Does Helicobacter Pylori Need To Be Monitored And If So How
We do not know how Helicobacter pylori increases the risk of stomach cancer, or;which people with the infection are at greater risk. A better understanding;of this may help us to work out how this cancer arises and might just tell us;more about cancer formation more generally.
This is why Guts UK is proud to fund Dr. Jansen and his stomach cancer / h. pylori research. Dr Jansen is investigating the tissue samples that are taken from the stomach and looks to explore a new, more targeted approach. The team will also begin to understand the changes in DNA that occur.;Discover more here.
What Are The Symptoms
Most people with H. pylori dont have symptoms. Its not clear why the infection causes problems for some individuals and not for others. If you have the infection, but show no signs of it, you may simply have a greater resistance to the bacterias impact on your system.
When symptoms are present, they can include:
- abdominal pain thats more acute when youre hungry
- a stomach ache or burning sensation in your gut
If the abdominal distress doesnt subside or if its accompanied by black, tarry stools, or black vomit that looks like coffee grounds, you should see a doctor immediately. Trouble swallowing is also a sign of a worsening H. pylori infection.
H. pylori infections are diagnosed with a combination of a physical exam and certain lab tests. The lab tests look for the actual bacteria or signs that your body is fighting the infection.
These tests include:
- Blood test. This test checks for antibodies that indicate the presence of an H. pylori bacterial infection.
- Stool test. A small stool sample is sent to a lab and examined for any abnormal bacteria.
- Breath test. This test is given after you swallow a urea pill containing carbon molecules. If carbon molecules are found, it indicates that your body is making an enzyme called urease. This enzyme makes stomach acid less acidic and weakens the stomachs mucous lining.
How H Pylori Makes You Sick
For decades, doctors thought people got ulcers from stress, spicy foods, smoking, or other lifestyle habits. But when scientists discovered H. pylori in 1982, they found that the germs were the cause of most stomach ulcers.
After H. pylori enters your body, it attacks the lining of your stomach, which usually protects you from the acid your body uses to digest food. Once the bacteria have done enough damage, acid can get through the lining, which leads to ulcers. These may bleed, cause infections, or keep food from moving through your digestive tract.
You can get H. pylori from food, water, or utensils. Itâs more common in countries or communities that lack clean water or good sewage systems. You can also pick up the bacteria through contact with the saliva or other body fluids of infected people.
Many people get H. pylori during childhood, but adults can get it, too. The germs live in the body for years before symptoms start, but most people who have it will never get ulcers. Doctors arenât sure why only some people get ulcers after an infection.
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What Is Gastric Mucosa
Gastric MALT lymphoma is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is characterized by the slow multiplication of B lymphocytes, a type of immune cell, in the stomach lining. This cancer represents approximately 12 percent of the extranodal non-Hodgkin lymphoma that occurs among men and approximately 18 percent of extranodal non-Hodgkin lymphoma among women . During the period 19992003, the annual incidence of gastric MALT lymphoma in the United States was about one case for every 100,000 persons in the population.
Normally, the lining of the stomach lacks lymphoid tissue, but development of this tissue is often stimulated in response to colonization of the lining by H. pylori . Only in rare cases does this tissue give rise to MALT lymphoma. However, nearly all patients with gastric MALT lymphoma show signs of H. pylori infection, and the risk of developing this tumor is more than six times higher in infected people than in uninfected people .
Preventing H Pylori Infection
Its not always clear how H. pylori is passed from one person to another, but good personal hygiene is one way to help reduce your odds of infection. Thorough and frequent handwashing is important, especially after using the bathroom and before eating or cooking.
You should also make sure your food is clean and has been prepared and cooked properly. Likewise, make sure your drinking water is safe and clean.
Be especially mindful of these preventive measures if you spend time in a part of the world where public sanitation is a challenge, and clean sources of drinking water and food are scarce.
If you live with someone with H. pylori, help make sure they complete their treatment program as prescribed by their physician. A person is still contagious until they finish their course of antibiotics and tests show the infection is gone.
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How Is An H Pylori Infection Treated In A Child
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Your childs treatment may include antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
Your child may also take medicines to stop stomach acid from being made. These include:
- H2-blockers. They reduce the amount of acid the stomach makes by blocking the hormone histamine. Histamine helps to make acid.
- Proton pump inhibitors. These help to prevent the stomach from making acid. They do this by stopping the stomach’s acid pump from working.
- Stomach-lining protectors. They protect the stomach lining from acid. They also help kill bacteria.
Are There Any Side
Up to 3 in 10 people develop some side-effects when they take eradication therapy. These include indigestion , feeling sick , diarrhoea and headaches. However, it is worth persevering with the full course if side-effects are not too bad. A switch to a different set of medicines may be advised if the first combination does not clear the H. pylori, or if it caused bad side-effects and you had to stop taking it.
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H Pylori A True Stomach Bug: Who Should Doctors Test And Treat
- By Wynne Armand, MD, Contributor
ARCHIVED CONTENT:;As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.;
In 1982, two Australian scientists discovered that a certain bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, was a common cause of persistent stomach inflammation and stomach ulcers. This realization revolutionized ulcer treatment.
While fairly common, this infection usually causes no symptoms, but it can sometimes lead to ulcers in the stomach or the very first part of the small intestine , and to certain types of stomach cancer. There is also evidence linking H. pylori infection to other conditions like iron-deficiency anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency. The bacteria are thought to spread through contaminated water, vomit, or feces. Most infections are acquired in childhood and often within families, especially in developing countries.
Other Reasons For Testing
If you are in one of the following groups, you may be offered a test for H. pylori and offered treatment with eradication therapy if it is found. If you:
- Have a duodenal or stomach ulcer. Eradication therapy will usually cure the ulcer.
- Have non-ulcer dyspepsia. Eradication therapy may work and clear symptoms but it does not in most cases.
- Have a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Treatment is advised even if you do not have any symptoms. The aim is to reduce your future risk of stomach cancer.
- Are taking, or are about to take, long-term anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, aspirin, etc. The combination of these medicines and H. pylori increases the risk of developing a stomach ulcer.
- Have a MALToma.
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What Is Helicobacter Pylori
To survive in the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach, H. pylori secretes an enzyme called urease, which converts the chemical urea to ammonia. The production of ammonia around H. pylori neutralizes the acidity of the stomach, making it more hospitable for the bacterium. In addition, the helical shape of H. pylori allows it to burrow into the mucus layer, which is less acidic than the inside space, or lumen, of the stomach. H. pylori can also attach to the cells that line the inner surface of the stomach.
Although immune cells that normally recognize and attack invading bacteria accumulate near sites of H. pylori infection, they are unable to reach the stomach lining. In addition, H. pylori has developed ways of interfering with local immune responses, making them ineffective in eliminating this bacterium .
H. pylori has coexisted with humans for many thousands of years, and infection with this bacterium is common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately two-thirds of the worlds population harbors the bacterium, with infection rates much higher in developing countries than in developed nations.
What Is An H Pylori Infection
Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that lives in the digestive tract. Experts claim up to two-thirds of the world’s population has H. pylori. Many people are not adversely affected by its presence, but some people develop stomach and duodenal inflammation and ulcers. In a very small percentage of the population, infection from H. pylori bacteria leads to stomach cancer.
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Things You Can Do To Ease Gastritis
If you think the cause of your gastritis is repeated use of NSAID painkillers, try switching to a different painkiller that’s not in the NSAID class, such as paracetamol.
You may want to talk to a GP about this.
- eating smaller, more frequent meals
- avoiding foods that can irritate the stomach, such as spicy, acidic or fried foods
- avoiding or cutting down on alcohol
If You Have Indigestion But Neither You Nor Your Doctor Know If You Have An Ulcer
Until recently, most people with severe indigestion often had an endoscopy; to look;for an ulcer. However nowadays, instead of sending a patient straight to;endoscopy, most doctors will check first to see if they have Helicobacter pylori and if;so, treat it with antibiotics. Generally, if the patient has actually had an ulcer,;we know that treating Helicobacter pylori is likely to prove successful but other cases;where the condition has not actually caused an ulcer, there may be no;improvement. It is fair to say that only an endoscopy can confirm whether;you have an ulcer. In addition, people with indigestion who also have;worrying symptoms such as weight loss, persistent vomiting or trouble in;swallowing still need to have an endoscopy to rule out other conditions.
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How Might Helicobacter Pylori Affect Me Over Time
Treatment for the condition is usually very successful but sometimes;symptoms take a little while to settle down. If the treatment is; shown to be;unsuccessful in clearing Helicobacter pylori, it is possible to have further courses of;therapy with different antibiotics.
We now know that treating Helicobacter pylori not only helps ulcers to heal but, more;importantly, it greatly reduces the risk of ulcer recurrence and all doctors;are agreed that patients with Helicobacter pylori should have treatment for the;infection if they have, or ever have had, an ulcer.
It is important to remember that although the condition is the cause;of most ulcers, others may occur as a result of regular use of certain;painkillers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, as well as many drugs prescribed;for other conditions. This is why you should always ask your doctor;whether any prescribed drugs you are taking may have an effect on your;stomach.
What Causes H Pylori Infection
Health experts dont know for sure how H. pylori infection is spread. They believe the germs can be passed from person to person by mouth, such as by kissing.
It may also be passed by having contact with vomit or stool. This may happen if you:
Eat food that was not cleaned or cooked in a safe way
Drink water that is infected with the bacteria
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When To See A Gp
If you have;indigestion and stomach pain, you can try treating this yourself with changes to your diet and lifestyle, or with medicines you can get from a pharmacy, such as antacids.
See a GP if:
- you have indigestion symptoms lasting a week or longer, or it’s causing you severe pain or discomfort
- you think it’s brought on by medicine you have been prescribed
Stomach ache and abdominal pain;are not always a sign of gastritis.
The pain could be caused by a wide range of other things, from trapped wind to irritable bowel syndrome .
What Is H Pylori In Children
H. pylori is a spiral-shaped germ that infects the stomach.
How to say it
It can damage the tissue in your childs stomach and the first part of the small intestine . This can cause redness and swelling . It may also cause painful sores called peptic ulcers in the upper digestive tract.
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Prognosis Of H Pylori
Many people with H. pylori dont experience any symptoms of the illness and never even know they have the infection.
If you do have symptoms or develop complications, treatment is usually successful. H. pylori infection can often be cured with treatment consisting of antibiotics and acid-reducing medications.
H Pylori Testing & Diagnosis
There are several tests for H. pylori. The most common tests are:
In an H. pylori breath test, patients drink a special solution containing tagged carbon molecules. These molecules release carbon when they come in contact with H. pylori in the stomach. This carbon can be detected when you exhale.
Patients exhale into a bag and the doctor uses a device that detects the presence of carbon. Some acid-suppressing medications , antibiotics, and bismuth subsalicylate can affect the results and accuracy of this test. Your doctor will ask you to stop taking these medications one to two weeks before your breath test.
Stool tests can detect the proteins associated with H. pylori. Just like the breath test, PPIs and bismuth subsalicylate can affect the accuracy of stool tests. Talk with your doctor if youâre taking these drugs prior to a stool test.
Blood tests may reveal evidence of H. pylori, but stool and breath tests are more helpful when diagnosing active infections of H. pylori.
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The Most Common Symptoms :
Constant bad breath
Other issues that can be caused by a H Pylori infection include pernicious anemia which is a B12 deficiency .; Your stomach produces a protein called intrinsic factor which allows the small intestine to absorb B12.; H Pylori affects the stomachs ability to produce intrinsic factor which causes this problem.; The major symptoms associated with pernicious anemia are constant fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, swollen tongue and nausea.
How Might H Pylori Infection Decrease The Risk Of Some Cancers But Increase The Risk Of Other Cancers
Although it is not known for certain how H. pylori infection increases the risk of non-cardia gastric cancer, some researchers speculate that the long-term presence of an inflammatory response predisposes cells in the stomach lining to become cancerous. This idea is supported by the finding that increased expression of a single cytokine in the stomach of transgenic mice causes sporadic gastric inflammation and cancer . The increased cell turnover resulting from ongoing cellular damage could increase the likelihood that cells will develop harmful mutations.
One hypothesis that may explain reduced risks of gastric cardia cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma in H. pylori-infected individuals relates to the decline in stomach acidity that is often seen after decades of H. pyloricolonization. This decline would reduce acid reflux into the esophagus, a major risk factor for adenocarcinomas affecting the upper stomach and esophagus.
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The Hazards Of An Hpylori Infection:
H.Pylori is a very sophisticated microorganism that has incredible adaptive advantages that give it the ability to survive the stomachs harsh environment.; It produces an enzyme called urease which breaks down the urea in the stomach into carbon dioxide and ammonia.; This causes belching and halitosis for the individual and it neutralizes the acidifying effects of hydrochloric acid .
Hydrochloric acid is necessary for creating an acidic environment in the stomach to digest protein and ionize minerals.; This also helps to stimulate bile release from the gallbladder to effectively metabolize fat in the small intestine.; Without these key functions working optimally we become at risk for anemia, thyroid problems, osteoporosis and auto-immunity .
The secretion of mucous protects the stomach lining from irritation by food stuffs and microorganisms.; H Pylori reduces the stomachs ability to produce mucous and irritates the stomach lining.; This creates a silent level of inflammation until the irritation become so severe that enough pain receptors fire off.; This is the pathogenesis of stomach ulcers.