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Pyloric Stenosis: The Real Cause

I don’t know where to begin. I just found out that I may not have needed the surgery I underwent at three weeks old–a surgery that not only stressed our family to the max, but also caused me much suffering at the time of the operation, in recovery, and over the course of my life. I’m trying to write rationally and logically so that the ideas come across clearly, but basically I just want to SCREAM!!

A medical article* posted to the Internet, “The Cause of Infantile Hypertrophic Pyloric Stenosis: One Man’s journey” by Dr. Ian M. Rogers, rocked my world. Basically I found out that an antacid administered early in my life may have resolved the hyperacidic condition in my stomach that caused the closing of the passageway between my stomach and small intestine. According to the article, “selected cases of pyloric stenosis in adults may be successfully managed by antacid therapy” (Par. 3). And so it may be with an infant, according to Dr. Rogers, a visiting Professor of Surgery at the AIMST University Faculty of Medicine in  Malaysia. If a baby’s stomach is hyperacidic for whatever reason, and by that he means increased beyond the normal post-partum temporary rise in acid levels, treatment with an antacid may resolve the condition so that surgery can be avoided.

The other issue Dr. Roger’s discusses is the fact that erythromycin, a drug that was at one time administered to infants as a preventative against whooping cough, can cause pyloric stenosis as well. Recently, my dentist informed me that the reason why I have white spots on my front teeth and that all my teeth are slightly discolored is that I was likely given erythromycin as a baby. So my abnormally hyperacidic infant tummy may have been due to a drug given to me my doctor! In other words, my illness could have been caused by the medical profession. Yikes!

What’s most galling is that the research pointing to abnormal hyperacidity as the cause of pyloric stenosis surfaced as early as 1921. Subsequent studies pointed to the same. So why has it taken almost a century for a doctor to state emphatically that surgery for pyloric stenosis can be avoided in many cases?  Why is it that the cause of pyloric stenosis has been a mystery all these decades?  Dr. Rogers’ hypothesis has yet to be accepted by the medical community. What is the hold-up?   Stay tuned.

*To read a translation of the medical article into a layperson’s language, please see Fred Vanderbom’s blog post “Pyloric Stenosis can often be Avoided” June, 1, 2012. (Once you arrive at  his blog site, simply go to select date, June, 2012)

0 Responses to Pyloric Stenosis: The Real Cause

  1. As with you, Wendy, discovering Dr Ian Rogers’ theory was a huge and eye-opening surprise for me. He has listed the well-known characteristics of infant and adult pyloric stenosis and they all fit in with his explanation of this condition whose causes we keep being told are many, only poorly understood, and some of them disputed or unclear.
    But sadly, as you suggest, the Western medical world seems hardly interested. It will take many scholarly medical reports such as those Dr Rogers writes, plus advocacy like you and I are doing, and courageous parents to push for a change from unnecessary and possibly traumatizing surgery on babies to a gentler and homely medical therapy. I have written about this in my current post.

  2. Fred, Maybe in our lifetimes, if we all keep up the educating and advocating, we’ll see a change from treating pyloric stenosis primarily with surgery to treating PS just as effectively in a less invasive and, as you state, more gentle way! I think it’s possible.

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