Q. Will taking antibiotics cause diarrhea or loose stools?

Answered by Dr. Srinivas Morampudi and medically reviewed by Dr. Nithila A


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Hello doctor,

I took antibiotics about a month ago, and ever since the fourth day of antibiotic treatment, I have been suffering from diarrhea or loose stools. On the fourth day, I had bad cramps and loose stools that lasted from the fourth day to the seventh day. This then returned afterward with even worse pains, but this time, I had yellow stool followed by diarrhea. Ever since I have been having loose stools on and off that is foul smelling and mushy. Is this because of the antibiotics, or is it an infection?

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Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea (AAD)

Dr. Srinivas Morampudi
Internal Medicine


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Your diarrhea could be a direct side effect of the antibiotic, in which case, it should resolve after stopping the antibiotic. It could also be due to a condition called Clostridium difficile infection (C. diff for short). C. diff is a bacterium typically found in the intestines of most people. But under certain circumstances (frequent exposure to antibiotics), a couple of strains of this bacteria can multiply and produce toxins (called C diff toxin A and B). This can provide diarrhea-sometimes bloody, with crampy abdominal pain.

I suggest getting tested for C diff. You need to submit a stool sample for C diff toxin. If it is positive, there are treatments for it includes oral Vancomycin, Fidaxomicin, or Metronidazole. I hope this helps.

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