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Old 11-02-2002, 08:10 AM   #1
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Question Questions about H. Pylori symptoms and treatment

About a month ago, my doctor diagnosed me via blood test, with H. Pylori infection. This was after I had been complaining of digestive problems for several months. But the fact is, I've had problems for many years, and I believe I may have had ulcers as a result of this disease, for as many as 8 years.
Some background info: I'm a 23 year old male. My father was diagnosed with H. Pylori a few years ago, and was able to clear it up with a week of "triple therapy" medication. He has had no problems since.
The earliest symptoms I recall were in the summer of 1994. I remember feeling nauseated, 2-3 hours after eating. I don't recall having any acid indigestion or other symptoms. Usually I always felt better once I ate a meal. At the time, I had a fairly decent diet although I have always been very limited on fruits and vegetables.
By mid-1995, I had a lot of problems eating a "bedtime snack". This always left me feeling nauseated at night, and as a result I often lost many hours of sleep. Sometimes I did not sleep at all. In December of 1995 I abruptly cut off my bedtime snack, and the problem immediately ceased. I often ended up going to bed hungry, but at least I could sleep well again.
I never had any great problems for at least a couple more years. My diet was still fairly good, and I could eat just about anything I wanted to, without any adverse effects. Around early 1998 I started having another problem. If I had gone to bed extremely hungry, especially if I had been out doing anything strenuous that evening, I would have almost no appetite at all the next morning, sometimes to the point of feeling nauseated.
By 2000, I had to start watching what I ate. By this time, I was being treated with antidepressants (Prozac) for various psychological symptoms. It was while on this, that I noticed a new problem. If I had too many sweets for supper, or too rich a breakfast, I would have severe acid indigestion / heartburn for most of the morning, and sometimes it would take all day to go away. But as long as I was careful, things usually weren't too bad.
But by now I noticed that certain foods, especially ice cream, gave me quite a bit of stomach gas, to the point that I had to cut down on my diet even further. I also started having problems with intestinal gas, usually at night. Usually it would just roll and around and keep me awake.
By the summer of this year, things had really started to get bad. Heartburn had become more and more frequent, and I had to cut down on my eating more and more. The real wake-up call was in June. Every year for the past several years, I've helped out at a church youth program for one week (five days). It involves getting up at 8:00 a.m., which is about 2-3 hours earlier than I'm used to. It never used to bother me much other than the fatigue, but this year it wreaked havoc with my digestive problems. If I got up early, I would feel very nauseated and almost unable to eat. As a result I was unable to be very productive at all, and the entire week was pretty much spoiled.
It was in September that my doctor finally requested the blood sample, for the H. Pylori test. I got the diagnosis within a week. I really wasn't too surprised, because I knew that something was very wrong.
He prescribed a week of "triple therapy" - a combination of biaxin, amoxycillin, and prevacid. Rather than fill out the prescription right away, I decided to do some research. To this date, I have never taken the treatment.
The main reason is because I'm so concerned about side effects. I've been through so much in the last 8 years, that I just don't want anything more to deal with.
As of present, my diet is at about 50% of what it was 8 years ago. Breakfast can never be any more than a couple pieces of (lightly) buttered toast, and some crackers. I had to give up Pop Tarts altogether, a few months ago, because of my morning heartburn problems. Even with this small breakfast, I still have to be careful what I eat and how much energy I exert, the evening before. Lunch and supper aren't much more hearty, usually consising of either a plain chicken or beef burger (with only a bun, no dressings of any kind) and a roll. A desert might include some crackers and a granola bar, and perhaps a small serving of ice cream. Even the ice cream can't be too rich, or large in serving, as it too can cause problems. I've also had to give up peanut butter and all forms of spicy food, altogether. Not to mention jams, jellies, all forms of cheese, candy bars, and other items too numerous to mention.
At present I have almost no quality of life whatsoever. I can eat very little, and what I do eat always gives me some degree of problems (gas at the very least), and I am extremely limited to the things I can do and the places I can go. My self-esteem is understandably low, and to date I'm still single. My entire life is now based around watching my diet and activities. I had to give up biking, and I rarely go for walks. Even watching television, a welcome relief when my life is chaotic, is difficult because I have to get up and walk around every once in a while, to bring up gas. I should also mention that my stomach has not "growled" in years, even when I'm really hungry. I still feel hungry, but it's more of a gnawing feeling than anything else.
Right now, I can sum up my concerns in four questions:
1. Is it possible that ulcers have been present for up to 8 years, and if so, how deep might they have progressed right now?
2. If I were to take the medication, how likely would I be to be bothered by side effects? (Can anyone else tell me of their experiences with this kind of treatment?) I really don't want to have to deal with side effects, on top of everything else.
3. If I took the medication, what are the chances that it wouldn't work, or that I'd have to take additional medication for the ulcers long after eradicating the H. Pylori infection?
4. How long could a recovery take, before I'd be able to do things and go places like I used to years ago?
On a topic which may or not be related, I've also had another unusual and extremely bothersome problem, the cause of which I'm not certain. Around the same time in 1994, when I started having digestive problems, I also noticed a large increase in the amount of saliva in my mouth. It soon became such a problem, that I had to spit frequently as there was too much to swallow. Presently, I spit somewhere between 50-100 times a day to remove the excess saliva, which seems to be produced almost at the same rate as when I'm eating. This too has become a major problem, that has limited me in my activities. As you might imagine, many people find spitting to be a rather offensive habit. As a result, I have to conceal the activity as best as I can, sometimes even having to spit inside my own clothing. A psychiatrist once treated me with various drugs (including Prozac) for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which he thought was the cause of this. The drugs didn't do a bit of good - not even the ones which caused the side effect of dry mouth.
Is it possible that this is somehow related to my H. Pylori infection?
I would greatly appreciate any advice anyone can offer. I'm at the end of my rope and I don't know what else to do right now. Every winter, I work with a group of friends (the few that I have) on building huge snowforts, which create a big attraction for the community. My site showcases most of these. Everyone is expecting something even greater this winter but at present I just won't be able to work. We usually start work in mid to late December, but even if I start treatment soon, I don't expect I'd be much better by then. Missing out on the winter projects would be a tremendous disappointment for me, and I just don't think I can take much more disappointment.
Thanks for any advice anyone has to offer. And if I've rambled on a bit too much, I apologize.

 
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Old 11-02-2002, 09:06 AM   #2
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You are much too young to live such a miserable life. I think you should take the treatment for Hp. Then take the breath test to see if you're cured --- the blood test after treatment doesn't work. The side-effects of the treatment can readily be dealt with !!!

Harry

 
Old 11-02-2002, 11:10 AM   #3
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What do you mean when you say that the side effects can be readily dealt with?
Do you mean, by your statement, that older folks should expect to lead miserable lives? If so, what do I have to look forward to in 30 or 40 years? I have a grandmother who's almost 90 and she's far more mobile than I am!

 
Old 11-02-2002, 04:37 PM   #4
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Your digestion has to function properly for you to live a quality life!!! For the last 8 years you have probably had Hp infection. 85 % of peptic ulcers are caused by H.pylori bacteria.


The treatment side-effects that may or may not happen is that antibiotics kill off more than H.pylori bacteria --- it does in the friendly bacteria and you may get a yeast/ candida infection than has to be cured and the friendly bacteria has to be replaced.

As you get older you can rest assure that you will have more health problems. 70% of health cost today are caused by people over 50 years old--- a well documented fact. Many companies are reducing there healthcare coverage for their retires including me!!!!
You are very fortunate to have a grand parent that is almost 90!! I never knew either of my grand parents on either side. My dad died at 46 and mother at 67.

God Bless---Harry

 
Old 11-03-2002, 03:41 PM   #5
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What do you mean by a yeast/candida infection? I thought only women got yeast infections (this statement no doubt shows just how uneducated I am).
I know, I am fortunate to have a grandmother left. My other three grandparents died years ago.
I also know that health problems are more common with age. My grandma, for example, has a lot of trouble with arthritis, among other things. She has to take several pills a day. But as long as she keeps up her medication, she stays pretty active, and most of her medications don't cause any noticeable side effects. And her digestive system is certainly in better shape than mine.
I know that if I live anywhere near that age, I can expect some health problems. But it wouldn't be so bad, as long as I was still able to do the things I enjoy. And to be honest, I can't do very many of them now.
My main concern about taking this medication, besides possible side effects, is that I may need additional medication for the ulcers, for several weeks after the HP therapy. Also, another HP patient told me that in the process of clearing up his infection, he became lactose intolerant.
This is a lot of scary stuff, for someone my age to have to deal with. Even scarier when I know that this can cause stomach cancer, and I've been at risk for up to 8 years.
Thanks for your advice, and if you want to talk more you can E-mail me at [removed].com

[Hi Please do not post your email address on these
message boards, as per the guidelines. Thank you! ]

[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 11-12-2002).]

 
Old 11-05-2002, 08:07 AM   #6
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Hi - I was reading your story and sounds so much like what I have been going through. I also think I had H. Pylori for many years. The symptoms got worse 3 years ago with nausea, then a burning stomach and hollow stomach like you describe. This year, terrible heart burn and reflux. I was diagnosed with H. Pylori in April. I did the triple therapy for 7 days in May - didn't help. Did it again in June for another 7 days and noticed an immediate improvement. Still not 100% but prior to treatment thought I was dying! Now, I still have acid reflux issues but the nausea is gone and stomach a lot better. I did a follow up breath test last month and the HP is killed.

I really think you should do the triple therapy since you don't want to end up with stomach cancer later on. Don't be afraid of it. I will not lie - the drugs were not fun to take but I am the biggest wimp and I did it. You just have to be prepared. I got a yeast infection - called a thrush infection - on my tongue. It only got bad because I didn't get it treated quick enough because I didn't know what it was.

I have spoken to many people through the Helicobacter Foundation web site and some recovered really quickly after treatment (some a bit slower like me).

Anyway, I wouldn't ignore the HP. Good Luck. I can answer any other questions you have too.
Emmy

 
Old 11-07-2002, 07:41 AM   #7
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Emmy,
I am curious ---what part of the world do you live in??? Where I live, the Labs don't trust the Breath Test but it was just a few years ago they didn't believe H.pylori caused ulcers and other stomach/ digestive problems.

Thanks---Harry

[This message has been edited by Harry (edited 11-07-2002).]

 
Old 11-07-2002, 09:10 AM   #8
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Hi Harry,

I live in Ontario, Canada.
I believe you are in the US (I saw SC by your name - South Carolina maybe???????).
That is very interesting about not trusting the breath test because I personally have doubts about the breath test and think it is still possible I have HP. Here they told me it is very reliable.
What do they do in your area instead to test if the HP is gone?? I hear biopsy isn't great because the HP can be in another part of the stomach where no biopsy was taken. I don't think blood test is reliable to start with plus it will remain positive for something like a year after treatment I think.
Emmy
p.s. Did you have HP too? What were your symptoms and how were you treated (if you don't mind me asking!)

 
Old 11-08-2002, 07:59 AM   #9
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HI Emmy,
Thanks for telling me where you live ---When I read some of these messages, I usually look to see where the person lives. Just curious?? I have no problem Harry is my real name and I do live in Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

I have been treated for H.pylori but it was only with Biaxin and Prilosec --- I later had gastritis that had to be teated. They never test you here to see if you're cured ---- they assume that if your problems goes away then you're cured.

I have found one local Gastro-- Doctor's office that uses the breath test but I don't have an appointment for 2 months as a first visit. The standard treatment here NOW is a 2 week treatment of Amoxillcin, Biaxin, and Privicid--both am and pm ---it comes in a pre-bubble-pack.

I have done enough reading to be convinced that the Breath Test works to make sure the Hp has been eliminated after being treated. In some areas of the world it has been used for over 10 years. So, some people think it's accurate enough.

Thanks---Harry

 
Old 11-12-2002, 07:11 AM   #10
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My husband is on the treatment therapy right now. Only has 1 more day to go. Only side effect he has had is a little dizziness. Well worth it, to get rid of this bacteria. He had to go to the emergency room 3 weeks ago, was bleeding so bad his BP had dropped way down. He is on heart medication, and this was very scarey for him. He had a gastric ulcer (had no idea, as only symptoms were gas and bloating after eating). Had an endoscopy and they found the bleeding, cauterized the ulcer, and kept him in hospital for a week. If you don't do the treatment, you will get an ulcer. If you have one now, it will heal it and kill the bacteria that causes the ulcers. Please do the treatment. The alternative is much worse. You will feel so much better. You can handle any kind of side effects for 2 weeks, after what you have lived with for 8 years.
GO FOR IT!!!
God bless!
Lynda

 
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