Have you ever had a bad stomach ache that just wouldn’t go away no matter what you did? Or do you feel bloated all the time, even when you haven’t had anything to eat?
You may be dealing with an infection called H. Pylori, one of the most common bacterial infections in humans around the world. It is estimated that more than half of the world’s population has H. pylori in their stomachs.
H. Pylori infections are one of the causes of stomach ulcers, gastritis, and even stomach cancer. However, most people who have H. Pylori in their stomachs may not experience any symptoms at all.
In this article, we will be addressing six of the most commonly asked questions about H. Pylori and how you can manage this condition if you suspect that you may have it.
What Is Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori)?
Helicobacter pylori (or H. Pylori) is a spiral-shaped bacterium that is found in the mucus lining of the stomach. It is believed to be responsible for a number of stomach-related conditions, including ulcers and gastritis.
The bacterium is usually transmitted through contaminated food or water, and it can also be spread through contact with infected individuals such as through saliva or faeces.
H. Pylori bacteria thrive in acidic environments, making the stomach a perfect habitat for their growth. In most cases, these particular types of microbes enter our bodies through food or water as well as contact with saliva from people who have been infected and remain in the system undetected and may only be picked up when the individual experiences discomfort in the stomach or if it is picked up during a gastroscopy.
Is H. Pylori A Serious Condition?
Although people with H. Pylori infections may not experience any symptoms, when left untreated, the condition can often lead to undesirable complications such as stomach ulcers, and even cancer.
One of the most dangerous things about H. Pylori bacteria is that they can cause your stomach’s mucous lining to weaken, making you more susceptible to harsh acids and ultimately result in sores (or ulcers) developing on the stomach lining. This could lead all the way to the top part of our small intestine (the duodenum) and over time, lead to stomach cancer.
What Are The First Symptoms Of H. Pylori?
Most people with H. Pylori infections may not realise they are infected as it does not always present with any symptoms. However, for the ones that do, the most common symptoms of H. Pylori infections are digestive issues, including pain and cramps in the stomach area when eating or when the stomach is empty.
Sometimes, it is also possible for people to experience nausea and feelings of bloatedness, resulting in the need to burp. You may also feel a loss of appetite due to the discomfort.
In rare cases, patients who have H. Pylori may experience sudden weight loss due to the presence of cancer.
If the symptoms that you are experiencing persist, you are advised to seek medical advice immediately to undergo a conclusive investigation of your condition with the aid of a gastroscopy.
Is H. Pylori Completely Curable?
H. Pylori is treatable with a combination of antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, and histamine H2 blockers. This process is known as triple therapy.
The antibiotics kill the bacteria, and the proton pump inhibitors and histamine H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. Once the bacteria is completely removed from the body, the chances of its return are low.
However, for places where living conditions are not ideal (e.g. less developed countries) H. Pylori can be reintroduced into the body through contaminated food or water if the source of the contamination is not treated.
What Is The Best Treatment For H. Pylori?
H.Pylori is a stomach infection that can cause plenty of problems – including indigestion, heartburn, and ulcers. However, not all H.Pylori infections are the same. Some people experience symptoms, while others do not. As a result, treatment is not always necessary.
For those that do, the best form of treatment is through triple therapy. The treatment (Triple Therapy) consisting of a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) and 2 antibiotics, amoxicillin and clarithromycin, taken twice daily for 7–14 days, has become the most widely recommended first-line eradication therapy for Helicobacter pylori.
The antibiotics work to kill the bacteria, and proton pump inhibitors reduce acid levels in your stomach. While this form of treatment has shown to be effective, stronger antibiotics may be prescribed if the bacteria mutates and becomes resistant to the antibiotics over time.
What Happens If H. Pylori Goes Untreated?
H. Pylori is a bacteria that can live in your stomach lining and intestines. If left untreated, the infection can lead to complications such as gastritis, ulcers, or even stomach cancer.
H. Pylori may damage or irritate the lining of your stomach, making you more susceptible to these conditions. The best way to prevent H. Pylori is to practise good hygiene, including washing your hands often and cooking meat thoroughly. If you think you may be infected, see our doctor for testing and treatment.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above and suspect that you may have H. Pylori, please do not hesitate to contact G & L Surgical Clinic for a consultation. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you and your needs. Although H. Pylori can be serious, it is completely curable in most cases when caught early. Do not let this infection go untreated – contact us today.