Tag Archives: malabsorption

Is this the cause of your ulcer?

And, if you have it, you may not know it.

Currently H. pylori is recognized as being associated with the cause of ulcers of the stomach, in the beginning of the upper intestine, and esophagus.  Even though H. pylori was discovered in 1982.  It wasn’t until Robin Warren and Barry Marshall won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2005 that showed H. pylori to be the cause of ulcers.  It is found in 90 percent of peptic ulcers.


Symptoms are usually associated with problems such as weight loss, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, heartburn, bad breath, diarrhea, bloating, burping, nausea, black stools, and vomiting.  Or there may be no symptoms at all.  Or there may be no ulcer present.

Please, consult your health care provider regarding any health concerns you may have.

What can H. pylori cause if not addressed?

Not only has the presence of H. pylori been associated with the cause of most peptic ulcers, it has been associated with an increase in risk of stomach cancer.  In addition, some practitioners have associated H. pylori with malabsorption of key nutrients leading to anemia, fatigue and other conditions.

Unfortunately, this organism is becoming more common.  And as I already mentioned, this organism may or may not be associated with symptoms.


The practitioners that I have worked with have reported to me that the most accurate form of testing is the stool test, even more so than the breath test and blood test.  The MayoClinic suggests that the blood test is the least accurate and that the stool and breath test are the most accurate.

I have always used the stool test as I can also test for other gut parasites at the same time.


Treatment involves the use of antibiotics to kill the organism.  It can be difficult to treat the organism as it buries itself deep within the stomach wall.  In combination with antibiotics, your doctor may prescribe a proton pump inhibitor as well as histamine receptor blockers (2).  It is important to discuss any noticed side effects with your doctor when taking the medication. You should be retested following treatment to make sure the infection is no longer found.

How does it spread?

The most common way for this organism to be transmitted is from person to person via mouth-to-mouth and fecal matter-to-oral.  So if you are tested and found to be positive for H. pylori then your family members should be tested as well.  This organism can be difficult to kill especially if the infection is long standing.  The treatment itself can be physically rough.  It is suggested to follow up with a health practitioner who is experienced in the treatment of this infection.

Since this post involves the topic of ulcers, I feel it is important to recognize directions from the National Digestive Diseases 
Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) that is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The NDDIC recognizes the following symptoms associated with peptic ulcers as a Medical Emergency and a person who has any of the following symptoms should call a doctor right away(4):

  • sharp, sudden, persistent, and severe stomach pain(4)
  • bloody or black stools(4)
  • bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds(4)

I hope this information is useful in your persuit to understanding your health.  As always, I advise you to continue to learn as much as possible about your health as it affects everything you do and everyone you know.

Yours In Health,

Sean Ripp, D.C.


1) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/h-pylori/basics/tests-diagnosis/CON-20030903

2) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/176938-overview#aw2aab6b2b3aa

3) http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hpylori/#9

4) http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hpylori/hpylori_508.pdf


Why should I worry about my belly ache?

You are having GI type symptoms of diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea, and cramping.  It may be that the symptoms are mild or severe and last from 2 to 6 weeks.  You slowly notice your symptoms improve.  The symptoms may return periodically or they may not.  At first, the thought might be that, you caught a bug and it is now gone.  This may be true, however, it may not be gone; it may be that your body is not openly trying to fight it off any longer and that the Giardia infection is alive and thriving throughout you’re small intestine creating inflammation leading to destruction of the cells along the small intestinal wall that provide for nutrient absorption and gut immunity.  If left untreated this parasite may eventually lead to a condition referred to as ‘leaky gut’, allowing indigested material to cross the gut barrier and infiltrate the body systems.  I will use the Giardia infection as an example for this post however; other intestinal parasites can cause the same problems.  Although the severity, type, and duration of symptoms may vary, the long lasting effects can be disastrous for your health if left untreated.

Giardia is a single cell protozoan with a very tough protective cyst form that can be resistant to even chlorine.  While it is true that the body can rid itself of this and other intestinal parasites, the ongoing assault of chemical, physical, and emotional stress of modern living on our bodies make this less likely.  Giardia can live in the small intestine for many months or years wreaking havoc on the body.

If left alone the presence of parasites like this can lead to a myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms such as flu like symptoms, chronic fatigue, muscle aches, anemia, lactose intolerance, colonic dumping leading to yeast overgrowth, and a host of other problems.  What can be surprising is that sometimes there are no GI symptoms present at all.  People with long term problems that have been unsuccessfully treated by previous doctors can often be helped by eliminating the root cause of the problem such as a GI infection, including Giardia.

I have had several patients who have had symptoms improve with the discovery and treatment of parasites like this one.  As an example, I obtained permission from a patient to report of his battle with this parasite.

The patient complained of whole body aches and fatigue.  He reported feeling as though he had a “flu all the time” for years.  Often times he would miss quality time with this family as a result of the severity of his complaints.  Among other things, I had him run a 401H, a test that detects parasites such as Giardia, with Biohealth Labs.  It came back positive. I sent him to a medical doctor for allopathic care.  Two months following antibiotic treatment specific for Giardia, the body aches and flu like symptoms disappeared.  We retested in four months and the parasite was gone.  He had his life back!

Obviously prevention is the best option.  The CDC’s recommendations for prevention of Giardia can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/prevent.html.

The CDC suggests such antibiotics as metronidazole, tinidazole, and nitazoxanide can be used to treat a Giardia infection.  The CDC indicates paromomycin, quinacrine, and furazolidone can also be used as alternatives.

If you think you have this infection it is necessary you see your health care practitioner for a full evaluation which should include a stool test.  It is important that you seek a provider that fully understands this infection and other parasitic infections and the ramifications if it is left undiagnosed.

I would suggest that if a parasite is found it is very important to retest in about 6 months.  As the gut heals, hiding spots for parasites previously undetected may open up.  These bugs should be diagnosed and treated as well.  Also, remember that as the gut heals symptoms may worsen off and on for about six months as the hiding spots that were previously closed off from the rest of the gut, open up and release their contents.

It is important that the stool test and associated lab are sensitive to the importance of proper diagnosis.  For parasite lab testing, I have helped many patients using the 401H test with Biohealth Labs.  Here is the link that describes the 401H:  http://biohealthlab.com/test-menu/parasites-and-pathogens/gi-pathogen-screens-401-401h/.  I found the short video by Dr. Kalish helpful.

Note:  I do not receive compensation for promoting Biohealth Labs. I have had patient’s with false negatives with other labs only to retest using the 401H to find the first lab had missed the problem.

In addition, if you have any of the symptoms mentioned in this article it is important that you consult your health care provider for further evaluation as parasites and other serious conditions may be present.

I hope this information is helpful and I would welcome any comments.

Yours in Health,

Sean Ripp, D.C.