Seven years after I got floxed, and 5.5 years since I wrote my recovery story, I am still doing well. I am working at a job that I enjoy, I am in a good relationship, I can hike, bike, swim, and otherwise move my body, I have my reading comprehension and intellect back, my energy level is decent, and my autonomic nervous system generally operates as it’s supposed to. I feel good, and I’m living a good life. As I’ve said many times before, I hope that my recovery gives you hope for your healing.
With it noted that I’m generally healed, and that I feel good in most areas of my life, I’m going to confess that…
My gut is a mess, and I am worried about it.
I have no idea whether my gut issues are from being floxed or not. GI tract problems weren’t part of my initial floxing–I didn’t have any gut issues until recently. But in the last year(ish), my gut has started to have… issues. Unfortunately, there is no way to describe GI issues without describing bowel movements, so here goes – I haven’t had a normal textured poo in ages. It has been at least a year. TMI? Sorry.
Poorly formed stools are definitely a sign of inflammation and other gut issues, and, despite the fact that I feel generally okay, I’m concerned about my gut health.
I want a gut that doesn’t hurt every day, that forms healthy-textured poos, and that I don’t worry about. I don’t want to be concerned that I’m developing IBS, or crohn’s disease, or that I have c-diff, or anything else. I’m guessing that I don’t have any of those things, and that I just have an inflamed gut, but I don’t want that either. I want a healthy, happy, healed gut that feels good and operates entirely normally. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for. I also think that my gut is my responsibility, and that no one other than me can do anything about MY gut health.
It’s December 28th as I write this, and the beginning of the new year seems as good a time as any to commit to healing my gut. Here are some of the things I plan to do to heal my gut in 2019 (public accountability is good, right?):
Clean up my diet
When I first got floxed I ate only meat and veggies. I was scared of most foods, and I ended up losing weight and feeling worn-down because I wasn’t ingesting enough calories. After I got over the fear of food, I added fruits and other good things to my diet, and ended up eating as outlined in The Floxie Food Guide. But, after a while of feeling better, I stopped restricting my diet entirely. I didn’t eat much processed food because I’ve never liked processed food, but I ate whatever I wanted. Perhaps my GI issues are the result of my “anything goes” diet (or maybe my GI issues stem from something else like mold in my house or fluoride in my city’s water or a parasite – it’s hard to tell). Anyhow, it’s time to restrict my diet again with the hope of calming the inflammation in my intestines.
Step 1: Give up gluten. My husband has been on a bread-baking kick lately, so this will take some willpower, but it has helped so many people, and it seems like a logical first step, so, I’m going to go gluten-free and see if that helps.
Step 2: Give up legumes. I like beans, but they make me feel like crap.
Step 3: Limit dairy. I love dairy too much to say that I’m going to give it up, but I’m going to try to be cognizant of how much I eat and how it makes me feel and limit it.
I want to be able to sustain these changes, so these are the only things I’m going to do at first. If they don’t work, I’ll move on to a more restricted protocol – probably something close to The Wahls Protocol because it has helped so many fellow “floxies.”
I’ve noticed that oatmeal makes me feel better generally, so I’m going to eat more oatmeal. I’ve also noticed that spicy food tends to make me feel worse, so I’m going to limit them even though many spices are supposed to be anti-inflammatory.
Cut the coffee and alcohol
This is a no-brainer, right? No explanation is necessary as to why these need to go in order for me to heal my gut. It’s hard though, so, here’s my public accountability.
Note that the coffee I drink is decaf. I haven’t been able to tolerate caffeinated coffee post-flox.
I really like both coffee and alcohol, and this is going to be tough. I’m only committing to cutting down on them, not to completely giving up either, but I can commit to cutting the coffee by 50% and the alcohol by 80%.
Eat probiotic foods
Sauerkraut and kimchi, here I come. Luckily, I like both.
Meditate, breathing exercises, eat mindfully, and otherwise stimulate the vagus nerve to heal the gut
Our guts are connected to our brains via the vagus nerve, and stimulating and toning the vagus nerve through meditating, breathing exercises, mindfulness, and other activities, can heal both the gut and the brain.
Here is an interesting post about how a guy healed his IBS through stimulating his vagus nerve through gargling: How I Cured My Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
As I was going through the early stages of my fluoroquinolone toxicity journey I was really good about meditating, doing breathing exercises, going to the chiropractor and/or acupuncturist, and doing other things that stimulated my vagus nerve. I think that these things helped me to heal. They were part of my healing journey, and I recommend them to others because they are healing for the body, mind, and spirit, and because they stimulate the vagus nerve and trigger the release of acetylcholine. Like watching my diet, conscientiously doing activities that stimulated my vagus nerve fell to the wayside as I healed. I felt good, so I didn’t need to do breathing exercises to feel better. But, I think that all the vagus nerve healing exercises were helpful for my gut when I was doing them, and that they’ll be helpful for my gut if I do them again.
Shoot, I wrote a book about healing the vagus nerve – I should make the time to practice what I preach.
Step 1: Meditate daily
Step 2: Swim weekly – it forces breathing exercises, and movement is good for the vagus nerve.
Step 3: Eat mindfully
Step 4: Gargle and/or hum daily
Those are my resolutions, and I hope that they result in a happier, healthier gut.
I’m open to suggestions for gut healing. Please feel free to comment below to let me know what has helped you to heal your gut. As you may gather from the post above, I am not willing to go on a super-restrictive diet unless/until all else fails, but I am willing to hear suggestions. I’m also open to trying supplements that heal the gut including aloe juice, collagen, bone broth, probiotic supplements, etc. If you have any recommendations based on personal experience with gut-healing supplements, please comment below.
Whenever someone asks in the forums about how to heal from fluoroquinolone toxicity, someone always answers, “heal your gut.” They’re right, of course–but it’s easier said than done. There are people in the “floxie” community who are much more better about having a “clean” diet than I am who still struggle with GI issues and other symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity. I’m hopeful that my modified “clean-ish” diet will help my gut to heal, and that the other things mentioned above help too. I want to acknowledge though, that “healing the gut” is not simple and that there isn’t a single answer for how to do it. I’m hopeful that the steps noted above will help me, and that I’ll have a healthier, happier gut in 2019 than I did in 2018.
I have had major gut issues from my floxing in fact i am still going through them but it seems that it’s healing quite nicely all i can say what i know from my naturopath that has helped me, i would cut out all dairy and gluten for at least 3 months those are the bigest stressors on the gut, the gluten causes the inflamation and the dairy maintains it, also yes beans ,mushrooms peas, asparagus ,onions ,garlic,brocolli these should all go completely at least until you see a major change , also look up the LOW fodmap diet that could help too. I can say that it really worked for me and i had major issues was getting bloated from eating an apple or a ripe banana but now it seems to be getting better and better. I see you,ve posted earlier this year but anniway good luck with everything if your still having problems.
So, here’s my take:
I’m checking back in after almost seven months. I only took one (1) 500mg dose of Levofloxacin, and that was it. My symptoms compared to most have been mild. I chalk up the early part of the pain and other issues to horrible stress and high cortisol. I learned a ton about this having been to functional doctors and nutritionists. The only “true” symptom I have remaining are really just a few tadpole floaters. But there’s something else that I’m working through, and it’s awful: leaky gut. You see, I put the pieces to the puzzle together over the first few months after eating a horrible diet and cheating when trying to heal. That, teamed with high estrogen, high cortisol, etc. just destroyed my gut. I was also taking other antibiotics periodically last year and had tons of stress which caused gastritis.
So I’m basically the poster child for leaky gut.
That being said, it’s been seven months. I still can’t eat gluten or dairy, but I noticed that when I avoid these foods, I feel much better. Stool tests confirmed dysbiosis, so I’m on the whole shebang: S. Boullardi, high-quality probiotics, etc. My stress has lowered, which is helping. I know this sounds strange, but I really want to eat gluten and dairy again without brain fog and muscle pain. I believe getting floxed was the straw that broke the camel’s back. But I just want to eat these foods only because I *can*, not because i will make them staples. Think moral victory.
At this point, based on what I’ve learned, read, etc., this can take *years* to heal – especially depending on the type of damage that was done. But I want to be clear: healing is absolutely possible.
When I hear the word Recovery I do not expect ongoing health issues that is not what Recovery means
if you have an acidic gut, you probably have underlying infections. I had a total of five and was measuring my urine pH at 5.0. So I began alkalizing with pH8 water, Apple Cider Vinegar, fresh lime or lemon every day. A year later, I reached 7.0-7.2. I found out that reverse osmosis water is pH 5.0 which I had been drinking for 15 years. I was floxed in 1996 with 60,000mg of Cipro for a sinus infection. I’m no where near recovery, but I am healthier.