Health Notes: The REAL truth about ulcers: Why Tagamet and Pepcid are a waste of money

The REAL truth about ulcers:
Why Tagamet and Pepcid are a waste of money

Barry Marshall went through hell as a young resident in medicine when he stated that peptic ulcers were caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This theory was met with ridicule and total disbelief by basically the entire medical profession, which believed what psychiatrists had been saying for 50 years -ulcers were caused by stress, depression, and emotional flummery in general.

But now, 30 years later, Marshall is being awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Marshall’s recognition has been a long time coming. His radical beliefs and his harsh way with people put others off before he ever really had a chance to make his case. Telling other doctors that they’re committing a crime by not getting rid of a bacterium isn’t usually the way to win friends and influence people. And it certainly won’t go far in getting people to support your cause.

But Marshall was convinced he was right. In a daring move, he swallowed liquid containing H. pylori. When he became violently ill, he conducted tests proving that the bacterium is actually able to live in the stomach and is indeed the cause of ulcers.

That’s why taking antacids will never work to cure ulcers (even though they may mask the symptoms for a while)-because ulcers are caused by bacterial infection. The only way to get rid of them is with antibiotics.

Know your options-even if your doctor doesn’t

Many years and even more research studies later, the idea that the bacterium causes ulcers is finally accepted by much of the medical community. But regardless of the ample research available, many doctors still don’t use this information to permanently cure ulcers because it’s easier to use Tagamet or one of the other acid inhibitors. Yes, they work, but only temporarily. Of course, using them just keeps people dependent on the doctor, since they eventually have to go back for more treatment.

I have found a simpler method, called photoluminescence, that may be just as effective as antibiotics. It works by exposing a small amount of your blood to ultraviolet light’s antiviral and antibacterial light, which then gets transferred throughout the body in the bloodstream. UV light is extremely powerful in fighting bacteria.

If you’re interested in having this treatment, contact the Foundation for Light Therapy, (561)274-7078,, for a list of physicians and clinics in the U.S. and abroad that perform photoluminescence. (Please note that I am not affiliated in any way with any of the clinics or physicians listed.)

However you choose to treat your ulcer, I think we should take a moment to congratulate Barry for his great victory against medical prejudice and narrow-mindedness.


“Why doctors aren’t curing ulcers,” Fortune 1997; 135(11)