obviously linked with UC either developing the disease or worsening symptoms and would indicate UC is bacterial related.
But anti-biotics only kill some bacteria right?
Does a specific anti-biotic only kill certain types/strains of bacteria or does it kill some of all the bacteria it contacts?
I remember reading a report where certain types of anti-biotics were used to help UC - anyone alse have info on this?
As tap water contains chlorine (in the UK as least most places and mostly in the US?) (which kills 99.9% of all bacteria) what happens when we drink it - does it survive stomach acid? How far down the intestinal tract does it travel?
It would seem like tap water has the potential to greatly change our intestinal bacteria for better or worse...
Have any links been made between tap water and UC?

6 Asacol tabs/day
1 Pentasa Suppository / day
Fish oil 3/day (omega 3 only)
Multivitamin and mineral 1/day
Folic Acid 1/day
Aloe Vera 3/day
Specific Carbohydrate Diet SCD
Turmeric 3/day
Currently in no mans land between flare and remission

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 8/27/2008 12:28 PM (GMT -6)   
From my understanding, certain antibiotics are meant to kill off certain bacteria, but in general antibiotics kill off just about everything so the important thing is to be taking a good probiotic daily and indefinitely regardless if you're on antibiotics or reach remission or not...and it's key to take your probitotics at least 2 hours after you're done taking your antibiotics or the pros will get killed off as well.

IBDers are prone to bacterial overgrowth which tend to exacerbate our symptoms which is another reason why replenishing our systems with probiotics can be essential.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1201
   Posted 8/27/2008 4:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria, as mentioned. However, when the good bacteria has been taken away, yeast can proliferate. Yeast naturally resides in the body, and the good bacteria keeps it in check. Once the good bacteria is gone, however, the yeast can and will go crazy. It is ubiquitous. It can appear anywhere in your body. So, it is the overgrowth of yeast that can cause many health issues in people. For me, that was definitely my UC problem.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 517
   Posted 8/28/2008 8:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Different antibiotics target different bacteria, but general antibiotics will kill off anything. I've never heard of any antibiotic helping someone with UC, unless they were also infested with bad bacteria. As for chlorinated water, as far as I know the chlorine gets broken down by stomach acids, so it has no effect on your bodies bacteria count. What it does do is prevent any bacteria from multiplying in the distribution system, which means it makes the water safe to drink for a lot longer than if it is just disinfected at the treatment plant. Some people are sensitive to chlorine, so it does upset their stomach. In general (and I know that a lot of people will disagree with me) tap water in the US is safe to use without any further filtering. However, if you live in an older house/apartment, your inside piping can cause taste and odor problems, which many people then blame on the water supplier.

I hope this helps.

Diagnosed w/ moderate UC in May '06, had symptoms for years prior to dx - currently flaring
Taking Asacol, Florastor, VSL#3, Wellbutrin XL, Prozac, multi-vitamin, and fexofenadine for allergies

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2204
   Posted 8/28/2008 9:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Actually, many people with UC are treated with courses of Flagyl (metronidazole) to eliminate bacterial and protozoal infections that can mimick UC or make it worse.

However, in general, it's a good idea for IBDers to avoid antibiotics as much as possible because they disrupt good bowel ecology by killing off everything - both good and bad gut flora - that's why they're referred to as "broad spectrum" antibiotics and that's what most people are given at the drop of a hat. A course of antibiotics is sometimes the trigger that sets off ulcerative colitis - as it did in my case.

As stated above, if you must take antibiotics, follow them up with probiotics to rebuild the gut flora.
You should avoid drinking chlorinated water for the same reason - it kills off both good and bad gut flora.

Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999.
Maintenance dose sulfasalazine.
Probiotics, l-glutamine and fish oil caps. George's aloe vera juice. Oregano oil antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal. Long-term remission with only minor blips.

Post Edited (princesa) : 8/28/2008 8:08:05 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1766
   Posted 8/28/2008 9:29 AM (GMT -6)   
I can't answer the question about tap water, but usually antibiotics are not used to treat UC flares. However, there is one antibiotic--Rifaximin--that is still being tested to see if it helps UC. The study that I read said it helps 50% and doesn't help/makes worse in another 50%. When my GI put me on it, he said that Rifaximin only kills the bad bacteria. Although I was taking probiotics, Rifaximin made me worse and I had to stop it in a week.
Female, Age 19, Dx w/ UC August 2007
9 Asacol, Rowasa1000 mg Canasa, Proctofoam, Rifaximin 2/day
Digestive Advantage (Crohn's & Colitis)1 Florastor, 50 mg 6MP,1 Primadophilus reuteri, Remicade (3rd infusion 07/08), 2.4 g Lialda, 1 Forvia, 6 Colazal/day
*Step 1--09/08

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 8/28/2008 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Flagyl is an antibiotic that is commonly used for IBDers.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

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