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Antibiotics and helpful bacteria

Question from John of New Hampshire, USA

I am on an antibiotic called CEFTIN. It lists side effects about losing certain bacteria you need in you system, but does not tell you what to do to get it back.

Dear John:

Antibiotics can kill many of the helpful bacteria as well as the harmful ones, leading to such side effects as thrush (yeast in the mouth), vaginal yeast, and diarrhea. These side effects are often self limited (when the antibiotic is stopped and your own "good" bacteria regrow over several days naturally), however, specific treatments may be needed in cases where abnormal bacteria dominate and can even involve another antibiotic.

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