Can antibiotics cause stomach pain?

Can antibiotics cause stomach pain?
Published : Feb 03, 2024
Last Updated : Feb 06, 2024

When it comes to eliminating bacterial infections from your body, doctors usually recommend antibiotics. This medicine provides quick relief from many symptoms by removing all the unwanted bacteria from your body.

Sometimes, antibiotics also damage the good bacteria present in your body. This further causes stomach problems. You need to know that stomach pain is one common side effect of antibiotics because antibiotics kill the normal bacteria in your stomach.

The gut bacteria or gut flora is responsible for maintaining the balance of nutrients in your stomach. You fall sick when there is a disturbance in this ecosystem.

These bacteria promote good digestion and help in the production of essential nutrients and keep your immune system healthy. When antibiotics compromise gut bacteria, you automatically start experiencing stomach pain, nausea, constipation as well as vomiting. 

Do antibiotics cause intestinal problems?

Antibiotics were once considered the miracle weapon against all types of bacterial infections. But today they have become a matter of discussion. Sometimes, doctors prescribe antibiotics even when it is not required for treating several infections. 

Although the positive effect of antibiotics is noticeable but frequent or long-term use of antibiotics can harm the required microorganisms in your body. When you use antibiotics frequently, it starts causing issues in your stomach and intestines.

Some of the main symptoms include stomach pain, abdominal pain, flatulence, and other intestinal issues. After taking antibiotics, your intestine might lack essential bacteria affecting the overall health of your intestine.

How long does stomach pain last after taking antibiotic pills?

The pain might last for a few days and hardly for the complete period while taking your antibiotics. If the pain is mild then you must follow the measures recommended by the doctor to treat stomach ache. 

On the other hand, if the pain is severe then stop taking the dose and contact your gastroenterologist quickly. To decrease the side effects of antibiotics and stop stomach pain, you must keep all your good bacteria safe.

How to deal with stomach pain when taking antibiotics?

Here are some ways that can help you to deal with stomach pain while taking antibiotics:


The best way of reducing the side effect of antibiotics on your stomach is by consuming yogurt. It is prepared by milk fermentation and contains various live enzymes that further aid in digestion and offer a restoring environment to your gut flora. Some of the other fermented food items that contain good bacteria are cheese, tempeh, and salami. But before purchasing them, make sure to check their label and buy the one with the label of live and active culture.


Probiotic supplements work similarly to yogurt. They can be found in the pill or beverages and are useful immediately. In case, you feel sick after taking antibiotics, then take a dose of probiotics at the time of the treatment course. 


Eating fiber is considered a healthy way to aid the growth of beneficial bacteria. Avoid consuming high-fiber-rich foods along with ongoing antibiotic treatment as it can affect the absorption of your medication.

After completing your treatment with antibiotics, you can start eating fiber-rich food items such as beans, broccoli, lentils, peas, and whole grains as they promote the growth of good bacteria and relieve stomach pain.   


It is important to know that garlic contains prebiotics. Adding garlic to your diet is one of the best ways to stop stomach pain. Garlic is known for hating harmful gut bacteria and favors only good bacteria, assuring a healthy stomach.

In different forms, you can add garlic to your menu either by cooking or just adding in raw chopped pieces. Some other food items that contain low levels of prebiotics are onions, bananas, and chicory root.  

Vitamin K

Another unfavorable effect that antibiotics can have on your body is the alleviation of vitamin K levels. 

You need to know that vitamin K aids your body in recovering from cuts and wounds by assisting blood clot formation. In order to maintain the levels of vitamin K, make sure you eat parsley, spinach, collards, and kale.

While adding some food items to your diet, certain items must be avoided during your treatment with antibiotics.

Take it with or without food

Before starting your treatment, it is vital to check the label present on your antibiotics. Does it suggest taking them with food or on an empty stomach only?

In either case, it is important to follow the directions strictly. Some antibiotics are absorbed in a much better way when taken on an empty stomach. So, do not limit their effectiveness.

However, if the label says, to take your antibiotics with food to ease stomach problems then follow the recommendation.

Also, it is necessary to drink plenty of water to avoid the problem of dehydration. You can also use rehydrating beverages high in electrolytes if required.

Avoid the consumption of alcohol and caffeine, if both items are making your diarrhea worse. Remember alcohol might cause serious reactions when taken with antibiotics. It is always better to eat a balanced diet during the treatment with antibiotics.

It is always better to take certain caution to save yourself from unpleasant side effects.

Take the right amount of antibiotics every day

When it comes to taking antibiotics, be precise and do not overdose underdose, or double dose. Though overdosing might have less effect on the bacterial infection you are trying to fight overdosing can increase the power of the medication and lead to various problems like an upset stomach.

Remember your prescription is going to be written only for the time the antibiotic takes to fight off the bacterial infection. If you fail to take antibiotics as prescribed then bacteria left in your body can start to spread the infection again. It might be also possible that antibiotics do not work properly when you take them next time.

Therefore, following the above points can help you to avoid stomach pain while taking antibiotics. 


Antibiotics play a vital role in combating bacterial infections, but they may also disrupt the balance of beneficial gut bacteria. Due to this imbalance, you can face problems like stomach pain and other gastrointestinal issues. You must be aware of these potential side effects and take steps to manage them. You can take probiotics, yogurt, fiber, garlic, and vitamin K into your diet to prevent the side effects of antibiotics. Following your doctor's advice, stay hydrated to help your body alleviate discomfort quickly. By maintaining a balanced diet and taking dosage as prescribed, you can minimize the adverse effects on your gut health while benefiting from the antibiotic treatment.

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