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Small Intestine Dysfunction: Bacterial Overgrowth/Diarrhea

Symptoms and Treatments

Broad Spectrum Antibiotic use is the mainstay of treatment for this complication. There are many potential approaches to this therapy. For example: Antibiotics are given in 2–3 week courses followed by a 1–2 week drug holiday. Generally a few cycles of this treatment can allow for quiet periods of a few months to a few years. However, some persons may require almost continuous antibiotics.

Alternating antibiotics and increasing the antibiotic-free period will decrease the development of resistant strains of bacteria.

Note: Prolonged use of Broad Spectrum Antibiotics may be complicated by superinfection.




Most Common
Side Effects


Broad Spectrum Antibiotics


Examples include:


Tetracycline, Ampicillin

Decrease bacterial overgrowth Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, photosensitivity, skin rash.
Metronidazole (Flagyl®)   Metallic taste, headache, diarrhea, reduced appetite, dizziness, nausea.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro®)


Drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.


Amoxicillin/Clavulanate (Clavulin®)

  Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, rash, vaginitis, pseudomembranous colitis

Clarithromycin (Biaxin®)
Azithromycin (Zithromax®)

  Altered taste (dysgeusia), diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain.

Scleroderma Medications Guide (Canada)