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All You Need to know About Helicobacter Pylori (H Pylori Infection)

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Miami Living is proud to present a comprehensive health guide for anyone looking to learn more about Helicobacter pylori, commonly referred to as H. pylori. This particular strain of bacteria is know for infecting the lining of the stomach and can cause a range of uncomfortable and potentially serious health issues. Whether you're simply curious about H. pylori or currently experiencing symptoms of an infection, our guide has got you covered.

It is estimated that over 50% of the world's population is infected with H. pylori, making it one of the most common bacterial infections worldwide. In most cases, H. pylori infection is asymptomatic and does not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, in some cases, it can lead to chronic gastritis, peptic ulcers, and even stomach cancer. H. pylori is usually contracted in childhood, and the infection can persist for a lifetime if left untreated.

H. pylori infection occurs when H. pylori bacteria infect your stomach. Image by Unplash

H. pylori is usually spread through contaminated food and water, poor hygiene practices, and close contact with an infected person. The bacteria can survive in the acidic environment of the stomach by producing urease, an enzyme that neutralizes stomach acid.

Once inside the stomach lining, H. pylori can cause inflammation, which damages the protective mucus layer of the stomach and increases the risk of developing peptic ulcers. Although H. pylori infection is common, it can be effectively treated with antibiotics and acid-reducing medications, which can help reduce the risk of complications.

Commonly Asked Questions

Image by Marionel Luciano/Unsplash

What are the symptoms of H. pylori? Most people have the bacteria for years without knowing it because they don’t have any symptoms. Experts don’t know why. You may have redness and swelling (inflammation) in your stomach lining. This is called gastritis. You may also get sores or peptic ulcers in your stomach or the first part of your small intestine (duodenum).

Image by Vladislav Muslakov/unplash

And what are common ulcer symptoms caused by H. pylori?

  • Belly and abdominal discomfort and pain

  • Be a dull pain that doesn’t go away

  • Happen 2 to 3 hours after you eat

  • Come and go for several days or weeks

  • Happen in the middle of the night when your stomach is empty

  • Go away when you eat or take medicines that reduce your stomach acid level (antacids)

Other symptoms of an ulcer may include:

  • Weight loss

  • Not feeling hungry

  • Swelling or bloating

  • Burping

  • Having an upset stomach or nausea

  • Vomiting on more severe cases

Can H Pylori be transmitted by kissing? A 2014 study in the Central European Journal of UrologyTrusted Source suggests that as many as 90 percent of people with an H. pylori infection may carry the bacteria in their mouth and saliva. This means that the infection can spread through oral sex (in addition to kissing) and may also be a likely cause of urethritis. Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra that’s treated with antibiotics. Can H Pylori be transmitted through burping? Burping is a normal physiological process that helps to release excess gas from the stomach, and it does not typically involve the release of stomach contents. However, if an infected individual regurgitates stomach contents that contain H. pylori and then burps, it is possible that the bacteria may be present in the expelled gas and could potentially be transmitted to others through close contact. What are the consequences of long term H Pylori infection? Research has also found that H. pylori may lead to a range of serious health problems, including certain types of gastric cancers and gastric ulcers. In 2018, researchers reported that H. pylori may also play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Is there a relationship between a HIV positive person and H Pylori? It is not clear whether being HIV-positive increases the risk of acquiring H. pylori infection. However, some studies suggest that individuals with HIV may be more susceptible to developing H. pylori-related gastrointestinal diseases such as peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, and gastric cancer, compared to people without HIV. There are several factors that may contribute to the increased risk of H. pylori-related gastrointestinal diseases in individuals with HIV. For example, HIV can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off H. pylori and other infections.

Image by Brett Jordan/unsplash

What are the standard treatment for H. pylori? The standard treatment for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection involves a combination of antibiotics and acid-reducing medications. The most common treatment regimen is known as triple therapy and includes:

  1. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, or lansoprazole to reduce stomach acid and create a more favorable environment for antibiotics to work.

  2. Antibiotics such as clarithromycin, amoxicillin, or metronidazole to kill the H. pylori bacteria.

  3. A second antibiotic such as metronidazole or clarithromycin may be added to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.

The duration of the treatment is typically 10 to 14 days.

In cases where H. pylori is resistant to clarithromycin or other antibiotics, different medications may be prescribed or a quadruple therapy regimen may be used, which includes a PPI, bismuth subsalicylate, and two antibiotics. It's important to note that treatment for H. pylori should be guided by a healthcare professional and should be completed as directed, even if symptoms improve before the end of the treatment. What are the success rates for H. pylori treatments? The success rates of H. pylori treatment vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of treatment regimen used, the patient's age and overall health, and the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in the local population.

Overall, the success rates for triple therapy range from 70% to 90%, depending on the study and the population being treated. Quadruple therapy may be more effective, with success rates of up to 95%.

However, the effectiveness of these treatments can be reduced in patients with antibiotic-resistant strains of H. pylori, which is becoming increasingly common. In these cases, alternative treatments may be necessary.

It's also important to note that successful eradication of H. pylori does not guarantee that a patient's symptoms will improve, especially if significant damage has already been done to the digestive tract. In such cases, additional treatment may be necessary to manage symptoms and promote healing.

What is the relationship between stomach acid and H. pylori?

H. pylori is a type of bacteria that lives in our stomach. It likes a neutral pH, meaning a pH that is not too acidic or too basic. To get rid of H. pylori, doctors use antibiotics. But these antibiotics work better when the pH in the stomach is raised to a neutral level, so the bacteria can grow better.

To do this, doctors use drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that decrease the amount of acid in the stomach. The more acid is suppressed, the better the antibiotics work. There are currently available PPIs, but new drugs like vonoprazan might be better at raising the pH and making the antibiotics more effective.

Scientists are also looking into developing new types of antibiotics that work better against H. pylori. However, a more exciting possibility is to find compounds that specifically target proteins that help H. pylori adapt to acidic environments in the stomach, like UreI or carbonic anhydrase. Overall, the future of H. pylori treatment depends on finding better ways to suppress stomach acid and improve the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Why is lowering the stomach acid important?

Lowering stomach acid is important in the treatment of H. pylori. As mentioned previously, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are commonly used to lower stomach acid levels. They work by blocking the production of acid in the stomach, which reduces the acidity of the stomach and allows the antibiotics to be more effective against H. pylori. However, it's important to note that PPIs should be used only under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as long-term use can have side effects and increase the risk of certain infections.

What are some natural ways to help H. pylori symptoms?

There are some natural ways to reduce stomach acid, although it's important to note that these methods may not be effective for everyone and should not replace medical treatment for conditions such as acid reflux or ulcers. Here are a few examples:

Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the stomach and may help reduce acid reflux symptoms. The research findings indicate that ginger root possesses various medicinal properties, including antioxidant, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor effects. Ginger extract has been shown to protect the gastric mucosa, inhibit gastric acid secretion, and restrict the growth of H. pylori. It is suggested that ginger extracts containing gingerols may have potential therapeutic applications for treating or preventing H. pylori infections, including CagA+ strains. Ginger's medicinal properties support its use in traditional and folklore medicines and propose it as a new therapeutic approach for gastric disorders.

Curcumin: The research findings indicate that curcumin, the active component of turmeric, has anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antioxidant, and anti-infectious properties. It has been shown to eradicate H. pylori in mice and regulate the activities of MMP-3 and -9, which are associated with H. pylori infection. Curcumin inhibits the shikimate pathway, crucial for the production of essential metabolites in bacteria, without affecting humans. However, in a clinical trial, curcumin was less effective in eradicating H. pylori compared to a standard treatment, but it showed potential for healing peptic ulcers and reducing symptoms. Further in vivo evidence of curcumin's activity against H. pylori is still needed.

Chamomile tea: Chamomile has been traditionally used as a natural remedy for digestive issues and may help soothe the stomach and reduce acid levels.

Apple cider vinegar: Although it may seem counterintuitive, apple cider vinegar can actually help reduce stomach acid levels. This is because it contains acetic acid, which has a more alkaline pH and can help neutralize stomach acid. However, it's important to use it in moderation and dilute it properly to avoid further irritation of the stomach lining.

Bananas: Bananas are a good source of potassium, which can help neutralize stomach acid and may be helpful for people with acid reflux.

Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a low-acid food that can help absorb excess stomach acid and reduce symptoms of acid reflux.

It's important to note that some foods can actually increase stomach acid levels and worsen acid reflux symptoms, so it's important to talk to a healthcare professional and develop a personalized treatment plan. Additionally, if symptoms persist or worsen, medical attention should be sought.

How to reduce the H Pylori symptoms naturally?

The following textual insert is from Tuggeranong Square Medical Practice.

Image by Towfiqu barbhuiya

Apple Cider Apple cider vinegar is distilled from apples and has very strong anti-bacterial and healing properties. Apple cider vinegar is a tried and trusted way for dealing with ulcers. The stomach ulcers are caused by a bacteria H. pylori and apple cider vinegar can very effectively kill these, thus helping to heal peptic ulcers. There are a lot of other health benefits associated with apple cider vinegar and it can remove many toxins from the body. It is crucial to take apple cider vinegar for ulcers in the right quantity. Too much consumption can be harmful and too little can be ineffective. The best way is to start with two teaspoons of it daily. It is important to mix it with water or tea to prevent damage to teeth or mucus membranes of the mouth. You can gradually increase the dose to two tablespoon per day. This quantity is sufficient to treat stomach ulcers. If you have any other medical condition or are taking any medication, it is better to consult with your doctor before starting it. Other Remedies That Work for Ulcers 1. Flavonoids Flavonoids are known to protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and can help to heal the stomach ulcers. They are found in many foods, and supplements are also available. There are no side effects of taking moderate amounts of flavonoids. Foods rich in flavonoids include:

  • Broccoli, specially Broccoli sprouts

  • Green tea and other teas

  • Legumes

  • Soybeans

  • Kale

  • Red grapes

  • Apples

  • Berries

Note: Red wine and citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids but they can irritate the lining of the stomach and should be avoided. 2. Probiotics Fermented food and yogurt contain a lot of good bacteria which are known as probiotics. These play an important role in keeping the gastrointestinal tract healthy. Taking adequate amounts of probiotics can help to heal stomach ulcers by eradicating H. pylori. 3. Honey

Besides apple cider vinegar for ulcers, honey can also help. Honey contains a lot of antioxidants and other nutrients. It speeds up healing and can be very effective to kill H. pylori due to its strong antibacterial properties. If you are not a diabetic, you can take as much honey as you want. It is better than refined or white sugar and can cure many diseases including stomach ulcers.

Image by Gaelle Marcel

4. Garlic

Latest research has confirmed that garlic extract can kill many bacteria including H. pylori. Taking a couple of garlic cloves every day is very beneficial and if you do not like the taste or the strong aroma, you can take garlic supplements (tip: for the best results chop your garlic in small pieces, wait 5-10 minutes, then drink them with water or a spoon of olive oil). Excessive garlic intake can make your blood thin so be careful if you are already taking blood thinning medicines.

5. Cranberry

Cranberry and cranberry juice are very effective to cure urinary tract infections. Its intake can also kill H. pylori. However, it is important to take the right amount of cranberry juice as drinking a lot can upset the stomach. Also be careful with commercially available cranberry juices as they contain lots of sugar. Drink a little cranberry juice first and gradually increase the amount to avoid any stomach discomfort. You can eat cranberries or take supplements if you do not like the taste of its juice.

Research has shown that cranberry juice can help attenuate H. pylori infection and inhibit urinary tract infections due to its ability to prevent adhesion to the lining of the urinary tract. Animal and human studies have demonstrated positive results in treating H. pylori infections with cranberry juice, but further research is needed to understand the specific mechanisms involved and to evaluate its potential therapeutic benefits.

Image by Anastasiia Rozumna

6. Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains

A healthy diet is essential to maintain optimal health. Eating a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole grains will provide many essential nutrients, minerals and antioxidants. These will speed up the healing process and once you develop a habit of healthy eating, you will start to feel better.

By ML Staff. Special thanks to Johns Hopkins and Tuggeranong Square Medical Practice for textual inserts.


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