– The Vicious Cycle
by Nicole Bandes
Two recent studies suggested there is a link
to the use of prescription antacids such as Prilosec and Prevacid
to ulcers and stomach cancer. For some of us, this isn’t
The studies built on the foundation that the
bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is responsible for most
cases of stomach cancer. The studies discovered that the use of
antacids may actually promote the growth of this and other bacteria.
Antacids are commonly prescribed and used
to increase stomach pH (lower acidity) to fight ulceration of
the stomach lining. It was once thought that this was the only
cause of stomach ulcers. We now know that this isn’t true
but medical doctors are a little slower to come around to this
Let’s take a look at how this works.
John decides to go to the doctor because he is having stomach
pains and acid reflux. His doctor, like the many millions of doctors
out there, simply gives him a prescription for one of the popular
drugs at the time and sends him on his way. John goes home, happy
to be done with the symptoms. Everything seems to be going fine,
though John has noticed a few side effects from the drug. Then,
a few months or years later, John ends up in the emergency room
with severe stomach pains. John has a severe bleeding ulcer and
“But I have taken my prescription religiously!”
What John, and probably his doctor, didn’t
consider is that the stomach produces acid to fight foreign invaders
such as bacteria. When antacids are used to suppress the stomach
acid, the bacteria are allowed to thrive. Our best efforts have
done little more than offer the bacteria an environment to do
more damage. Studies are now showing that this was the same bacteria
that caused the problem in the first place.
It’s a viscous cycle.
What can be done?
1. Stop taking antacids. Consider that your
symptoms are an indication that something is wrong and needs to
be addressed. Acid production is a necessary and normal occurrence.
2. Consider herbal alternatives to both kill the bacteria and
control the symptoms.
3. As a last resort, talk to your doctor about prescription antibiotics
to treat resilient strains of bacteria. Prescription antibiotics
carry a whole other slate of problems and should only be considered
when other paths have been exhausted.
You can stop contributing to the problem.
You can see results you can live with.
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