Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 16 Apr 2017 Prolonged antibiotic ...

Prolonged antibiotics use may cause cancer

Published Apr 16, 2017, 1:47 am IST
Updated Apr 16, 2017, 7:14 am IST
Experts point out that antibiotics are important to kill harmful bacteria and control the infection in the body.
 Experts point out that antibiotics are important to kill harmful bacteria and control the infection in the body.

Hyderabad: Prolonged use of antibiotics including penicillin, quinolones and metronidazole for a long period of time kills the normal microflora in the gut and could cause bowel cancer in some cases, according to a research study published in the medical journal Gut.

Various studies published from 2010 to 2016 have shown that overuse of antibiotics increased the chances of developing colorectal cancer by 8 to 11 per cent.Experts point out that antibiotics are important to kill harmful bacteria and control the infection in the body. Dr Ramesh Kumar, head of the gastroenterology department in Osmania General Hospital said, “Antibiotics are used for only six to seven days in the general population and whatever is destroyed is again recreated by the body.

Hence there is no problem for normal people. Those who are on long-term antibiotics like diabetics, tuberculosis patients and those suffering from long-term illness develop resistance to the antibiotics as the harmful bacteria covers the lining of the intestines. They require other stronger medicines to overcome the resistance.”

Studies which have followed up more than 1 lakh patients state that destruction of the gut flora leads to inflammation and causes polyps, a cauliflower or mushroom shaped growth in the large intestine.

Dr S. Chandrika, gastroenterologist, said the misuse of antibiotics was very high in the country but it was not the only cause of colorectal cancer. It can be one of the factors but not necessarily the main reason. There is no direct link established between the different classes of antibiotic medicines and colorectal cancer.”

Doctors state that the main reasons for colorectal cancer are the lifestyle habits like consumption of red meat, highly processed foods and less fibre foods accompanied with issues of severe constipation in the patient.The destruction of gut flora affects the digestion system and it aggravates the existing condition in the body.

No alternative, patients have to take harsh meds
Antibiotic use is the highest among patients with tuberculosis and those who suffer from critical illness, hospital acquired infections and other diseases where they have no option but to take the medicines to fight the harmful bacteria.
Dr H.R. Kishan, chest physician, said, “A tuberculosis patient is asked to have a balanced diet along with the huge list of medicines. They are advised to go high on proteins as it helps the body build the immunity to fight the bacteria and the side-effects of these medicines.”He said such patients were told to consult the doctor for the side-effects as they can then be given other medicines.

“Antibiotics are the only way out but there is a large section of general population which takes antibiotics for viral fevers, cold and cough which is not required. They are not only creating resistance but also damaging their digestive system,” Dr Kishan said.Self-medication of antibiotics is another major problem and for that reason the latest prescription from doctors is important to control the misuse.

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad


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