Americans Unaware of Primary Cause of Peptic Ulcer Disease

Most healthcare consumers are unaware that peptic ulcer disease is caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria in 9 of 10 cases, according to officials with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 60% of respondents believed that ulcers were caused by stress and 17% thought that ulcers were caused by spicy foods.

Stress and spicy foods may worsen the symptoms and pain of an ulcer, but they are not the cause. There is a big difference between managing symptoms and actually curing an ulcer...[Eliminating H. pylori with antibiotics means there is a greater than 90 percent chance that the ulcer can be cured for good.]

According to the CDC, national survey results in 1994 and 1996 showed that 90% of primary care physicians and gastroenterologists knew that H. pylori was the primary cause of peptic ulcer disease. However, 50% of the primary care physicians and 30% of the gastroenterologists treated patients with first-time ulcer symptoms with antisecretory agents without testing for the presence of H. pylori.

MMWR October 24, 1997;46:985-987

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

I was treating patients for H. pylori 12 years ago, shortly after I read of the work of the pioneer Australian family physician, Dr. Barry Marshall who made one of the most remarkable additions to Western World medicine in the last few decades.

It is so rare that one independent physician not connected with any research institution can turn the entire medical world's view around on the cause of one of the most common medical problems we face, peptic ulcers.

Unfortunately it took Western medicine over one decade before most physicians reluctantly abandoned their concepts of what the cause of ulcers were. This is a very typical pattern with new medical information.

The amazing aspect of the treatment of peptic ulcer disease is that the drugs used to treat them (H2 blockers) were the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. They still are very commonly used.

I strongly believe that 99% of them are unnecessary and actually harm people. It was a major tragedy that these drugs became available over the counter a few years ago.

It was bad enough physicians were using them inappropriately now anyone can abuse these dangerous drugs and short circuit their body's normal protective mechanisms.

Our bodies were not designed to have their acid level suppressed. If that occurs then the enzymes we need to digest our not activated, and we will have an inability to fully utilize the food we eat.

If you or anyone you know are taking medications like Zantac, Pepcid, Tagamet or any other similar medications it would be wise to stop immediately.

The answer is not antibiotics to treat the H. pylori infection. I used to do that from 1985 to 1993 and it frequently worked. However, the infection is really just a symptom it is NOT the true cause.

Assuming one is not taking anti inflammatory medication like Advil or Motrin then most all of the cause is related to an imbalance of the proper bacterial growth in the intestinal system. This is easily repaired with the use of 12 glasses of filtered or bottled water per day. One should also stop all milk, juice and coffee.

Additionally, acidophilus powder one teaspoon two to three times a day will also help. My experience is that 95% of people respond favorably to this strategy if they can also stop all sugar and restrict all their fluids to water only.

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