Being sick in college is the worst. Lack of sleep, stress, and parties (combined with all kinds of illnesses floating around) make college students a target for many sicknesses. After a trip to the student health center and a prescription for antibiotics, you may think your problems are over, but it might be just the start. You might experience stomach pain that you didn't have before taking the medication.  

Antibiotics are miracle drugs that can cure strep throat or sinus infections in 2 days. However, along with killing the bad infectious bacteria in your body, they kill all of the bacteria. This includes the good stuff, the gut flora. Yes, good bacteria lives in your stomach, and an imbalance of gut bacteria can make you ill just as much as the original sickness.

coffee, tea, blueberry
Hana Brannigan

Gut flora (properly known as gut microbiota) keeps your gut healthy by aiding in digestion, producing vitamins, supporting your immune system, and maintaining regular digestive functioning. Consequences of killing off your gut flora with antibiotics, can result in horrible stomach cramps, nausea, indigestion, constipation, and other less than desirable symptoms.

To combat these negative side effects, it is important to actively protect your good gut bacteria while on antibiotics. Here are 7 ways to maintain peace inside your gut. 

1. Take Probiotics with Every Dose of Antibiotics

probiotic on Flickr

This is so important, especially during your first few doses of the antibiotics. The pills will get to work immediately, and your good bacteria will be sacrificed. Take a probiotic supplement every time you take an antibiotic to off-set the negative affects.

2. Eat Yogurt

cream, milk, dairy product, sweet, coffee
Christina Chin

Yogurt is made by fermenting milk and is one of the easiest ways to get a healthy serving of probiotics. The fermentation process leaves yogurt with thousands of live and active cultures in every serving. To go easy on your stomach, opt for plain Greek yogurt

3. Drink Kombucha

condiment, coffee
Weichen Yan

Kombucha is probably the trendiest way to replenish the good bacteria in your gut. This fermented tea has millions of live and active cultures of probiotics naturally. Not only is it great for your stomach, but Kombucha comes in all different flavors and keeps you energized. 

4. Add Garlic to Your Food

garlic, onion, vegetable
Kai Huang

Garlic is an excellent source of prebiotics, a type of non-digestible fiber that feeds the probiotics and gut microbiota in your digestive tract. Prebiotics allow your healthy gut bacteria to flourish and keep you feeling normal.

Try adding some raw garlic to a few of your meals for the most prebiotic benefits and to support your good bacteria.

5. Take Each Dose of Antibiotics with Food

salad, vegetable, cheese
Amanda Shulman

Some medications are most effective on an empty stomach, so make sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist for the correct way to take yours.

However, if you find that the antibiotics are particularly hard on your stomach, taking each dose with food can offset some of the effects by acting as a cushion for your gut. Toast, yogurt, or other easily digestible foods are the best option.

6. Watch Your Portions

pastry, salt, pretzel
Isabel Wang

The antibiotics can cause major painful bloating by killing off the good bacteria that normally keeps your stomach regular, and large servings of food only make this worse. 

While in the process of replacing your good bacteria with probiotics and kombucha, try sticking to smaller portions of food to avoid overwhelming your digestive system and making the bloating worse while taking antibiotics. Don't worry, that burger will still be there when your medication is over. 

7. Increase Your Water Intake

lemon, water, lemonade
Caroline Liu

Water is the key to combate bloating. It helps your digestive system dilute food, break down nutrients, and keep everything moving at a normal pace to avoid bloating or indigestion. Make sure to get at least 8 servings of water per day, and to drink one glass with every dose of antibiotics to aid in digestion.

Remember that a healthy body makes for a healthy mind — even in a stressful environment. If you do find yourself sick and on antibiotics, make sure to remember these tips to avoid stomach pain and get yourself healthy as soon as possible.