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Antibiotics Increase Bowel Cancer Rates

When you take antibiotics, there are both short- and long-term risks, the latter of which may not become evident until long after you've stopped taking the drugs (making it next to impossible to connect the two). One of their greatest risks is also their mechanism of action: wiping out the bacteria in your gut.

When this occurs, the infection-causing bacteria should be eliminated, but so, too, are all of the other bacteria making up your microbiome.

In 2014, researchers linked antibiotics use to a slightly increased risk (8 percent to 11 percent) of developing colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, possibly because of alterations to the gut microbiome.1

Likewise, past research has also shown that people with less bacterial diversity in their gastrointestinal tracts are more likely to develop colon cancer.2

The latest research further suggests altering your microbiome via antibiotics also reduces your resistance to bacteria that could increase the development of precancerous growths in your colon, known as polyps.