Helicobacter pylori Rears its Ugly Head

Written by mom - 4 Comments

After six weeks (or more) of illness and lethargy, we finally have a diagnosis for Son #1.

And the winner is… Helicobacter pylori. In case you’re not familiar with H. pylori, it’s a bacterium that infects the stomach and duodenum. It’s known to cause peptic ulcers, gastritis, duodenitis, and has even been implicated as a possible causative agent of gastric cancer. After a blood test requested by his G.I. specialist, he’s now on the road to recovery.

I may not have mentioned it before, but our whole family has shown symptoms of one type or another. Our G.P. willingly prescribed antibiotics for the grown ups without a disgnostic test (although my husband has some blood work pending). She would not, however, subject her pediatric patients to the rigorous antibiotic regimen without a positive test in their chart. I totally respect that. In that regard, we still have stool tests pending for the three little brothers.

Our antibiotic regimen (the so-called “triple therapy”) is pretty extreme. All three of us were prescribed a PrevPac which contains 30 mg Lansoprazole (Prevacid), 500 mg Clarithromycin (Biaxin Filmtab), and 2 x 500 mg Amoxicillin to be taken twice a day for a total of 60 mg Prevacid, 1000 mg Biaxin Filmtab, and 2000 mg Amoxicillin daily. Aye chihuahua!

Son #1 easily swallows the first two pills but struggles with the Amoxicillin capsules. They’re nasty smelling and tasting (think rotten eggs) and almost an inch long. I complained to our G.P. and she suggested we open them up and put them in a bite of apple sauce. What was she thinking?! We next tried a bite of ice cream instead. Not much better. Finally, my husband came up with the brilliant idea of putting the capsule (intact) in a soup spoon and covering it with a generous portion of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. It works wonders! The chocolate disguises the taste and the syrup consistency makes the capsule slippery and easier to swallow.

I’m already feeling better, though I get tired easily. Unfortunately, Son #1 is taking a little longer to recover. He missed a couple more days of school when starting the medicine. This morning he headed for the bus with color in his cheeks and a healthier shine in his eyes. I gave him strict instructions to skip P.E. and take it easy at recess. He still gets VERY tired if he overexerts himself. I hope he starts feeling more like himself soon. He antagonized his brothers some this weekend, which is always a good sign of health. In fact, his shenanigans were a source of relief, which is a welcome change from the normal aggravation.

So… Where did it come from? We honestly have no idea. Most likely tainted food in a restaurant, but it’s hard to say for sure.

The bright spot in all of this is that our two year old got to “poop in a pan” (as he so proudly puts it) while producing his stool sample. The others did, too, but it wasn’t nearly as exciting for them. Good times…

Published on November 19th, 2007 - 4 Comments
Filed under: Health
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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. I’m glad you finally got a diagnosis! I’m sorry the remedy is so miserable, though. Both the symptoms and treatment sound awful. I hope you all recover very quickly!

    Comment by Chief Family Officer — Nov 19th 2007 @ 4:17 pm
  2. Ugh…my sympathies! I’ve had H pylori twice, so I can understand the severity of the symptoms. The good news is that you feel like a new person once you’ve kicked it.

    Comment by piannist — Nov 19th 2007 @ 9:08 pm
  3. Hope everyone is better today. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Comment by vw bug — Nov 22nd 2007 @ 8:41 am
  4. Thanks for contributing this post to this week’s Carnival of Family Life which I am hosting! It is a valuable addition to the Carnival as I had never heard of this and I’m sure that most other folks have not, either.

    Blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving weekend.

    Comment by Hopeful Spirit — Nov 26th 2007 @ 2:36 am

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