Q I just ordered one of your mastic products. I am suffering from fatigue, stomach pain, and the desire to sleep all the time. Are these the symptoms of H. pylori infection? I have been diagnosed with H. pylori and placed on a 14-day double antibiotic program. It does not seem to be helping after nine days on the program.

My problem is that I cannot find any listing of symptoms of H. pylori. Can you help? Also, can I take your mastic product at the same time I am on antibiotics?

JOHN, Theodore, AL

A The most common symptom associated with chronic H. pylori infection is abdominal pain, usually located in the upper central abdomen; it may also be felt in the back. This pain may be worse when the stomach is empty, and it can often be relieved by eating. However, this is not always the case. Pain that wakes a patient from sleep is also suggestive of an ulcer. Other important symptoms include heartburn, dyspepsia, vomiting, and anemia.

It is important to note that, in some patients, an ulcer may not produce any overt symptoms, or at least not until a significantly later stage, when it bores through the gut wall entirely or erodes into blood vessels, causing bleeding. These are serious complications and should be treated as an emergency by a qualified health professional. Lesser symptoms may encompass a wide range, including those you mentioned and some that are remote from the stomach, where the infection is centered.

Modern medicine provides an impressive array of antibiotics and other drugs that, in combination, can kill H. pylori. The downside, however, is that: (1) theyre expensive; (2) they cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and allergic reactions; and (3) theyre primarily antibioticsa class of drugs so consistently overused that theyre becoming ever less effective, as microorganisms mutate into new, more resistant strains. Moreover, they can prove to be ineffective, especially if your symptoms are not chronic. There is also evidence that the recontamination rate is high after the eradication. This may be caused by reinfection from an unsuspected source, or self-recontamination from H. pylori that has taken up residence in your dental plaque.

By the time you receive this, you will be beyond the 14-day program, so if it has worked, fine. But if you havent gained the satisfaction you were looking for, by all means try mastic. Others have reported taking an antibiotic regimen along with mastic, with positive outcomes. My advice, in general, is always to start with natural solutions (vitamins, herbs, etc.) unless your symptoms are sufficiently advanced that you require a stronger intervention.

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