Helicobacter Pylori — H. pylori, for short — is a type of bacteria that can enter your body and reside in the stomach and duodenum of the gastrointestinal tract. Sounds ominous, right? In fact, the majority of H. pylori detection never leads to disease. However, H. pylori presents a problem only when it overpopulates. It is then considered an H. pylori infection.
H. pylori penetrates the stomach lining and, to ensure its survival, reduces stomach acidity, which can then lead to GI problems, such as GERD and ulcers. Detecting H. pylori is just the first step to determining a successful treatment plan and regain normal function of the digestive system. It is important to emphasize that the existence of H. pylori or a positive detection does not necessarily mean a patient is at risk of a specific GI condition or stomach cancer, for instance.
Having a positive test, though, can lead to other discoveries and help the health practitioner and patient make an informed decision as to whether or not to treat the H. pylori.
Pioneering the H. pylori treatment
H. pylori are considered a viral organism and affect 50 percent of the human population, but it varies by country.
The bacteria was discovered in 1982 by research scientists, Robin Warren and Barry Marshall who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology. They found that the germ causes stomach ulcers, which instituted the standard of care for treating ulcers. It is also becoming a standard practice to check patients for H. pylori when they present with symptoms related to gastroenterology, such as peptic and gastric ulcers.
Other conditions are linked to H. pylori, such as high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome, which is a risk factor of heart attack and stroke, as well as insulin resistance, iron deficiency, and anemia.
Eradicating H. pylori can, therefore, help improve serum iron levels and vitamin B12 and can lead to anemia recovery. Other benefits to treating H. pylori growth are possible reduced risk for pancreatic cancer and minimized risk for heart disease and stroke.
Are you at risk?
Common risk factors of H. Pylori include poor sanitation such as unclean water and soil contamination of food, crowded living situations, and high-salt diets. As more communities have access to clean water and adequate living conditions, the risk of H. pylori lowers.
No prescription drug treatment alone can cure H. pylori. Instead, a set of complementary treatments can effectively reduce overgrowth. The right treatment plan includes a healthy diet rich with fresh fruits and vegetables and other supplements, as well as prescription medication.
Clinical observations have shown that regular consumption of fruits and vegetables and Vitamin C may prevent high rates of H. pylori. Sulforaphane in broccoli also reduces the colonization of the bacteria in the GI tract.
If you do have symptoms like GERD, it is essential to consult with a physician who understands the root cause of gastrointestinal conditions. Do not treat H. pylori simply because you have GERD because it may worsen the condition if not diagnosed and treated correctly.
What can you do to protect from the bacteria, H. pylori?
Drink clean water and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Take a probiotic regularly to support the "good bacteria" in your gut.
Relax prior to meals.
These are just a few steps to treating H. pylori overgrowth. If you have any digestive issues contact my office today! My team and digestive programs that will help you take back your life naturally!