Why Do We Devote So Much Effort On Alleviating The Symptoms Instead Of Dealing With The Cause?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Let me first explain that I am not medically qualified in any way, but, after reading some of the many posts on IBS, I would just like to make a few observations. My problem for several years has mainly been excess flatulence/gas and burping, and doctors insist on calling it a symptom of IBS. I notice many of you suffer from the same sort of thing, and, as in my case, the only help you get from your Doctor/Consultant is advice on how to alleviate the symptoms, when you really want them to deal with the cause.

If your car belches too much smoke from the exhaust because it is burning oil, you don’t alleviate the symptoms by starving the car of oil or petrol. You deal with the cause by replacing the piston rings! A crude analogy I know, but I’m sure you get the point?

So why are we reverting to diets like FODMAPS, or other partially effective medication and/or food supplements, when the real cause is almost certainly due to bacteria? I’ve been convinced of the need for an antibiotic to deal with excess gas since 2011 when, on more than one occasion, I was treated for an unrelated disorder, and the antibiotic, augmentin, completely cured the gas problem within a few days. And yes, my gas problem did return after I had been taken off the antibiotic, but of course my Doctor was not trying to treat that anyway.

Tests for SIBO proved negative, so my doctors refused to treat my excess gas with antibiotics as a matter of policy, claiming it would be inappropriate. "Inappropriate" to treat bacteria with antibiotics!?

I am glad to see that there is now some medical evidence (since 2012) to support the conclusion that bacteria is the main culprit, and I refer to work/research carried out by Mark Pimental, reported on the website MNT, Medical News Today, “Irritable Bowel Linked to Gut Bacteria, Definitely”.

Having said all that, why not pool our information by answering this with the following information:

1. Have you at any time experienced relief from IBS when prescribed antibiotics? (for whatever reason you were prescribed it)

2. How quickly did it take effect on the IBS?

3. Did the IBS eventually return?

or,

4. Did it completely cure your IBS?

5. What was the name of the antibiotic?

2 likes, 10 replies

Report / Delete

10 Replies

  • Posted

    Wow. A really intelligent educated post from someone who does not mind doing research and putting themselves out to get better. Love it. I totally agree with you too, have found that taking antibiotics for one thing can sort out the other thing, only it is temporary. But have also noticed that taking biotics can sort it out too. Now antibiotics are the supposed killers of bad bacteria and biotics are the good bacteria so once again I say, as I have said before in other posts here and on my own websites for health matters, that ibs is caused by an imbalance. Sme of us need this and some that, we are all different. Will follow this with fascination.
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi it's nice to see someone with a fresh look at things. However I'm not convinced that anti bionics is the answer. I believe it is probably the cause in some cases. I think that you see an improvement because the anti biotic wipes out most of the gut flora. Then as the flora recovers it is in favour of the bad flora. Take a grass lawn as an example. Spray it with a weed killer. Everything dies. It will eventually recover  but not as a lawn more likely a weed bed. Now after the anti biotic if you quickly try to restore the flora with friendly bacteria you may be in with a chance. Years ago I had a friend who was in a coma for six weeks following a cycling crash. He was fed lots of antibiotics. He broke out in big boils all over. Prior to his accident we had discussed the problem of gut flora. He started Eating live yogurts x 12 each day. He recovered with no other treatment. Another point. Doctors only treat for excess acid. This I believe makes the problem worse. I treat myself for low acid and get excellent results. It's the acid in your stomach that stimulates release of enzymes. It kills the bacteria in your food and aids correct digestion of food. I also believe that the poison in foods in the night group of foods can cause ongoing pain and gastro intestinal problems. 
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I find this fascinatng. Please tell me how you deal with low acid to get these excellent results. And please tell me more about the poison in the foods in the group. Do you mean acid and alkaline? I believe that when the balance in the gut is wrong that causes ibs and other problems.
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      During research to find a solution to my health problems I went through page after page for results for excess acid. During this search I found one answer among hundreds by a doctor who said they have it all wrong. The problems are due to low acid but the symptoms are the same as excess acid. I went to holland and Barrett the next day and purchased some digestive enzymes that had betaine hydrochloride (stomach acid) within the enzyme complex tablets. I had been suffering non stop for days with explosive gas (belching) trapped wind (causeing horrendous pain) acid reflux and feeling extremely ill. Before I had my lunch I took two of the digestive enzymes. Unbelievable no gas or pain or feeling ill. It continued like this. First thing in the morning I may have a couple of biscuits with a milky coffee and one enzyme tablet. If I had a drink of water no mater how small I would start with the gas. With lunch and dinner I would take two enzymes. Providing I take the enzymes with betaine hcl then drinking water or eating doesn't bother me. After a while itv like taking the enzymes has retrained your digestive system and you no longer need them. You will know when this is the case. When symptoms reappear just go back on the enzymes. I believe that my symptoms are caused by un digested food causing a bloated bowel to force bile back into the stomach. This then reacts with the stomach acid to create the gas, acid reflux, etc. I also believe constipation can cause the bowel to back up and do the same. The poison in nightshade foods is called solanine it's the plants own protection to stop it being eaten by animals. Foods in the nightshade family include potatoes, tomatoes, peppers etc.  research doctor Childers no arthritis. His book shows researchers proving that not only did nightshade food cause pain,arthritis but also gastro intestinal problems. If I eat nightshade foods I get old pains back the following day and it lasts for about three days. I found out after eating jacket potatoes three days on the trot and had pain every where. (Older potatoes are worse as the poison concentrates with age.) got to go hope this helps
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Very interesting! As it happens I am on Omeprazole for heartburn, but the excess gas, my only IBS symptom, started several years before I began to suffer from heartburn.

      I started this discussion originally to find out how many people have had success with antibiotics in the light of Mark Pimental's research which indicated some permanent success with Rifaximin even after the patient has come off it. In the absence of any direct answers to my five questions, I gather no one has! This might have more to do with doctor's reluctance to prescribe antibiotics?

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      You are probably right in thinking antibiotics often upset the balance of gut flora. But I guess there are very few people in middle age who have not needed antibiotics at some stage in their lives. In my case, I have had loads of the stuff pumped into me over the years, and particularly during a major operation I needed.

      But we are where we are, and can't turn the clock back. Nevertheless, Mark Pimental's reseach seems to have proved that with carefull management antibiotics can result in a permanent cure for IBS even after the patient has come off the medication?

      Incidentally, not one of the three Gastroenterologists I have seen over the past few years have acknowkedged that there is "good and bad bacteria". One told me that he thought the concept is merely promoted by firms trying to sell probiotics?.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I agree with what you say about the head in the sand by the medical profession. They don't even listen to their own employees. It was an Australian doctor who discovered the helacobactor bug that causes ulcers in the stomach. After he proved beyond any doubt it existed it took mainstream medicine 10 years to accept it. I was treat with antacids which made me worse. when I found something that worked they didn't want to know. In defence of doctors we on this forum are interested in the health of the digestive system. The list of problems related to the digestive system is endless extremely complex and difficult to diagnose due to our individuality. After years of training the last thing they want is a google doctor telling them what's wrong. They have little time and lots of patients, and in general do a good job. They also have there hands tied by the BMA.
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi I agree with what you are saying as regards treating the symptoms rather than the cause. However in my experience I have been left wondering if antibiotics caused my IBS, as I have been given doxycycline for my Rosacea (which may, though not proven be caused by skin bacteria) and coincidently or maybe not I now have IBS
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      As I suggested in an earlier response, the antibiotic might well have upset the balance in the first instance. That goes for all of us, but we are where we are, and we have to deal with the situation as we find it now. In any case the antibiotics themselves do not have any lasting effect, as I understand it,hence it is emphasized that we must finish the course of treatment.

      In my layman’s view, part of the trouble is that IBS is referred to as though it is a “black and white” diagnosis. I sometimes feel it would be more fitting to call it BWS, Black & White Syndrome? You know how the conversations go: “I’ve got IBS”, “Oh have you? Well I never, so have I!”, as though both have the same problem. But is it the same problem? We don’t announce “I’ve got a broken bone”. We say “I have a broken arm” or “I have a broken leg”. In fact we are generally quite specific about that sort of complaint.

      I also think the arguments about bacteria are too vague. It is often suggested that antibiotics totally clear out all the bacteria in the gut, but is that really likely? There are lots of different antibiotics used, presumably because there are many different strains of bacteria (the manufacturer of VSL#3 claims there are as many as eight different strains in their product alone). So I venture to suggest that taking one sort of antibiotic will only remove some of the bacteria.

      Now there is the question of “good” and “bad” bacteria which, again doesn’t appear to be a black and white issue. We are told, and I believe, that gas (flatulence and wind) is produced as a result of fermentation when bacteria is mixed with sugars and carbohydrates in our food and drink, hence the FODMAP diet aimed at depriving the bacteria of what it needs to produce gas. So is there such a distinction as “good and bad bacteria” in the context of fermentation? Does that mean some bacteria will produce gas when mixed with FODMAPs and some will not? I’d be surprised if that is the case? I suspect that all bacteria will ferment with FODMAPs to a greater or lesser degree depending upon which of the FODMAPs are present in the mix.

      Then there is the question of SIBO. I have been tested for it and the results were negative. On the basis of that the Consultant declares antibiotics are inappropriate! OK, so he has proved that I do not have excess bacteria in the small intestine. But he readily accepts that there will be plenty of bacteria in the large intestine, but he refuses to do anything about that, resulting in me being left suffering with excess gas to a life changing degree.

      But whatever the answers are to all these questions, the fact remains that Mark Pimental claims to have had some success in a trial with the antibiotic Rifaximine which, he claims, has the benefit of not being able to enter the bloodstream. If it works why knock it!?

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up