New research finds that antibiotic treatment may not only affect the bacteria in our gut, but our future generation of children.
The study involved pregnant mice who had previously been given antibiotics. Researchers found the changes in gut bacteria that had occurred due to antibiotics, were passed to the newborn mice with potential long-term disease consequences.
This study also included mice with a higher risk for colitis which is a type of IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease. The mice were split into two groups, one group had been exposed to antibiotics and the other group had normal gut bacteria.
Five months after the mice gave birth, researchers discovered the babies whose mothers had been given antibiotics had substantially worse colitis. This is concerning because in humans, antibiotic exposure is linked to a higher risk for IBD. And this study showed it could potentially affect our next generation.
- Please avoid unnecessary antibiotic use. They don’t work for viral infections like colds, flu or sore throats.
- Take antibiotics only when prescribed by your doctor. Never share or reuse leftover antibiotics.
- Finish your prescription even if you start to feel better. Only stop if your doctor tells you to.
- Take preventative steps. Wash your hands often, avoid close contact with sick people and keep your vaccinations up to date.
Overusing antibiotics is a huge concern as this has led to certain bacteria strains becoming more resistant to them - opening the door to potentially untreatable superbugs. Antibiotic resistance does happen naturally, but when we misuse antibiotics, it only accelerates the process.