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.
Have you tried Plexus’ Gut health products yet? They may help you greatly! I’ve been using them for 6 years now and have noticed a huge improvement in my health because of them.
You need to do a Gi map test to see exactly what is causing your symptoms. I had the same thing happen but only three years out. I had bad pathogens in there and needed two months of natural antibiotics to get rid of. Some bugs you can live with but some need to be killed and parasites will show up too so you can take care of those if need be.
Hey Lisa, I have been having the same issues for the last few months! Only difference is, I am already doing those things diet wise (except coffee and wine.) (Oh, and you should get your husband to use gluten free flours…like almond or coconut.) Not sure if mine is linked to whatever is also causing all the congestion issues. IT’s infuriating though. I usually can’t get out of the house for hours in the morning.
Hi Lisa: I wonder if you need to “reset” your intestine walls which have become “leaky” and won’t properly accommodate the “good” bacteria any more. The yeast Saccharomyces boulardii has the amazing capacity to do this. It’s a new discovery for me – actually for my cat and a friend, not my own body!
The reasoning is outlined in very helpful article: https://www.holisticprimarycare.net/topics/topics-a-g/digestive-health/1862-how-to-restore-gut-flora-after-antibiotics.html
And this is useful too:
Do hope you find some relief
When you’re floxed you shouldn’t be anywhere near alcohol or caffeine. That means no drinks, coffee or sodas. This should be known day 1.
I have been floxed since 2016 and I consumed 60 tablets of Cipro.
My journey has shown that there is no simple fix and that everyone becomes sensitive to things they weren’t in the past. We have some of the best GI doctors here in California and they all have said that your GI problems can be as short as 6 months or last for your lifetime. Your gut issues I have as well and have had them for 2.5 years and may have them for life. I haven’t had a normal “to me” bowel movement and stool since 2016. The GI docs tell me this is my new normal now until it goes away or it doesn’t. They just don’t know enough.
From my experience with gut problems my BP has also gone up the past year. I eat healthy and do rigorous exercise and it’s borderline high. Along with that if I eat the wrong food or drink the wrong stuff I get that upset stomach.
So for me it’s tolerance with certain foods now. That’s the key and trigger for me.
I take 2 VSL probiotics a day and have for 2.5 years and may have to take them for life. I exercise daily and eat really good. To me staying active and eating foods that I am not sensitive is my key.
I had both scopes and tons of lab work and all are normal.
I had blood in my stool for over a year and all the ER doctors and GI doctors and my primary care doctor said that was my new normal and the only thing they can recommend is the strong probiotics because I lack enough good bacteria in my colon to lubricate it enough so I can pass non bloody stools. As a medic in the military for 21+ years I know blood in your stool is not normal but in my case it is. It sounds so weird but they couldn’t find anything wrong. They literally had me in surgery for my colonoscopy and were looking everywhere with cameras and testing everything. I saw the images of what they saw and found and it was healthy. I couldn’t believe it. I just shook my head. Fast forward a year and now I maybe have a drop of blood in my stool every 6 months. To me that’s so much better and normal. But what makes me feel the best is strenuous cardio. I hike up this hill by my house and I get my heart rate up to 150 bpm for 25 mins. When I come back down I feel cured but the next morning it’s back to upset stomach. Some days believe it or not I don’t have that bad of an issue. I know it’s improving but we just don’t know how long it will take.
I hope everyone had a good holiday and better 2019.
Dr. Josj Axe has a free protocol seminar one on youtube that sounds excellent. I dont have LG so Ill just pass this on!
Something else to look into…..stubborn biofilms that can live in the gut and sinuses. https://kresserinstitute.com/biofilm-what-it-is-and-how-to-treat-it/
Hey Lisa! I totally understand and support your journey to heal your gut. I’m still pretty strict with my diet, but not always perfect, regardless my belly has had a more lengthy healing time period than some of my other symptoms. I am happy to report it no longer hurts every single day. Hang in there.
My gut became a mess shortly after my AR to Cipro. I had to give up gluten . That helped alot but I slowly found many foods, in particular processed foods that bothered me. 6 years in I went AIP because I was sick of being sick.
Found out that eggs and anything that creates an inflammatory reaction are a no no for me. But much like you have added and added so I am again freeing crappy. Oh and I was also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as well as some other “unknown” auto immune disease..I keep trying to go back to eating better but can’t seem to accomplish much.
I never ate much overly processed food.
Have you tried a lectin avoidance diet? The foods you describe as problematic are all high in lectins and lectins can cause and/or exacerbate leaky gut triggering autoimmunity via molecular mimicry.
I get mild gut probems on and off like nausea , a pain in my upper left abdomen and some reflux after meals . It is always worst in the winter. Having had 26 cm removed from the sigmoid colon in March I have had to get ueed to a totally different transit pattern and still am not sure what my new normal is. I have found probiotics not helpful in the symptom periods making it worse. A couple of years ago when the symptoms were really troublesome I found chewing dandelion leaves helpful. They don”t taste very nice though! Bonne Année and I hope you get to fix this in 2019.
Hi Lisa: I published my Cipro Recovery Story a couple of week ago on Floxiehope –
This lists how I have tamed my body and gut. Unfortunately Para-Cleanse appears to have just been taken off the market.
Briefly I list –
Get the acidity of your stomach right at a Ph of 2, by reducing numbers of a bacterium called Helicobacter Pylori, using Manuka Honey. At this level there will be no Acid Reflux. Get your Red Blood Count up supplementing with Iron if necessary.
Reduce the Inflammation of your intestines with daily Turmeric and Black Pepper Capsules.
Chew Your Food.
Use a tablespoon at least of Oat Bran everyday to encourage good bacteria to thrive.
Do not eat or eat little of White Flour, White Sugar, Corn Syrup and Processed Foods.
Use topically (on skin), Ginger Essential Oil to reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body.
Watch your CRP (C-Reactive Protein) (a general measure of inflammation) and RBC (Red Blood Count) through your doctors services.
Some Other Comments –
Coffee – Use Arabica Beans and make your own coffee from the beans as you need it – it is a natural product low in caffeine. Decaf Coffee is a chemistry lesson by industrial chemists usually made from Robusta Beans. Arabica Beans grow at higher altitude in specific conditions while Robusta Beans are high in Caffeine, harsher in taste, and grow anywhere and are cheap.
Alcohol – After Cipro poisoning and becoming more health conscious, I read recently that Alcohol causes our blood vessels to leak – I did not like that idea – The body uses Cholesterol/plague to plug the leaks. Nowadays I drink a little alcohol with good food.
Vagus Nerve – Technically this is an tenth cranial nerve system that interacts between our brain and some internal organs including the digestive tract. Practically, most of us mortals think of the Vagus Nerve and our Stomach and Intestines. When this system is working properly, it controls the hunger/full reflex, it controls the digestion and acid in the stomach, the release of this digested food into the small intestine, the release of baking soda in fluid from the spleen, enzymes and hormones by the pancreas, bile from the liver and gall systems.
I did not believe this next statement when I first read it – how can a scientist be so selfish/evil – Wheat has been bred and has certain chemicals added to defeat our Vagus Nerve so that you eat more white flour and do not know when to stop. If you eliminate/reduce the amount of Wheat products (White Flour) from your diet, you will notice that when you are “full”, your body will not let you eat any more – if you try to eat more you will want to vomit. Wheat products and White Flour have been specifically bred by these Scientists to defeat our bodies natural control systems and make us obese – unbelievable!
So to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve – Eliminate White Flour and Processed foods using it. Oats have not been bred yet to interfere with the Vagus Nerve.
The Vagus Nerve system also interacts with the Good Bacteria further down in the gut for the absorption of rarer minerals and vitamins.
Best Wishes with 2019 Lisa.
Ross Allan, Napier, New Zealand
Lately I also have started to have “gut” issues. This is added to my ripped knee cartledge (which I am having special shots for) and my aching foot tendons, elbow tendons, and shoulders. Emotionally I still swing a little, but I chalk it up to my thyroid medication not being regulated correctly. Too much and heart palpitates, too little and I sleep all day. All this since my Floxie issue started going on two years ago. It began with me in agonizing pain and unable to walk, so compared to that, I suppose one should be grateful, right? Anyhow, perhaps this “gut” issue IS part of it all, but we never will know, will we? I had told the doctor I didn’t want to take an antibiotic because I have allergies. She didn’t listen and told me that she knew I already had an autoimmune disease but I would be fine. Uh huh……so in response to your gut note….I think our bodies are going to be unhappy until the day we die…that’s just my take on all this. So try to enjoy your lives to the fullest the best you can. Live in the moment. That’s what I am doing…
I’ve heard that testing and treatment for SIBO and parasites with an integrative doctor can be very helpful with intractable gut issues.
Unfortunately I have no suggestions… just wanted to say sorry you’re going through this, and thanks for continuing to be active in this fight and in these forums… all the best, Lisa, and have a great 2019
PS – one suggestion… Bubbies Sauerkraut. Organic, and is the best tasting on the market, IMO
If you are concerned about GI inflammation. The best and most sensitive test is a stool test called Calprotectin. Much better than bloods. Ask your doctor for one. You might be surprised and get a normal result back.
I have Crohns and my stools were always firm and normal. It was since Cipro that turned them to slush.
Similar story story for me until I verified what was really going on by having a stool sample laboratory tested and began testing my urine pH. I discovered that I had three potentially pathogenic bacteria and two fungi (yeasts). A Functional Medicine Practicioner got me on the right pathway soon after that. My urine pH values were right at 5.0 which is VERY acidic.
Furthermore, bacteria and yeast love acidic conditions. The best way to have a healthy GI is to ALKALIZE yourself as much as you can. I found a source for pH 8.0 water, I mixed two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV) into every liter of water I have drank since 2014. Testing my urine pH is done just after getting out of bed, (first void). It took a year to reach pH 7.0-7.2. Then I was tested again and the Klebsiella was gone, the Citrobacter was gone, the Pseudomonas was gone and the two yeasts were nearly gone. Eating half of a lemon or lime daily is also very alkalizing. During the week before the full moon, take three drops of Uva Ursi in a cup of water before bedtime. Oil of Oregano is another bacterial preventer.
The last helper is a tablespoon of liquid Magnesium Citrate after dinner, we can’t get too much Magnesium. Then soak in Magnesium Sulfate bath (Epsom salt) for more Magnesium absorption.
I’ve was floxed in July 2018 after 7 days of Cipro. Symptoms started with pain/needles in my legs and fingers. Once that went away it was bad headaches and extreme brain fog. I simply couldn’t think straight. I don’t know how I got through my work day. In late October things cleared…I felt back to myself. However after the new year my symptoms returned. I felt back at square one. …I may have turned the corner again and began the heal. Ive been taking a probiotic and magnesium. Recently I started fish oil with vitamin D. I’ve been trying to figure out what may be linked to a my turn around. Is it the fish oil ? Magnesium? Probiotics?
One thing I didn’t mention is that I have been drinking Ajwain seed tea. Has anyone had experience with this? I know it can be very powerful. I was taking it during my “feel good months” but ran out and didn’t start taking it again until recently.
Any ever think Cipro may cause SIFO (Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth) ?
After Levaquin destroyed the enamel on my teeth, I looked into a diet to remineralize and protect your teeth and gums. This diet is also responsible for correcting any gut issues I had previously from Levaquin Toxicity. I had many symptoms and have ruptured a tendon as well. I am also about 30 years older than you(64) was floxed at 62, and this diet is restrictive but has really helped all my gut issues. Plus, it’s not an option for me, after spending 30,000 dollars on my teeth, I cannot afford to lose them. Two things you need to look into: Phytic Acid, and Lectins. If you are serious about your gut health, sometimes(and yes everyone is different), you just have to let go of some foods, and not in an “ish” kind of way!