Salynn Boyles at WebMD provides another reason why pediatricians don’t like using antibiotics unless they are truly necessary:

Overuse of antibiotics may help explain why more children are being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

In a new study, getting antibiotics, especially very early in childhood, was linked to a raised risk for IBD.

IBD is a catch-all term for a group of serious intestinal conditions that include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The study, published in the October issue of Pediatrics, finds that the risk for developing IBD is five times greater if a child has had antibiotics before one year of age.  And each course of antibiotics increased the risk.

Boyles continues:

IBD runs in families. Most experts believe that genes aren’t the only trigger for the disease.

The study adds to the evidence that antibiotic use is one of these triggers, says Ilseung Cho, MD, of NYU Langone Medical Center.

Cho says the possible link reinforces the importance of prescribing antibiotics only when they are likely to be useful.

“Both physicians and parents are at fault for the overuse of antibiotics,” he says. “Antibiotics are very beneficial drugs, but it is important to be prudent about how we use them.”

A kind family sent me a fascinating article from Spiegel Online, which reminds us that eliminating the “bad” bacteria that make us sick with prescriptions for antibiotics may also eliminate the “good” bacteria that keep us healthy:

Trillions of bacteria living in and on the human body play a vital role in preserving health. But C-section births, antibiotics and excessive hygiene have been disturbing our microbial balance and possibly contributing to intestinal ailments, obesity, allergies and autism.