Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Could this be the problem ?
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Could this be the problem ?

I recently posted some words about the lead weight feeling I get after eating. I recently went back to my doctor, and of course I had my blood drawn once again, had an x-ray of the stomach and an ultra-sound which even looked at my gull blader. As always the answer was, nothing is wrong. At the end of the visit my doctor gave me a new medicine, since the Cipro(antibiotic) she had previously given me had done nothing at all. The new medicine is Metronidazole and upon reaching my home my wife recognized it as a comon medicine given in her country to people with parasites. So, does my doctor think I have parasites or is she just quessing at it, the latter I think. This, however, raises a question. Maybe that is all I have. Maybe parasites are causing the acid reflux, and the lead weighty feeling after I eat. Not all parasites cause diarreah (diarrhea) and vomiting ( I have looked this up already). If this is a possibility then why didn't my doctor check for this specifically and why have I been given acid reducers for so long which only tries to correct the problem and not the cause. Has my doctor been tagging me along to get my money, maybe always knowing the cause yet only marginally curing me to keep me coming back ? I have now gotten in touch with two doctors in my wife's country who deal with parasites on a daily basis so that they may take a look at my case and give me an opinion. If they believe this could be the cause then I will begin taking the metronidazole ( I haven't yet begun doing so, because I'm tired of being a test lab for my doctors guessing games).
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Below is some information on H Pylori that may be of use.  Your medication that was prescribed for you is listed as a treatment.  Maybe your doctor is trying to save you money by not sending you for a GED endoscopy.  Stomach problems are difficult to diagnose and harder to cure.  Everyone in this forum understands your fustration.  I hope this information will be of use to you.

  
H. pylori: The Key to Cure for Most Ulcer Patients
Benjamin D. Gold, MD
Introduction

At a time when physicians are criticized for overly prescribing antibiotics and using them unnecessarily, national surveys indicate there is at least one malady, peptic ulcer disease, for which antibiotics are underused. Peptic ulcer disease, both gastric and duodenal, is a significant health care problem that causes pain and suffering for millions of people. Furthermore, it accounts for a tremendous burden upon the health care system. Approximately 25 million Americans will have an ulcer at some point in their lifetime. In the past, spicy food, acid and stress were thought to be major causes of peptic ulcers. We now know that up to nine out of ten ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) that can be cured with appropriate antibiotic treatment. However, many health care providers do not treat ulcer patients with antibiotics, and many health care consumers are still unaware that ulcers are caused by a curable infection.

History of H. pylori Infection

H. pylori is a spiral-shaped bacterium that lives attached to or just above the gastric mucosa. Once a person is infected, the organism can live in the stomach indefinitely and may not cause clinical illness until many years later. Many of those infected never develop symptoms at all. The role of H. pylori as a major cause of peptic ulcer disease and gastritis in humans was first discovered by Drs. Barry Marshall and J. Robin Warren in Australia in 1983. Studies have also shown an association between long-term infection with H. pylori and the development of gastric cancer. Gastric cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide; it is most common in countries such as Colombia and China, where H. pylori infects the majority of the population in early childhood. H. pylori infection is extremely common; over 50% of the world's population is infected with this bacterium. In the United States H. pylori infection is more common in older adults, African Americans, Hispanics and persons living under low socioeconomic circumstances. It is still not clear how H. pylori is transmitted or why some people infected with H. pylori become sick and others do not. Researchers believe that the bacteria are most likely spread from person to person through the fecal-oral route or the oral-oral route, and that humans are the primary reservoir for this infection.

Testing for H. pylori Infection

Several tests, both invasive and noninvasive, are available to detect H. pylori in patients who have been diagnosed with an ulcer or who have ulcer symptoms. Invasive tests involve endoscopy, during which biopsy specimens are obtained to determine if the patient is infected with H. pylori and if he or she has an ulcer. Noninvasive tests do not determine if a patient has an ulcer but whether a patient has been infected with H. pylori. Non-invasive tests include both serologic tests and breath tests. Serologic testing can determine if a person had a past or current infection by measuring specific H. pylori IgG antibodies. For breath testing, the patient must drink an oral preparation containing 13C or 14C-labeled urea. The H. pylori bacteria in the stomach metabolize this urea, and the carbon is absorbed into the blood stream, travels to the lungs, and is then exhaled. Measurements of 13C or 14C in exhaled breath determine presence or absence of H. pylori infection. The breath test is the only available FDA-approved method to test for cure after treatment.

Treating H. pylori Infection

f a patient is infected with H. pylori and has an active gastric or duodenal ulcer, or a history of an ulcer, the infection should be treated. Therapy for H. pylori infection consists of 1-2 weeks of one or two effective antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, tetracycline (not to be used for children <12 yrs.), metronidazole, or clarithromycin, plus either ranitidine bismuth citrate, bismuth subsalicylate, or a proton pump inhibitor. The many clinical treatment trials involving patients with H. pylori infection and gastric or duodenal ulcers show that curing the infection is associated with a marked reduction in ulcer recurrence rates. Duodenal and gastric ulcers recur in up to 80% of persons treated with medications that reduce gastric acid but are not treated with antibiotics for H. pylori infection. By comparison, only 6% of patients have recurrent ulcers when their H. pylori infection is cured.

In 1994, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a Consensus Development Conference consisting of an expert panel in the area of gastrointestinal and infectious diseases and microbiology to discuss the role of H. pylori infection in peptic ulcer disease. The panel unanimously agreed that there was a causal association between H. pylori infection and ulcer disease. The consultants recommend that all patients with ulcers who are infected with H. pylori should undergo antibiotic treatment for the infection.

Awareness High, Treatment Low

After the NIH recommendations were published, national surveys of primary care physicians and gastroenterologists indicated that approximately 90% of these physicians correctly identified H. pylori infection as the primary cause of ulcers. However, primary care physicians still reported treating more than 50% of their first time ulcer patients with acid-reducing medications and not antibiotic-based regimens. Even gastroenterologists reported treating over 30% of their patients with first time ulcer symptoms with acid-reducing medications alone.

Health care consumers are far less aware of the association between H. pylori and peptic ulcer disease than their health care providers are. CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, on October 24, 1997, reported the findings of the Healthstyles Supplemental Survey administered to health care consumers in 1997. Questionnaires were mailed to a representative sample of 3,064 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older; of these, 82% completed the questionnaire. Approximately 60% of the respondents believed that ulcers were caused by too much stress; 17% thought that spicy foods were the cause of ulcers, and only 27% believed that a bacterial infection might be the cause of ulcers. These findings suggest that both health care providers and consumers need further education about the link between H. pylori and peptic ulcer disease.

The Economics of H. pylori

The under use of antibiotic therapy for H. pylori infection and peptic ulcer disease results not only in unnecessary loss of productivity and decreased quality of life, but also in enormous strain on the economy and resources of the health care delivery system. A recent survey of adults living in the United States showed that 10% to 15% of all persons with a recent ulcer reported themselves to be in poor health, incapable of major activity, or unable to work for some part of the previous year. In the early 1990s, 6,058 Americans over the age of 35 years died from peptic ulcer disease, and health care costs attributed to management of acute or chronic ulcer disease totaled over $13.9 billion per year.

Economic analysis demonstrates that curing an ulcer takes less time and costs substantially less than the cost of treating ulcer symptoms over a person's lifetime. The most extreme treatment, vagotomy or ulcer surgery, costs approximately $17,000 and requires an average of 307 days of treatment over a 15-year period. Maintenance therapy with antisecretory agents costs approximately $11,000 and requires 187 days of treatment over 15 years. In comparison, antibiotic therapy for H. pylori takes 17 days and costs less than $1,000 over the same 15 year period. Therefore, treating persons with peptic ulcer disease and H. pylori with an appropriate course of relatively inexpensive antibiotics is the recommended approach for most health care providers.

The CDC H. pylori Education Initiative

To increase awareness that peptic ulcer disease is caused by a curable infection, CDC, along with partners from academia, other federal agencies, and industry, has launched an education campaign targeting health care consumers and providers. The campaign includes radio and television public service announcements, a web site and toll-free information number (1-888-MY-ULCER), along with consumer and physician fact sheet mailouts. The overall education campaign goals are to dispel the belief that most ulcers are caused by spicy foods, acid or stress and increase awareness of a curable, infectious cause of peptic ulcer disease.

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When your doctor prescribed this medicine for you ,he/she did not tell you what conclusion he/she had come to in order for you to take these pills? You would have thought the doctor would have said..I think you have this..so i will prescribe you this.
I think if a doctor suspects parasites they would want a stool sample from you. I think too many people go to their doctors with such complete trust that they don't ask the questions they should be asking. My doctor tells me why he is prescribing me a pill and will open his medical book and show me and he will also go over the side effects with me too. Too many doctors I think will get stumped and their answer is to prescribe you a pill which will make you go away for another few weeks..
Obviously the doctor must have an idea of why he or she wants you to take this prescribtion and I think you should ask the doctor. What is the worst thing that the doctor could say...I don't know?...it's none of your business?...take the pill and go away?..i will let you know on your next appointment?
I never take a pill unless I know what it is for and the side effects. Just don't have blind faith in your doctor..ask questions and expect answers..if not..get another doctor.
take care and i wish you well :)
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Avatar_n_tn
I think it is time for you to get a new doctor.
No way on earth do you have parasites. If you did you would have more than acid reflux and a heavy feeling.
If you are getting heavy acid after eating, why don't you try some alkaline foods. It's either ying or yang and you seem to have an excess of yang right now.
Whatever. it is not parasites unless you have been digging around at the local garbadge dump and not washing up after, which I doubt
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm also a little confused.  I read the name of your medication and thought it looked familiar so I went and looked - sure enough, Metronidazole is what my doctor gave me for a vaginal infection.  Granted mine is a gel but I didn't know it came in a pill form also.  And for parasites?  I have to agree with the previous posting, I don't believe that's what you have either, unless it's something else your doctor thinks you have.  In any case, I was told - and have read this also - that Metronidazole is linked to cancer and not to use if often.  Now, I don't know if this only applies to mine or to any of it, but honestly?  I'd toss the pills into a cupboard and see another doctor.
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Sounds JUST like me....Your symptoms that is. VERY heavy feeling in the upper middle abdomen after you eat, and if you eat and quickly start moving about, the pain gets worse and causes you to ALWAYS have to SIT. It's annoying. Now I had an endoscopy, which I think you should have, and I was told I have gastritis. You should really see a gastroenterologist if you aren't already. GI testing and NOT blood work and ultra sounds, but an endoscopy and GI series. It's the best way to diagnose.
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