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One stop for ulcer relief–and it’s not spelled R-O-L-A-I-D-S

One stop for ulcer relief–and it’s not spelled R-O-L-A-I-D-S

I guess it’s been about 15 years ago now that Dr. Barry Marshall did something I never could have done–though I give him plenty of kudos for having the cojones to do it. He was convinced that peptic ulcers were caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, but since no one would give any credence to his theory, he took matters into his own hands and downed a beaker of bacteria-laden liquid.

A week later, when he became violently ill, he conducted tests proving that the bacterium is actually able to live in the stomach, and that it is indeed the cause of ulcers.

Many years and even more research studies later, the idea that the bacterium causes ulcers is finally accepted by much of the medical community–yet doctors continue to prescribe acid suppressors instead of nipping the problem in the bud with an antibiotic. It’s not hard to figure out why. Antacids are great at taking away the symptoms. But try going without them, and you’ll quickly discover that not only is the problem still there–it’s worse. So your doctor prescribes even more drugs. It’s a vicious little money-making cycle. And if you don’t know any better, it’s almost impossible not to get sucked in.

Like it or not, the older you are, the greater your risk of getting H. pylori. In fact, your odds of getting it rise about one percentage point per year with age. So 50 percent of 50-year-old Americans have the infection, 60 percent of 60-year-olds, and so on. But just because you have H. pylori doesn’t mean you will necessarily develop an ulcer–in fact, just 20 percent will develop the disease. But there’s another serious factor to consider: While you may not get an ulcer, prolonged infection with H. pylori can lead to stomach cancer.

My point is this: Whether or not you have an ulcer, it can’t hurt to test for H. pylori.

Here’s what to do: When you go to your doctor and complain of pain and burning in your solar plexus, and he recommends Zantac or Tagamet for an ulcer, ask him what he thinks about the ‘theory’ that this condition is caused by an infection. If he gives you the old doctor-shrug, decline his prescriptions, pay him for his time, and get a third opinion. (You’ve already had two opinions–his expensive one and my cheap one.)

Maybe your third doctor will know about the formula Marshall developed that can eradicate 85 percent of H. pylori cases. His treatment cocktail consisted of Pepto-Bismol, tetracycline (a cheap antibiotic), and metronidazole (another relatively cheap antibiotic). Keep in mind this is an 85 percent cure rate, as opposed to a zero percent cure rate for Zantac and Tagamet.

There’s also another option that would likely knock out the bacteria. You may or may not know this by now, but I’m a big fan of a treatment called photoluminescence. It basically consists of exposing a small portion of a patient’s blood to ultraviolet light and then injecting it back into a vein. Ultraviolet irradiation of the blood is especially effective against intestinal organisms. Just two 20-minute treatments a few days apart from one another would likely be all it takes to cure the problem. And in the meantime, it would eliminate the “need” for any other medication.

If you’re interested in having this treatment, contact the Foundation for Light Therapy, (561)274-7078, www.fflt.org, for a list of physicians and clinics in the U.S. and abroad that perform photoluminescence. (And in case you’re wondering, I’m not affiliated in any way with any of the clinics or physicians listed.)

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