(I like your username by the way.)
There are many possible side effects from long term use of
antibiotics. Many people are surprised when they learn that these
drugs, which seem to help us and make us feel better (especially when
we're children), can have a detrimental effect on us. I found a nice
quote on a similar subject:
"It is ironic that this humbled fungus, hailed as a benefactor of
mankind, may by its very success prove to be a deciding factor in the
decline of the present civilization."
-Dr. John I. Pitt, The Genus Penicillum, Academic Press, 1979
Your use of antibiotics over 20 years could have the following effects:
1. Greater susceptibility to further sickness.
As you said, when the bacteria are treated with antibiotics, they
mutate into resistant strains that are harder to treat then the
original bug (and resistant to the original treatment). The problem
with the antibiotics is that our bodies have "good bacteria" and "bad
bacteria." We don't want the bad bacteria, but the good bacteria helps
get rid of toxins, produces vitamins and protects our bodies from
harm. They live in symbiosis with us-- we need them and they need us
(to live off our intestines!)
Antibiotics kill everything. They kill off bacteria that help us fight
off sickness and yeasts which are harmful to us. This results in a
dys-symbiosis, or dysbiosis state. The areas that used to be
protected by the "friendly" bacteria are left open to attack by yeasts
and infections, and even parasites.
You could undergo a test called a comprehensive digestive stool
analysis (CDSA) to determine whether you do in fact suffer from
dysbiosis. "A CDSA tests for the presence and amount or absence of all
aerobic organisms and the friendly facultatively anaerobic organisms
'Lactobacillus' and 'Bifidobacterium'. The organisms a CDSA reports
include yeast of all kinds, all normal and abnormal aerobic bacteria,
Bacteroides, Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium. A CDSA also gives
your doctor chemical information that reflects the health of your
A yeast that can cause your body all sorts of problems and is a common
invader is called "Candida." It would be detected by the above test.
Diseases that can befall those with dysbiosis include irritable bowel
syndrome (which affects 20 percent of the population), food allergies,
leaky gut syndrome, and possibly even depression.
Here is a study which followed healthy individuals taking antibiotics
for acne treatment and found that the ones treated with antibiotics
got upper respiratory infections at a higher rate than those who did
2. Possible health side effects.
According to one study published in the Journal of the American
Medical Association, women who used prolonged antibiotics had a
greater risk of breast cancer than those who did not. This has not
been fully studied and there could be some mitigating factors.
'"We found that increasing cumulative days of antibiotic use and
increasing cumulative number of antibiotic prescriptions were
associated with increased risk of incident breast cancer, after
controlling for age and length of enrollment," the researchers state.'
Women who had used the antibiotics for 1 to 500 days had a 1.5 times
increased risk of developing breast cancer than those who did not.
This was seen across all classes of antibiotics.
Here is a link to the study:
3. Antibiotic resistance
With prolonged use of antibiotics, you will probably get sick more
often, because your immune system is compromised. You will also find
that these sicknesses are harder to treat with antibiotics and you
(and they) have become resistant.
The FDA's page on this phenomenon is here:
The National Institute of Health here:
What can you do?
Now that you know the bad stuff that can happen as a result of
antibiotics, there are some things you can try to do to heal the
A possible solution could be found for you with the use of probiotics.
Probiotics can come in tablet form to take every day or be found in
yogurts (such as the drinkable Dannon yogurts for instance) and are
full of the "good bacteria" that help us so much. In contrast, iron
supplements provide fodder for unfriendly bacteria, so you may want to
A healthy diet should also help to rid you of dysbiosis. A
lacto-vegetarian diet based on plant foods and milk products, promotes
the growth of "Lactobacillus" and "Bifidobacterium," two of the
healthy bacteria you might be lacking. A diet that is meat-based and
low on plant foods does not allow these bacteria to grow and is
discouraged. Specific foods that can act as natural probiotics include
bananas, artichokes, asparagus, and honey.
A "specific carbohydrate" diet may also help, and is recommended by
Elaine Gottshalls's book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" for those with
inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which is usually caused by harmful
bacteria. The diet consists of eliminating all grains, sugar, lactose,
other disaccharides, and some starches.
In case you're interested, the book has 4.5 stars on Amazon:
Other doctors summarily recommend that sugar be avoided to prevent
yeasts and bacteria from constantly invading your system.
Another measure you can take is to not use antibacterial soaps. They
are everywhere and it can be difficult, but I would say that it is
worth it. There is an ingredient in them called triclosan which
causes great bacteria resistance.
You did not mention it, but do you find that you are sick often? I
know someone whose grandmother would insist that doctors give him
antibiotics every time he had the teeniest cough, and now 20 years
later he gets sick constantly-- and so does his family, from being
around him constantly. By taking some of these steps I've outlined,
you might be able to fix the situation (he does not eat very
An interesting site from someone who believes that antibiotics cause many deaths:
antibiotic long term health risks
christine velicer pubmed
amoxicillin dangers long term
If you need any additional help or clarifications, let me know and
I'll be glad to help.