The time required to recover from antibiotics is somewhere between zero and infinity.
But antibiotics might be worse for you than candy . Antibiotics don’t distinguish between “good” and “bad” bacteria. Not surprisingly, they can disrupt your gut microbiome, resulting in transient diarrhea.
Usually these effects are short-lived, especially in adults. If that was always the case, then we could say that antibiotic effects persist for no more than a week or two.
But it’s not. Changes in microbiome composition after clindamycin treatment have been found to persist for more than two years. Long-term therapy – such as for tuberculosis – results in far more profound and disruptive change, long after cessation of therapy. And low-level long-term exposure – which is likely if you live downstream from a livestock-feeding operation – also produces changes in gut microbiota .
Infant microbiomes, which are not nearly so well established, are far more susceptible to disruption by antibiotic treatment . Unfortunately, infants are also the most likely to truly need antibiotics, as their immune systems are not well-developed.
Antibiotic exposure, particularly in early life, has been linked to obesity , Type 1and Type 2 diabetes, arthritis , depression, and asthma. We don’t have cures for any of these diseases. So if these associations do indeed pan out as being antibiotic-caused, it would be fair to say that we never recover from antibiotic use: the time required for our bodies to recover is infinity.