Antibiotics are a wonderful invention, but there’s a catch. In the past decade, it has been found that antibiotics can increase your risk for certain tumors. This is because they disrupt the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut which leads to an overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast in your digestive tract. The result? A higher chance of developing colon cancer or other cancers like breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer etc.


What is a tumor and how does it form?

A tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell growth. Tumor cells do not function like normal cells and can divide without limit. They also lack the ability to die, so they keep growing and take up space in our bodies or press on other parts of the body resulting in pain and discomfort.

Tumors form when something goes wrong during cell division. Normally, cells grow and divide at a controlled rate giving them time to repair cell damage before reproducing again. When additional changes happen in a single cell during replication, it begins to reproduce rapidly without control eventually forming a mass known as a tumor. This uncontrolled reproduction is one hallmark of cancerous tumors which are malignant masses caused by runaway replication in abnormally shaped cells.


Antibiotics and their effects on the body

Antibiotics are used to kill harmful bacteria that causes diseases. However, they do not discriminate between good and bad bacteria. They just attack anything they think is foreign invading the body by indiscriminately killing all of the cells in their path. Ironically, antibiotics have been observed to increase triglyceride levels, reduce bone density, create insulin resistance which leads to weight gain, and trigger gallstones leading to the formation of new tumors at least after three months following cessation of antibiotic treatment.


How do antibiotics cause tumors?

Most bacteria in the gut are helpful, harmless, and form an important part of our digestive system. But few strains can turn pathogenic in certain conditions when they begin to over-replicate due to lack of competition from other beneficial bacterial strains or if perturbed during replication cycles by things like chemotherapy drugs, UV radiation (from sun exposure), hydrogen peroxide (found in many everyday products like toothpaste) etc. even certain foods like artificial sweeteners, soy milk or refined sugars feed them and worsen their growth leading to anything from minor digestive problems to bowel cancer. Antibiotics kill off most bacteria including the good guys leaving behind a lot of bad guys which thrive on sugar (which you make after eating carbs). These bad bacteria are what antibiotics are supposed to kill, but the side effect is that even good bacteria are eliminated.

You need a healthy balance of both good and bad gut flora for optimal digestive function because if all the good guys are gone you end up with inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), candida overgrowth etc. – these can lead to cancerous tumors so it’s imperative that you maintain this delicate balance by avoiding frequent antibiotic use.

Numerous studies have revealed that antibiotics can induce tumor growth by disrupting gut bacteria, but how exactly do they cause cancer?

They make your body acidic. Cancer cells can’t survive in an alkaline environment but thrive in highly acidic surroundings. So every time you take antibiotics not only are you throwing your good/bad bacterial ratio out of whack, you’re also changing the pH of your entire digestive system which results in inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, IBS etc. Not only does this promote chronic infection and cancers like lymphoma, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer among other deadly pathologies – it makes them extremely difficult to treat because now chemo drugs which are supposed to kill the bad guys become ineffective since there’s no healthy bacteria left to absorb the chemo drugs and carry them through your body (most antibiotics leave your system within 12 hours).


What happens when you develop a tumor?

Tumors can vary widely in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as an adult human head depending on the type of tumor. A benign tumor does not spread whereas a malignant or cancerous one spreads throughout the body via blood flow, lymphatic system (lymph nodes) or direct extension of cancer cells into nearby tissues. Malignant cells invade the surrounding normal tissue while traveling through blood and lymphatic vessels causing tumors to grow in size while severely compromising your body’s ability to fight off infection, heal wounds, absorb nutrients etc. They also secrete corrosive enzymes which damage healthy tissue around them leading to further complications like reduced organ function, reduced kidney function (renal failure), shock, coma – all of which can be fatal if left untreated.


How do you know if you have cancer, IBS or leaky gut syndrome?

Cancerous tumors cause certain symptoms depending on where they are located in your body. For example: Lung cancer can cause a persistent cough, blood-tinged sputum, wheezing, chest pain etc. whereas brain cancer might cause abnormal neurological problems like seizures, headaches, vision loss etc. Tumors also release chemicals which trigger many of the same symptoms as other serious diseases so it’s difficult to self-diagnose using symptoms alone – especially since most cancer patients initially experience very few symptoms at first. If you suspect you might have cancer or IBS (which can cause tumors in your digestive system) then make an appointment with your doctor ASAP.


More on how antibiotics cause cancer

A recent study shows that regular use of antibiotics can double the risk for ovarian cancer. This is because most common types are given as a precautionary measure against bacterial vaginosis (BV occurs when there is an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria in the vagina. It is not sexually transmitted and is pretty harmless, but can cause bad smelling discharge.)


Ways in which you can reduce your risk of developing a tumor when taking antibiotics (e.g., take probiotics)

Probiotics and prebiotics can help you stay healthy while taking antibiotics by replenishing the good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics are simply “food” for probiotics and promote their growth whereas probiotics colonize your gut, grow and reproduce thus maintaining a healthy, balanced digestive system. Taking antibiotics kills all the good as well as bad bacteria so it’s important to eat foods which contain live cultures such as yogurt (with live active cultures) or take a probiotics supplement.

However, taking antibiotics is not the only way to develop intestinal inflammation. Consuming an imbalanced diet high in processed foods can also cause intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) which is linked to many autoimmune diseases. It all comes down to eating more whole foods, less unprocessed foods and less junk food.

You can also reduce your risk by quitting smoking (if applicable), staying away from too much sun exposure, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. I know that sounds like common sense but most people who develop cancer are either overweight, smokers, or both!


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