Warning to anyone given antibiotics as a child as new ‘side effects’ emerge

A WARNING has been issued to anyone who was given antibiotics as a child.

The pills are often prescribed to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection.


If you were given antibiotics as a child then you might be more susceptible to poor gut health, researchers have foundCredit: Getty

Now experts at the the University of Melbourne in Australia have revealed that those given the medication in infancy may be at risk of poor gut health in adult life.

They explained that preterm and low birth weight babies are often given antibiotics to prevent infection.

The study published in The Journal of Physiology found that early life exposure to antibiotics in neonatal mice has long-lasting effects on their microbiota, enteric nervous system, and gut function.

This could mean that babies given antibiotics may grow up to experience gastrointestinal issues.

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This could include conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, food poisoning, gas, bloating and diarrhoea.

Lead physiologist, Dr Jaime Foong said: “We are very excited about the findings of our study which show that antibiotics given after birth could have prolonged effects on the enteric nervous system.

“This provides further evidence of the importance of microbiota on gut health and could introduce new targets to advance antibiotic treatment to very young children.”

It is however important to note that the study was conducted on neonatal mice.

Experts gave the animals an oral dose vancomycin every day for the first ten days of their lives.

Then they were reared normally until they were young adults, and their gut tissue was looked at to measure its structure, function, microbiota, and nervous system.

Medics found that changes were also dependent on the sex of the mice.

The female mice had a long whole gut transit.

This refers to how long it takes a person to digest something, so how long the food takes to move through the colon.

Medics also discovered that the weight of the males poop was lower than the group that had not had the antibiotics.

Both sexes had more liquid in their poo, which is a diarrhoea-like symptom.

The experts stated that while mice are similar to humans in many ways, they have more immature guts.

They also have accelerated growth due to their shorter life spans.

However, their guts and nervous systems are less complex than humans, and the medics added that their findings cannot yet be directly associated to human children and infants.

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More research will now be carried out on the impact of antibiotics on the gut and how it changes for different sexes.

Experts said they will also look at how antibiotic use in earlier life affects metabolism and brain function.

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