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I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

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I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Old 10-16-12, 11:00 PM
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I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Alrighty, as mentioned in the VP debate thread (yeah, I know, but that's where we were talking about it), I have been having problems with my digestive system for for years, at least around ten years now. I have been without health insurance and instead of going to the doctor to pay for it I have been trying to deal with it, but over the past few years it has gotten to the point where it is making me miserable every day. If it's a digestive system symptom, I've likely had it over this time. I got married last year, and my wife got a new job this year which offered use health insurance. We got on the plan, and I finally decided it was time to have this checked out.

Long story short, we found a good family doctor and he scheduled me for blood work last week. I got the results today, and I tested positive for Helicobacter pylori (the H Pylori bacterial infection). I had never heard of it until here lately after going to the doctor, and I'm still not entirely sure what it is other than the likely cause of most of my problems. He said people can have it for years before being diagnosed, such as myself.

He prescribed a medicine called Prevpac Oral, a high dose of antibiotics and antacid I believe, four pills a dose twice a day. The side effects sound awful from what I read and you can feel like you are going to die before it's all said and done. But, if all goes well, it can eradicate the H Pylori infection. He told me straight up that I'd hate it, it would make me feel awful for two weeks, no one responds well to it, but in the end it could help. Way to make me feel better about it doc.

Anyway, have any of you ever been diagnosed with H Pylori and then took the two week treatment of Prevpac?

He also wants me to get a scope to check me out, because in addition he suspects IBS or Crohn's disease since I have so many symptoms and they are all over the map, so while this may help, it's likely not my end game to my problems.

He told me to also go on a diet to help things, a diabetic diet is what he said would likely help the most, so I'm not even entirely sure what to do there. I've never been on a strict diet before, instead I just ate less and cut out sweets and that normal sort of stuff.

If you have digestive problems I'd love to hear from ya. I know there are quite a few of us here, and we all know how miserable it can be. Blah.
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Old 10-16-12, 11:08 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Heliobacter Pylori is common and easy to transfer, I haven't heard of such extreme medication to take care of it but I've also never been diagnosed with it directly. It's mostly associated with chronic ulcers. Mastic Gum was supposed to help with it but I'm pretty sure that wound up being bunk.

Have you ever tried Probiotics? I've actually had some pretty damn good results with them (I mean in powder/capsule form, not Activia or Kefir, though those also help) My stomach gets particularly bad when I take antibiotics since they kill both the good and bad bacterium in your system, I immediately feel it in my gut.

My family has a long history of stomach issues, I've found dietary changes helped a lot. It's possible you could have one of those annoying food intolerance to gluten or something similar.

Try googling Probiotics with Prepvac, there is actually a decent bit of discussion on it preventing the death style side effects. I'm actually going to highly recommend having some on hand.

Unfortunately digestive problems are generally a giant question mark for most doctors, while they can prescribe antacids, proton-pump inhibitors, antibiotics, enzyme supplements, run stool tests, scopes, swabs, etc; it's one of the few things that self-diagnosis helps out a good bit with unless it's a tumor, stone or ulcer. Try a few supplements, definitely try the probiotics, make some changes to your diet, etc; process of elimination is your best friend.

Last edited by RichC2; 10-16-12 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 10-16-12, 11:11 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Interesting. I'd love to hear what some of your symptoms are. I've been dealing with digestive issues as well for the past 5-6 years. I've been to a GI doc and had an upper gi and colonoscopy and he noted nothing of interest in either scope. He said that the Upper GI showed some signs of barrets esophagus, but since I had a surgery in the past to resolve my GERD (acid reflux) and he put me on omeprazole, he wasn't concerned. In the colonoscopy, he noticed some polyps that he removed. Since my symptoms are all over the place as well and he can't pin down what it is, he gave me the general IBS diagnosis and put me on dicyclamine and buspar. I've also increased my fiber intake.. I still have stomach issues and other issues using the bathroom, but I've kind of given up at this point of finding an answer and getting back to the way I felt before. I was tested for celiac disease and that wasn't the issue and I think he ruled out Chrons.. which is good because I have an uncle that has that and he spent a ton of time in the hospital and had sections of his bowel or colon removed (I'm not sure which).. I know the GI doc did some bloodwork, but I'm not sure if he actually tested for H Pylori. Though in my discussions with him he never mentioned it.

Anyways.. it sucks having these issues and I really wish whatever it is would go away.
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Old 10-17-12, 07:16 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Ulcers have long mistakenly been thought to be cause by stress. This was disproven several decades ago by a couple of Australian family physicians in an article published in Lancet after being rejected by numerous other journals. Ulcers ARE in fact caused by H pylori. In spite of it being proven, there are a surprising number of people who still think that stress causes it and antacids or proton pump inhibitors are the way to treat it, even docs. It's one of the more infamous examples of scientific progress being hampered by big Pharm financial interests.

Brent, it sounds like your doc is on top of it and I'd follow his recommendation. Prevpac is a combination of 2 antibiotics - clarithromycin and amoxicillin - with a proton pump inhibitor to help ease the acid burn while your stomach/duodenum heals. Not sure what your doctor's intent is by "diabetic diet" but my own dad has been diabetic for over 15 years - insulin dependent pin the last 3 yrs. This year I put him on a strict paleo diet and prohibited all processed pre-packaged foods and its worked brilliantly - no more meds. I think that the paleo diet is a good one for all to follow. Difficult to adjust though if you are hooked on carbs and starches like many others.

Last edited by hahn; 10-17-12 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 10-17-12, 07:20 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by hahn View Post
Ulcers have long mistakenly been thought to be cause by stress. This was disproven several decades ago by a couple of Australian family physicians in an article published in Lancet after being rejected by numerous other journals. In spite of it being proven, there are a surprising number of people who still think that stress causes it and antacids or proton pump inhibitors are the way to treat it, even docs. It's one of the more infamous examples of scientific progress being hampered by big Pharm financial interests.
I have actually known this for years. However, this past year I underwent an incredible amount of stress. I ended up shitting enough blood to scare the hell out of me and went to the ER. From normal to full on "fill the toilet with blood" in about 24 hours. They did the big scan and I had a very nasty ulcer. Up to that point, I ate habenero salsa daily with no problem. They ended up putting me on some acid blocker for about 6 weeks and I was on an incredibly bland diet (sucked so bad), and then it was all healed and I was back to habenero salsa.

This didn't jibe with what I knew about bacteria being the source of ulcers. Obviously, you'd know far more about it than me, but I have wondered what the hell was up for a long time with that. Any ideas?
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Old 10-17-12, 07:35 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by Vryce View Post
Interesting. I'd love to hear what some of your symptoms are. I've been dealing with digestive issues as well for the past 5-6 years. I've been to a GI doc and had an upper gi and colonoscopy and he noted nothing of interest in either scope. He said that the Upper GI showed some signs of barrets esophagus, but since I had a surgery in the past to resolve my GERD (acid reflux) and he put me on omeprazole, he wasn't concerned. In the colonoscopy, he noticed some polyps that he removed. Since my symptoms are all over the place as well and he can't pin down what it is, he gave me the general IBS diagnosis and put me on dicyclamine and buspar. I've also increased my fiber intake.. I still have stomach issues and other issues using the bathroom, but I've kind of given up at this point of finding an answer and getting back to the way I felt before. I was tested for celiac disease and that wasn't the issue and I think he ruled out Chrons.. which is good because I have an uncle that has that and he spent a ton of time in the hospital and had sections of his bowel or colon removed (I'm not sure which).. I know the GI doc did some bloodwork, but I'm not sure if he actually tested for H Pylori. Though in my discussions with him he never mentioned it.

Anyways.. it sucks having these issues and I really wish whatever it is would go away.
If your uncle had a section of his colon removed, he was probably diagnosed with ulcerative colitis which places a patient at increased risk for colon cancer. If had long standing active disease and they find dysplasia, they may have opted to remove his colon as a preventive measure.

H pylori can be tested by serum (bloodwork) but the test is not very specific. Many people are colonized with H pylori without actually having ulcers or symptoms. Usually the better tests are a urease breath test and a direct biopsy of your stomach antrum in which a pathologist can detect the organisms and confirm acute inflammation. Also the GI doc can directly visualize an ulcer.

As for your symptoms, as Rich mentioned, food intolerance/allergies is possible. In fact, i wiuld even say likely. It is highly prevalent in the population and very difficult to pin down because of how varied our diets are. As he also mentioned, you may want to try an elimination diet. The first thing I would try to eliminate is dairy. There has been some anecdotal evidence that milk may cause acid reflux in many people. The next thing I would try is wheat. Even if you don't have full blown celiac disease, you may simply be sensitive to gluten, which may possibly be enough for your GI symptoms.

BTW, I would also note that long standing use of proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole are known to cause fundic gland polyps. I'm not the biggest fan of PPI's for reasons too long to get into, but I'm not in the position to tell you to stop taking them, especially if they provide you relief. What I will say is that if you are able to pinpoint a dietary source for your symptoms, I would try to reduce and then eliminate the use of PPI's. Good luck - GI symptoms really suck.

Last edited by hahn; 10-17-12 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 10-17-12, 07:44 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
I have actually known this for years. However, this past year I underwent an incredible amount of stress. I ended up shitting enough blood to scare the hell out of me and went to the ER. From normal to full on "fill the toilet with blood" in about 24 hours. They did the big scan and I had a very nasty ulcer. Up to that point, I ate habenero salsa daily with no problem. They ended up putting me on some acid blocker for about 6 weeks and I was on an incredibly bland diet (sucked so bad), and then it was all healed and I was back to habenero salsa.

This didn't jibe with what I knew about bacteria being the source of ulcers. Obviously, you'd know far more about it than me, but I have wondered what the hell was up for a long time with that. Any ideas?
Do you know for sure you were negative for H pylori by either or both the urease breath test or biopsy? Also were you scoped again after your symptoms went away or are you assuming you're healed because you are no longer pooping blood nor have any pain?
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Old 10-17-12, 08:06 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by hahn View Post
As for your symptoms, as Rich mentioned, food intolerance/allergies is possible. In fact, i wiuld even say likely. It is highly prevalent in the population and very difficult to pin down because of how varied our diets are. As he also mentioned, you may want to try an elimination diet. The first thing I would try to eliminate is dairy. There has been some anecdotal evidence that milk may cause acid reflux in many people. The next thing I would try is wheat. Even if you don't have full blown celiac disease, you may simply be sensitive to gluten, which may possibly be enough for your GI symptoms.
Anecdotally I've found this to be true. I have Crohn's disease (mild, thank god). I was having digestive issues and decided to cut out wheat--MAJOR difference. Of course I backslide sometimes. I can have a little wheat and I'm generally fine, but a lot (some every day) and I start having to use the bathroom multiple times per day as well as develop a strange pressure below my belly button that is uncomfortable. In fact, I have it right now. I need to be stricter.
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Old 10-17-12, 08:06 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
I have actually known this for years. However, this past year I underwent an incredible amount of stress. I ended up shitting enough blood to scare the hell out of me and went to the ER. From normal to full on "fill the toilet with blood" in about 24 hours. They did the big scan and I had a very nasty ulcer. Up to that point, I ate habenero salsa daily with no problem. They ended up putting me on some acid blocker for about 6 weeks and I was on an incredibly bland diet (sucked so bad), and then it was all healed and I was back to habenero salsa.

This didn't jibe with what I knew about bacteria being the source of ulcers. Obviously, you'd know far more about it than me, but I have wondered what the hell was up for a long time with that. Any ideas?
Bacteria is the ultimate cause of ulcers, but there are many more people carrying around the ulcer-causing bacteria than there are people with ulcers. Stress does appear to alter the stomach's environment, which gives the bacteria the opportunity to actually cause the ulcer. It's tied to our endocrine system and our body's production of prostaglandins. So stress can still be a trigger for ulcers if you are carrying the ulcer bacteria.
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Old 10-17-12, 08:18 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
Bacteria is the ultimate cause of ulcers, but there are many more people carrying around the ulcer-causing bacteria than there are people with ulcers. Stress does appear to alter the stomach's environment, which gives the bacteria the opportunity to actually cause the ulcer. It's tied to our endocrine system and our body's production of prostaglandins. So stress can still be a trigger for ulcers if you are carrying the ulcer bacteria.
This is true. It occurred to me after I posted that it may have sounded like I was claiming that stress has nothing to do with ulcers. H pylori is the direct cause, but stress can definitely be a contributing factor to a symptomatic infection.
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Old 10-17-12, 08:23 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

I was diagnosed with H Pylori as a kid, when I had terrible stomach problems. I took a bunch of medications and got rid of the bacteria. I still had some stomach problems after that, but it wasn't H Pylori anymore. I'm doing much better now, thankfully.
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Old 10-17-12, 10:32 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

I had H Pylori about 10 years ago. My doc put me on the typical regimen, 2 antibiotics and a PPI, for 2 or 3 weeks, I don't remember. The only downside was I had to stay away from alcohol. But no side effects from the antibiotics and it cleared up just fine.

Fast forward to last year. I had the exact same pain as the H Pylori. But blood and breath tests came back negative. Went to a GI doc. He put me on Previcid , which made a big difference. He did a scope down my throat, saw some irritated areas and took samples for biopsy. Everything came back negative. He told me that I would have to experiment to find out what was causing the stomach pain to flare-up. He also recommended experimenting with OTC previcid (or similar) to see what the lowest dose I could take and still have it be effective. I hate the idea of taking meds forever so I skipped the Previcid.. Whatever is causing it seems to be related to the spring season, because it went away with fall and returned a little bit this year during spring.
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Old 10-18-12, 09:32 AM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

I took the first four pills this morning and I feel a battle starting to take place inside of me. You know how when you take an empty plastic bottle, and suck the air out until it's just totally compressed? That is how my stomach feels today, oddly enough. I've never had it feel quite like that before.
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Old 10-18-12, 10:21 AM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
Bacteria is the ultimate cause of ulcers, but there are many more people carrying around the ulcer-causing bacteria than there are people with ulcers. Stress does appear to alter the stomach's environment, which gives the bacteria the opportunity to actually cause the ulcer. It's tied to our endocrine system and our body's production of prostaglandins. So stress can still be a trigger for ulcers if you are carrying the ulcer bacteria.
Originally Posted by hahn View Post
This is true. It occurred to me after I posted that it may have sounded like I was claiming that stress has nothing to do with ulcers. H pylori is the direct cause, but stress can definitely be a contributing factor to a symptomatic infection.
Thanks.
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Old 10-18-12, 10:35 AM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Everyone in this thread has my sincere sympathy. Considering that I am a big ol' fatty who eats way too much of both the good foods and the bad foods, my gut should have rebelled on me long ere this. However, the only real health problems I have had have involved my lady parts, which I won't go into, thank you. Oh, and some extremely severe allergies.

Stomach pain and gastric disorders have got to be misery. Bless all of you as you try to find relief.
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Old 10-18-12, 12:45 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by Kevin Phillips View Post
I hate the idea of taking meds forever so I skipped the Previcid.. Whatever is causing it seems to be related to the spring season, because it went away with fall and returned a little bit this year during spring.
That sounds like a low-level, latent allergy that is affecting your immune system on a temporary basis. The next time it pops up, immediately mark it down and check the seasonal allergens in your geographic region. Your body is probably strong enough on its own to fight off the problem, when it's not coping with the allergy.
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Old 10-18-12, 01:05 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by Brent L View Post
I took the first four pills this morning and I feel a battle starting to take place inside of me. You know how when you take an empty plastic bottle, and suck the air out until it's just totally compressed? That is how my stomach feels today, oddly enough. I've never had it feel quite like that before.
Yeah, the pill includes a proton pump inhibitor which reduces the production of stomach acid, this occasionally comes with a "dumping effect" (lol?), mix that with the antibiotic essentially killing all the bacteria, including the stuff that assists with food breakdown and digestions... it's going to feel a bit odd.
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Old 10-18-12, 01:06 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by hahn View Post
If your uncle had a section of his colon removed, he was probably diagnosed with ulcerative colitis which places a patient at increased risk for colon cancer. If had long standing active disease and they find dysplasia, they may have opted to remove his colon as a preventive measure.

H pylori can be tested by serum (bloodwork) but the test is not very specific. Many people are colonized with H pylori without actually having ulcers or symptoms. Usually the better tests are a urease breath test and a direct biopsy of your stomach antrum in which a pathologist can detect the organisms and confirm acute inflammation. Also the GI doc can directly visualize an ulcer.

As for your symptoms, as Rich mentioned, food intolerance/allergies is possible. In fact, i wiuld even say likely. It is highly prevalent in the population and very difficult to pin down because of how varied our diets are. As he also mentioned, you may want to try an elimination diet. The first thing I would try to eliminate is dairy. There has been some anecdotal evidence that milk may cause acid reflux in many people. The next thing I would try is wheat. Even if you don't have full blown celiac disease, you may simply be sensitive to gluten, which may possibly be enough for your GI symptoms.

BTW, I would also note that long standing use of proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole are known to cause fundic gland polyps. I'm not the biggest fan of PPI's for reasons too long to get into, but I'm not in the position to tell you to stop taking them, especially if they provide you relief. What I will say is that if you are able to pinpoint a dietary source for your symptoms, I would try to reduce and then eliminate the use of PPI's. Good luck - GI symptoms really suck.
Thanks for the reply. I may be mistaken about my uncle as I was young when he was in the hospital. I do know that he has/had Cronhs disease. He did have a colostomy bag for a while. Maybe he had multiple things going on?

As for my symptoms.. I did the eliminate dairy for a month as my doctor recommended that. It sucked for that month using cheese replacements at the times I would need cheese in a meal. I've been on omeprazole for a long time. Before I had my GERD surgery (a laproscopic nissen fundolipication), I was on it for 3-4 years in my early 20s. Then after the surgery I was on it for about 3-4 months as I healed, etc. Then off of it for a few years. I only went back on it after seeing a new GI doctor a couple years ago and described my symptoms. The odd thing is that I really don't have acid reflux any more since the surgery did fix that. I think he thinks that I'm still producing too much acid and taht might be causing the digestive issues? Not sure.

I did allergy testing, though for environmental things. I asked the allergy doctor about food allergies and they said actual food allergies are rare but did mention it could be food intolerance. I always forget to start a daily journal to track my food intake, how I feel, as well as other notable things so that it might help my GI doctor. I get the feeling from him, in that he doesn't really have an answer, and from what I read online that a diagnosis of IBS is a catch-all for when nothing else has come up as the reason.
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Old 10-18-12, 01:20 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Originally Posted by Vryce View Post
I did allergy testing, though for environmental things. I asked the allergy doctor about food allergies and they said actual food allergies are rare but did mention it could be food intolerance. I always forget to start a daily journal to track my food intake, how I feel, as well as other notable things so that it might help my GI doctor. I get the feeling from him, in that he doesn't really have an answer, and from what I read online that a diagnosis of IBS is a catch-all for when nothing else has come up as the reason.
If you can afford it, get a second opinion from another GI doctor. What one doctor might over look, another doctor might see in a minute.
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Old 10-18-12, 01:27 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

I'm pretty sure I tested positive for this 12-15 years ago. I just remember getting tortured with the acid in my stomach. I remember the GI starting me out with Tagament and then I moved onto PPI when Tagament didn't work. I think he gave me antibiotics as well.

I got diagnosed with IBS soon after as well. I think I did most of those other tests just to be sure that I didn't have anything else. The thing with IBS is there isn't one medication that cures it. You can do certain things to reduce the symptoms. I guess dicyclomine/bentyl reduces the pain with the stomach cramps but they cause extreme dry mouth whenever I take it.

For a while there (a few years), I was taking PPI everyday. At some point, I realized I didn't have to take it everyday and could only take it when I needed to. Sadly, the acid production in my stomach has gotten up again and I'm taking it at least on a short term basis.

OP you have my sympathies, as most of those tests aren't fun at all. Since your insurance covers it, you might as well get most of them done so at least you can find out definitively what is going on in your stomach.
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Old 10-19-12, 09:19 AM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

I've heard that this whole helicopter-peoria bacteria comes from going ass-to-mouth.
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Old 10-19-12, 09:28 AM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

You can spend $900 on a fucking cat but won't spend money on health insurance?
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Old 10-19-12, 11:29 AM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

Eh, there's worse things you can test positive for.
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Old 10-19-12, 12:09 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

A coworker had this. Didn't sound very serious, she took some antibiotics but I don't remember them making her feel like crap. She was fine at work the next couple weeks.
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Old 10-25-12, 10:11 PM
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Re: I tested positive for H Pylori - anyone else with digestive problems? Tips?

I was diagnosed with h pylori when I was diagosed with Celiac Disease almost ten years. I have had flare ups with h pylori every couple of years. I am very strict with eating gluten free, but doctor did tell me that one you have been diagnosed with it once you will always test positive for it. The last flair up was 6 months ago. I had no issues with the medicine other than the Metallic taste in my after taking the pill.
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