H. Pylori Treatment: What Should You Expect?
It is estimated that around thirty percent of people in Singapore have H. Pylori bacteria in their stomachs. While this statistics may be alarming, there is good news: it can be treated.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the things you can expect from H. Pylori treatment. Keep reading to learn more about the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria.
What Is Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori)?
H. Pylori is a spiral-shaped bacteria that is notorious for causing stomach problems. This bacteria can manipulate the environment around it and reduce the acidity for its survival. The spiral shape of H. Pylori allows it to penetrate the stomach lining, where it’s protected by mucus and the body’s immune cells can’t reach it.
As a result, it can lead to stomach problems. Around 44 percent of people worldwide have a H. Pylori infection and it is believed to be responsible for the majority of stomach ulcers – one of the leading causes of stomach cancer.
While H. Pylori is generally not harmful, it can cause problems for those with a weakened immune system or a history of stomach problems.
To prevent any potential health complications, it’s important that you see a doctor if you suspect that you may have been infected with H. Pylori.
What Is The Best Treatment For H. Pylori?
H. Pylori infections are typically treated with a combination of antibiotics and a proton-pump inhibitor (a drug that reduces your stomach acid). This treatment is sometimes referred to as triple therapy.
Triple therapy typically involves taking two antibiotics and using a proton-pump inhibitor for 14 days. The reason for administering more than one antibiotic is because H. Pylori bacteria can develop a resistance to antibiotics over time.
With proper management, H. Pylori infections are treatable and most people who are treated have minimal risks of getting peptic ulcers. However, it is important to note that H. Pylori infection can recur after treatment if you are not careful about taking all of your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Be sure to finish all of your medication, even if you start feeling better before the course of the therapy is completed.
What Happens If H. Pylori Goes Untreated?
H. Pylori infections when left untreated can lead to serious complications.
- Peptic ulcers ,
- Gastric (or stomach) cancer, and
Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach lining caused by H. Pylori infection. This can lead to a loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting blood.
Peptic ulcers are open sores or erosions in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine). This can cause abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, and weight loss.
In most cases, peptic ulcers are the leading cause of stomach related cancers. Additionally, as the sores are exposed, they can also lead to internal bleeding, which can happen when a peptic ulcer breaks through your blood vessel.
Other severe complications include perforation, which can happen when an ulcer breaks through your stomach wall leading to peritonitis, an infection of the lining of the abdominal cavity, which can be fatal.
Additionally, untreated H. Pylori infection can also lead to gastric cancer (cancer of the stomach) and lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system).
When Should I See A Doctor For H. Pylori?
Most people with H. Pylori infection may not experience any symptoms. However, as the condition can lead to other complications, you should always seek a doctor for medical advice if you:
- Have difficulty swallowing
- Feel weak and lethargic for majority of the day
- Notice blood in the stools
- Observe black colored faeces or vomit
- Experience sudden weight loss
What To Expect From Treatment For H. Pylori?
People with a history of peptic ulcers or those who are currently suffering from them should be treated for H. Pylori infection because it can help the healing process and reduce risk factors associated with complications and other stomach-related illnesses.
Before the treatment
- You will be prescribed a proton pump inhibitor and two types of antibiotics.
- You will need to inform your doctor of any types of long term medication that you are taking for advice on whether they should be continued.
During the treatment
- Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid taking medications that you have been advised to stop taking (if in doubt, clarify with your doctor before taking any types of medication).
- Observe side effects related to your triple therapy.
- In the event that the side effects of the therapy become too severe, speak to your doctor for an alternative prescription.
After the treatment
- Ensure that you have been tested to ensure you are fully cleared of infection before you stop the therapy.
- Avoid consuming water or food that could be from the same contaminated source.
- Avoid close interaction with other people infected with H. Pylori until they are treated.
If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from H. Pylori, don’t worry – help is on the way. Treatment is available, and it can be as simple as a course of medication to get you back on track.
However, there are some things to look out for during treatment that you should always be aware of.
We hope this article has helped answer some questions about H. Pylori and given you a better understanding of what to expect during treatment. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, you may contact us directly via WHATSAPP or call our CLINIC for assistance!