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Texas, United States


Burrowing Tummy Bugs Can Cause You Misery!...

...and the H.Pylori bacteria is BAD!
About fifteen years ago I began having digestive problems and was diagnosed with acid reflux. I was prescribed the usual treatment, the "purple pill" and antacids to ease the symptoms. I raised the head of my bed on blocks and tried to avoid the foods and beverages that aggravate it and giving up caffeinated coffee and spices was not all that easy. I would when it really bothered me but as the discomfort declined, I would slip back nto my old habits of eating and drinking what I loved. I was determined that just because I was getting "older" I wasn't going to give up ALL the good stuff. I don't "give up" easy.

Eventually it got to where the pills and diet were not helping and my doctor decided to do a H-Pylori blood test which turned out positive. At that time, I had no idea there was a bacteria that could live in stomach acid and burrow it's way into the lining and cause peptic ulcers and inflammation which caused painful serious symptoms that can cause acid reflux.

"Research shows that H pylori is likely present in over 50/75% of the worlds population  (I found various estimates but all were high.) They could mean that approximately 3 out of every 4 people are infected. When you consider this you can see there is a good chance you may be infected, especially if you have the symptoms of a stomach ulcer or acid reflux...though some have no noticeable symptoms. I wasn't that lucky.

Also when you consider that nearly 90% of people with stomach ulcer symptoms are infected with this bacterium, as are 50% of new patients with stomach cancer, then we recommend you get a proper diagnosis to be on the safe side."

 When I was first diagnosed with H pylori they gave me the standard treatment which included several high powered antibiotics over a couple of weeks. The symptoms cleared up until a couple of years ago when I began to have them again. I went back on the acid reflux regimen and it worked alright off and on until a couple of months ago when the distress began getting severe again and I finally asked my doctor last week to do the H pylori blood test. It came back with a very high positive count of H pylori antibody's in my blood which indicated, the doctor said, either I was infected again or had once been, so I would have to have a breath test to make sure they were live and active in my stomach and warranted treatment again.

 I didn't need much more proof but breathed into the bags they provided. Then I went home and read about the breathing test online, (the thing doctors dread most you doing) and found you were not supposed to have eaten or drank anything for six hours prior to the test, or taken any Pepto Bismol for the last month, or any "purple pills" or other antacids for the past two weeks or the test could be inaccurate and skewed. So I worried some more. I had downed a whole big bottle of Pepto the past few weeks and was taking two Nexium a day plus a Pepcid at night as my Gastroenterologist suggested years ago I do when symptoms were bad, plus Tums for heartburn during the day. I had eaten breakfast within the hour and was drinking coffee and water right up to being tested. I felt sure the breath test would come out false/negative because of it, but...I'll never know.

The doctors nurse finally called today to tell me the results...she said the bags were "deflated" and they weren't supposed to be...that I needed to come in and do the test again. I asked her how they got deflated but she didn't know. I still don't know if I'm believing that story. Really?

 Sometimes I don't know which is more stressful...dealing with the bugs... or the doctors!

Just thought I would let you know if you are diagnosed with acid reflux or peptic ulcers, also ask them to do the H-pylori test and ask for a follow up if you do have treatment for it to make sure all the bugs are eliminated. It could save you a heap of misery over the long run.

"Although the optimal H. pylori treatment regimen continues to be investigated, the American College of Gastroenterology has recommended four specific drug regimens that use a combination of at least three medications. These regimens successfully cure infection in up to 90 percent of people. For the H. pylori treatment to be effective, it is important to take the entire course of all medications."

I had taken all the prescriptions the last time I was diagnosed but  NO one told me I should have a follow up after the treatment and I didn't have the Internet to double check the doctors back then... Darn it!


DMS said...

So sorry to hear this! It sounds like a terrible ordeal to go through. The deflated bag sounds odd. I think you are right- that it is hard to know what is more stressful the doctor or the symptoms!

My husband gets acid reflux and I will pass this information on to him. Thanks for also sharing about the important follow-up test!

Feel better soon!

Anna Maria said...

Thanks Stephanie...The inflammation and pain they apparently cause is no fun. I'm thinking I'm going to just ask to be treated again and then take the breath test a while after that to see what it shows. I don't think I can go without antacids long enough to prep properly for the breath test.

One can have an endoscopy with biopsy to diagnose them but I read if the portion of the stomach they take the sample from is not infected...that test may not be accurate either. It is frustrating to deal with after you have it and they don't think the blood test showing a high presence indicates whether they are active or not.