In this modern era of healthcare and treatment, antibiotics are revered for their fast acting capabilities as well as their ability to treat many different illnesses. Ranging from common colds to more serious infections, antibiotics are being promoted as one of the best options you can choose for a speedy recovery. However, it has been proven time and again that using antibiotics can have side effects. Some of the more common side effects of antibiotics are: white patches on the tongue, rash, allergic reactions and digestive issues. While those seem severe, and can be quite painful, antibiotics can cause far more damaging and prolonged conditions. Cancer can develop in a variety of places in the body including the breasts, skin, brain and lungs. Generally, the causes are unknown and the focus is on treating or removing the cancerous tumors. Unfortunately, antibiotics have been linked to the development of bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer typically begins inside the rectum or colon and is classified as malignant. It is also known as colorectal cancer because of its targeted areas. Of all the types of cancer afflicting the U.S. population, this is the third most common. Other factors that have been known to cause this type of cancer include smoking, extreme alcohol use, carrying excess weight, lack of regular exercise or physical activity and a poor diet consisting of highly processed foods. All of these can lead to excessive physical stress on the lower abdomen. While there are further genetic factors to consider, antibiotics can introduce different bacteria into the body. Some of these are meant to aid in the recovery of an illness, but with continued use can build up into toxic levels.
High levels of antibiotic intake over a long period and with frequent use can lead to bacterial resistance in the body. Inside the stomach, where antibiotics begin working, there are naturally occurring bacterium that already serve a host of purposes. Mostly, they make sure that our immune systems can function normally. When antibiotics are introduced, they change how those bacteria react to the body’s proposed threats. One of the triggers stimulated is inflammation, which over time leads to a higher risk of developing bowel cancer. Once the inflammation process begins, certain bacteria will break down and potentially create toxins. The idea behind this is that the inflammation sparked by the medicine will lead to malignant growth formations and those growths will develop into tumors. Part of why this is so detrimental is that the antibiotics being used for one treatment can cause another. Our bodies try to fight off infections and illnesses without outside stimulus. However, antibiotics can actually weaken the body’s ability to combat hostile bugs, thus making it easier for illnesses like bowel cancer to develop.
Studies used a variety of patients over an extended range of time, from 5 to 10 years, where the developments were tracked. Surprisingly, in as little as two weeks, there was a higher risk of bowel adenoma (benign tumors) development following regular antibiotic use, especially in women under the age of 40. These polyps developed after only two months of continued antibiotic use. And while two months might not seem very long, the growths might not necessarily happen immediately. There have been reported cases, of women over 40, who may have used antibiotics regularly in their younger days developing adenomas much later. It’s important to note that all digestive tract growths are not necessarily harmful, but they can certainly develop into bowel cancer.
Colorectal, or bowel cancer, is one of the many types of cancers still being researched to be better understood and treated. While the cause are not completely known, research suggests that prolonged antibiotic use has a heavy influence over the development of malignant tumors. The main problem with antibiotics is how they affect the naturally occurring gut bacteria. They cause a disruption of the body’s intestinal regulatory systems, despite being beneficial for other ailments. With proper handling and dosing, it is possible to avoid any long-term and harmful side effects. Those already on a continued schedule of antibiotic usage should consult with their doctors regarding their concerns. It’s also strongly advised to determine the risk of bowel cancer development by looking through your medical history and assessing your physical condition.
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