How to test for ulcers

Monday October 29 2018

I have been suffering from ulcers for 10 years

I have been suffering from ulcers for 10 years but each time I do a blood test, it is negative for ulcers. I have been taking omeperazole, diclofenac and milk. Stock photo 

I have been suffering from ulcers for 10 years but each time I do a blood test, it is negative for ulcers. I have been taking omeperazole, diclofenac and milk. Are these responsible for the negative test results?
Arthur

Dear Arthur,
The word ‘ulcer’ means a wound. When it occurs in the acidic areas of the alimentary canal (lower oesophagus, stomach and duodenum), then is known as peptic ulcers. These are largely caused by a bacterial germ, Helicobacter Pylori, and the rest by painkillers of the type Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, including aspirin and diclofenac. The germ may be detected in blood, breath and stool.

Peptic ulcers may lead to heart burn, upper middle abdominal pain that may be meal-related (worse when hungry, or around two hours after eating or when one eats certain foods including those with acid such as pineapples), nausea, a gassy stomach or sometimes passing dark smelly stools or vomiting blood. Many of these symptoms may be relieved by using Omeprazole, which reduces the acid formed by the stomach.

That said, there may be other disease conditions, including a stomach that may herniate into the chest (hiatus hernia), stomach or pancreatic cancer, gall bladder disease conditions for which tests for H. Pylori may be negative. You need proper diagnosis and treatment instead of taking Omeprazole which in the long-term may have side effects, including impotence in men. Also, the condition taking long to be diagnosed may lead to other serious complications.

Milk may temporarily mix with stomach acid and relieve the burning stomach symptoms but since it is digested into lactic acid, the symptoms may worsen afterwards. You should avoid Diclofenac since it could be the cause of your symptoms apart from worsening them.
This is regardless of taking Diclofenac with food or milk or using another route such as suppository or injections, which only reduces but does not completely take away dyspeptic symptoms (stomach pain, nausea and abdominal gas) while the ulcers continue eating away.

Do I need insulin?

I have been diabetic for 14 years. Nowadays, when I get a scare, I urinate a lot and when I check, my sugar has gone up despite taking metformin. Do I have to take insulin?
Opio

Dear Opio,
Diabetes is a condition of raised blood sugar caused by no or meagre amounts of insulin, or insulin being defective and therefore unable to perform its duty of removing sugar from the blood.
Blood sugar amounts rise especially after taking a meal that when it is digested it forms glucose or production of glucose from its body stores to supply more energy in response to an increased need including facing a fearful event. The liver is the main store of glucose in form of glycogen. With more need of energy, the liver under instructions of hormones such as glucagon releases glucose from the stores. Other hormones including stress hormones, sex hormones and growth hormones also release sugar from the stores.

The “stress” hormone adrenaline, is produced when our body needs immediate energy in what is called fear, fight and flight reaction and this may lead to immediate rise in sugar levels. In a normal person, insulin is produced to normalise sugar levels. However, in a diabetic, the sugar will rise and remain high.
Much as a sugar rise may lead to passing too much urine (polydipsia) the stress hormone adrenaline may be responsible for one feeling like passing urine all the time. For diabetics, stress can cause a significant and prolonged increase in the blood sugar level which may need a shot of insulin even when one is taking tablets. Insulin shots may also be necessary before a stressful event.

Will using urine prevent UTI’s?
Can one wash with urine to prevent a UTI? Bosco

Dear Bosco,
Though UTIs are not considered sexually transmitted, they may be increased by sexual activity, especially when one has multiple partners, uses barrier contraceptives including male condoms or because the urethra is so close to the vagina making it is easy for bacteria from the vagina to make their way to the urethra during sex. Also, use of dirty hands to stimulate the genitals before sex may increase chances of getting a UTI following sex.

Passage of urine rather than washing with the passed urine may flush out germs which may have gained access to the inside of the urethra during sex. However, the urine requires to be of a good amount to form a strong stream to flush out germs. Of course to use urine to wash the genitals requires passing it first and when urine prevents UTI then credit is given to the washing activity yet it is the passage which is most important.

My child has Syphilis of the skin (Kabotongo). What can I give her? Milly

Dear Milly,
Syphilis (Kabotongo) is mostly sexually transmitted though in Uganda most people claim it is genetic. What is true is that it can be transmitted from an infected mother to the unborn child (congenital syphilis) but with syphilis screening during antenatal visits, this method of transmission has become very rare. Also, transmission through blood transfusion has also become rare due to blood transfusion screening.

That said, syphilis may lead to a rash just like an allergic reaction to anything taken in by the baby, coming in contact with the baby skin and given drugs as well as infections (especially viral). Any skin reaction on a baby requires a proper medical diagnosis instead of a newspaper prescription which may lead to more reactions and suffering.

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