I think l need antibiotics rather just being t... - IBS Network

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I think l need antibiotics rather just being told I have IBS

maoruiwen profile image

This all started 5 months ago. I had food poisoning and my bowels didn't return to normal functioning, and the nausea didn't go away. Fast forward to now, I have headaches, a sore throat, night sweats, constant nausea, urgent toilet trips every morning where my body just tries to evacuate everything and acid reflux.

I feel very unwell. I'm 35, very active and have been reduced to curling up in my room most nights after work and at the weekend. Friends have dropped me because they don't seem to believe I'm ill or it's not convenient. I'm not having a good time. I'm struggling at work and my manager is getting impatient. My stool test came back negative for h. Pylori therefore I have IBS. Probiotics and diet changes haven't helped. Probiotics see to be making it worse. I'm on a low FODMAP and feel weak and nutrient deficient. Plus it's made no difference. I'm really quite certain I've got some nasty bacteria lurking & a course of antibiotics might actually sort me out but I have no idea of how to get my Dr to consider this. The headaches, night sweats and general flu like feeling is not in my head.

I'm in the UK - has anyone experienced this? Sorry for the rather hectic, jumbled post.


15 Replies

Hi, sorry to hear that you are suffering. One thought - have you been checked for SIBO (this involves a breathe test)? I could not get this on the NHS so organised the test privately but some NHS Trusts will cover the test. If you google this condition you will see that you fit a lot of the symptoms and that antibiotics form a treatment option (although there are non-antibiotic routes too). It is essentially bacteria that has migrated to your small intestine and can be brought about by food poisoning I think.

PS probiotics can often make SIBO worse (and made my SIBO worse) as SIBO is not 'bad' bacteria but rather too much bacteria in the wrong place so adding more bacteria through probiotics can be a bad thing until the SIBO has been successfully eradicated.

maoruiwen profile image
maoruiwen in reply to Liz1234ty

Thank you for your reply. I've read about SIBO and have considered that. I'll have a look. I really want to just try some antibiotics as I feel exactly like I did when I had the food poisoning. If there is no joy with my Dr, I'll look for someone who specialises in SIBO. What was your SIBO treatment?

It's all been made extra complicated by having a random nodule on my thyroid which meant my GP kept assigning everything to that, when I think it's a red herring. I have a biopsy end of the month. My hospital consultant said he's very sure it's benign and my thyroid levels are perfect, so he urged me to go back to my GP about my stomach/bowel issues.

Liz1234ty profile image
Liz1234ty in reply to maoruiwen

I have my first appointment on Tues with my SIBO practitioner so can't recommend anything from experience. According to the internet Rifaximin is the main antibiotic used but not all NHS trusts prescribe it and a private prescription is really expensive. The main benefit from this is that it is poorly absorbed in the body so that the medicine hangs about where needed i.e. in stomach, small intestine etc. As others have mentioned below, there is a risk to taking antibiotics but if diet and probiotics have not worked or made it worse then you may consider this a risk worth taking.

maoruiwen profile image
maoruiwen in reply to Liz1234ty

I hope your appointment goes well. Just to almost confirm your theory, I started getting oral thrush in the week. I am taking over the counter stuff, which has got rid of it. Defo some sort of bacterial overgrowth. I'll be asking for antibiotics and if they don't prescribe them, I'll purchase Doxycycline myself.

Liz1234ty profile image
Liz1234ty in reply to maoruiwen

Thanks - fingers crossed we both feel better soon. There are a few old posts about yeast candida bacterial overgrowth on the forum so you may find something useful.

Hi there,

If that were me I would follow your gut instinct that you need antibiotics. Ask your doctor for some. Or get him to explain why he thinks that's a bad idea. The antibiotics may make things much worse (they are known to really interfere with the balance of bacteria in gut) but at least you will have experimented and drawn your own conclusions.

However I must say that what you describe is more or less how my IBS started up. And prebiotics/probiotics made things worse. I had IBS for years but I have now completely recovered. This article may be of interest to you: sickofibs.com/well-being/ib...


maoruiwen profile image
maoruiwen in reply to

Yeah, I know my body. I have mild IBS in general that comes and goes with stress and too much gluten. I'm not getting flare ups or cramps. It's one constant nausea ride with watery stools every morning, like clockwork.

Hi. I was exactly the same as you. Mine started in mid 40's. It's horrible and life changing. You just have to find what works for you food wise. I can't eat high fibre such as sprouts and leafy greens. And eating little and often is far better than a big meal. I take probiotics and folic acid. And imodium when I'm going out for few hours. When I was working I had many a disaster! Awful and stressful. I feel for you. Perhaps see your doctor again and have a private chat with your boss. Antibiotics may do more harm than good. Good luck, you are not alone. Mary

Have you never questioned your diagnosis? IBS seems to be like ME or CFS - an umbrella terms of lots of stuff Drs can't be bothered to deal with. I have mild IBS in general. This doesn't feel like it. I feel like I have mild flu + an upset stomach and have done for 4 months now.

Yeah I think it could be SIBO which food poisoning does cause at times. If your going to ask for antibiotics request the ones used for SIBO at least. They attack the bacteria in the stomach only (Xifaxan, Rifaximin, Neomycin).

The bowel side of things is actually ok. I do my urgent cowpat poo in the morning. And then I'm sorta fine for the day. The worse bit is the constant nausea and acid reflux, dizziness, headaches, muscle aches, shooting pains in my lungs and heart, night sweats. This all came with the food poisoning and never left. My Dr was simply not interested in these symptoms once she found the lump on my thyroid. I got the idea about antibiotics from this thread:


I think many cases of 'post-infectious ibs' are actually lingering bacterial infections.

I'm very cautious after a few years ago I had a cold that wouldn't go away and my Drs kept turning me away. Ended up hospitalised for a month with severe pneumonia and had to have major surgery and a spell in intensive care. I now have half a left lung. 👍

Update: I tried a different Dr.

I was treated with an antibiotic similar to Doxycycline, but I can't remember the name. This got rid of the daily loose and very urgent poops every morning, but not the nausea. So I was put on another round, plus a duo of antibiotics for H Pylori. I tested negative for H Pylori but my Dr was suspicious. The antibiotics made me feel dreadful and I had two really weird nights where I was having auditory hallucinations, but that calmed down. Within two weeks I was cured. No nausea. No loose stools. I feel better than ever.

The Dr is certain I had a very nasty infection - it took me over 5 months for someone to listen to me. I'm glad I persevered!

Hi, I was just reading through some old posts and came across this. I was just wondering how you are doing now?

Hi - Yeah all good. I was cured by the antibiotics. I think I had a nasty bacteria, maybe h-pylori. Who knows. I needed antibiotics and I'm so grateful the doctor I saw, listened.

So pleased to hear you had a happy ending! :)

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