ANCHOR LEAD: ULCERS NEED CAREFUL DIAGNOSIS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Contrary to recent recommendations to family medicine specialists, diagnosis of ulcers and treatment for the most common cause of ulcers, infection with Helicobacter pylori, can’t be made just on the basis of symptoms. That’s according to Mark Donowitz, professor of gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins and current president of the American Gastroenterological Association.
DONOWITZ: You can determine whether someone is currently infected with H.pylori with a series of tests. You can biopsy the stomach, you can do these breath tests, but the number of people in the world who are positive is so large, many of whom don’t have any symptoms. And dyspepsia is very common as well, so its possible you have two very common events occurring, and if you do probabilities and multiply them, there’s still a very large chance you’re both dyspeptic and have H. pylori and one doesn’t have anything to do with the other. :27
Getting proper treatment may require seeing a gastroenterologist. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.