advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Battling Stomach Bug?

I was diagnosed with H. Pylori eight years ago and did the antibiotic treatment, but the bacteria came back again. I am now trying to decide if I should try herbs and vitamins in an effort to eliminate the bacteria. Or do you recommend trying antibiotics once again? I don't like the side effects.

A
Answer (Published 10/22/2010)

H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori), is a common bacterium that can inhabit the intestinal tract. Infection with H. pylori is a contributing factor in most ulcers and can also increase risks of stomach cancer, but in many people, it causes no symptoms at all. However, if you have an ulcer or chronic gastritis, simple tests requiring a blood, stool, or breath sample can reveal the presence of the bacteria. If the tests are positive, antibiotic treatment can cure the infection and also help treat any ulcer or gastritis that may be present.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Anti-Inflammatory Diet Source - Want to promote overall health and help minimize the risk of inflammatory diseases? Join Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging, your online guide to the anti-inflammatory diet. Start your 14-day free trial now for access to shopping and eating guides, hundreds of recipes, an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid and more!

I definitely recommend that you take another course of antibiotics to eliminate the H. pylori. To prevent the side effects, which can include diarrhea, cramping, bloating or other unpleasant digestive symptoms I recommend taking probiotics while you’re undergoing treatment. Many of the prescribed antibiotics indiscriminately  target "friendly" intestinal bacteria that help keep your digestive system functioning normally. These beneficial microbes help complete the digestive process, and some produce needed vitamins. There's even evidence that without normal "friendly" bacteria in the digestive tract, our immune systems wouldn't function properly, decreasing our resistance to harmful bugs.

Probiotics are products containing bacteria that normally inhabit the human digestive tract, usually Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium, (sometimes they are collectively called "acidophilus.") They are present naturally in cultured milk products, such as yogurt with active cultures or acidophilus milk, but concentrations of desired bacteria in milk products may not be high enough to do you any good, so I recommend the use of supplemental lactobacillus in liquid or capsule form. I particularly recommend the strains known as Lactobacillus GG  and Bacillus coagulans 30, because research shows that they survive passage through the strong acid of the stomach and actually make it into the intestinal tract where they're needed.

I checked with Gerard Mullin, M.D., an integrative gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, to find out if any herbs have been shown to be effective against H. pylori. He says there is insufficient evidence to recommend herbal treatment at this time, but also notes that probiotics have been shown to enhance the effects of the antibiotics used against  H. pylori. Start taking probiotics twice a day with meals as soon as you begin the antibiotics and continue for a few days after you finish them.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here