Got a bad case of indigestion? Heartburn medicine and antibiotics may do the trick, if lifestyle changes aren't helping, researchers say.
New research shows the bacteria commonly linked to ulcers -- Helicobacter pylori -- may play a role in common stomach pains. H. pylori affects half the world's population, researchers say, and indigestion -- non-ulcer stomach pain -- is estimated to account for 5 percent of primary-care doctor visits in the U.S.
Researchers in Brazil studied over 400 patients in whom they treated an upset stomach with either a heartburn drug alone, or in combination with antibiotics for 10 days. About 49 percent of the patients taking antibiotics said their symptoms had been cut in half a year later, compared to 37 percent who took just the heartburn medication.
Still, the proposed cure is not without its own setbacks. Antibiotics and heartburn medications have their own side effects, including the possibility of breeding more resistant bacteria strains.