New to the forum. Lots of great info posted here!
Here is my problem/story:
I'm 46 yrs old (male) and have been extremely healthy my entire life. Never even had a stomach ache in the last ten years. 5'9" tall and 160 lbs, vegetarian for last few years. I have a physical every year and everything has always been perfect.
Last August, I had an old root canal tooth crack, and it become loose. Went to my dentist and he suggested having it pulled and putting in a dental implant (and getting a new tooth). I scheduled the appointments, but it took 3 months until the tooth was pulled. When I finally got to the Orthodontist, he said that there was a lot of infection, and after he pulled the tooth (and placed the implant-same day) he gave me a 10 day course of antibiotics (amoxicillin).
Shortly after the antibiotics were finished, I started having very infrequent indigestion problems. Maybe once or twice a week, fairly mild. This lasted for a few weeks, and then the problems became more frequent and more severe. The symptoms were all over the place, ranging from severe bloating, to cramping and heartburn. Never a consistent pattern really. Worst part was the discomfort around bed time.
Sometime in mid December, it got pretty bad and I went to my GP. He listened to my symptoms for 5 mins and handed me 5 weeks worth of Achiphex (even though heartburn was only one of my problems). I took the pills for about 10 days, and the relief was somewhat random, never consistent. In late December, my symptoms got worse, so I stopped taking the Achiphex. I had VERY bad attacks of nausea, cramping, stomach bloating/pain, alternating constipation/diarrhea/gas. My appetite went to zero and I started losing weight. I had trouble sleeping (probably due to the anxiety of not knowing what was wrong!)
Went back to the GP (and a Gastro specialist) and they ordered a whole bunch of tests: stress test, chest X-ray, Barium Swallow, Ultrasound, CT Scan, Blood work (thyroid function, liver, C-diff, etc), stool samples (for parasites) and the only thing that came back showing a problem was that I have a small Hiatal Hernia.
Early January- things still not good! Back to the GP and he prescribed Levsin (.125 mg twice a day) and he told me to stick with the Aciphex. The Levsin seemed to help a little, but my prescription ran out a week ago and my symptoms haven't really changed a whole lot. I used the Achiphex maybe 4-5 times per week, with mixed results.
It is now late January, and my symptoms are still bad (premature fullness, tightness in chest, bloating,cramping) and occurring every single day! Every meal is an adventure, even though I have tried to be as IBS friendly as possible. Since my diet is fairly low in fat anyway, it hasn't seemed to help much. I don't drink coffee, and I avoid dairy whenever possible. I have lost about 10 lbs..probably because I am so nervous about eating anything that will trigger my symptoms!
So here is my question: Is it possible that the infection from my bad tooth (or the antibiotics prescribed for that infection), killed off my good gut flora? Have the bad bugs taken over in the last 8 weeks and been causing all of these problems?
My GP/gastro/dentist all basically laughed when I suggested this!
I have taken Probiotics on and off for the last few weeks, but not consistently.
Should I be looking at some digestive enzymes also? And how long should it take for the probiotics to have an effect?
Any insight would be greatly appreciated!