Have you been diagnosed with H.pylori and want to know more facts about it?
If the answer to that is ‘yes’ then pull up a chair and stay a while.
H. pylori has colonised in humans for more than 116,000 years and is often regarded as the root to many of our digestive problems that described all too often by many of you.
It is a leading cause of conditions such as Gastritis and Stomach Ulcers. This little offender presents more questions than we can get answers to, in spite of the intensive scientific research in this area!
Did you know that:
- 1/2 of the world’s population is infected with this bacterium
- How it enters our bodies is unclear, especially in countries where the level of sanitation and hygiene are high
- Water is considered one possible way of infection
- The bacteria can survive in cold water for a few hours
- Family members can share gut microbes therefore, colonisation can take place through sharing the same household
- The majority of infected people remain symptom free
- Small minority develop digestive problems that can sometimes progress to stomach cancer
- The bacterium exists in numerous strains
Naturally our body tries to fight the infection, setting up an immune response to the intruder but – as the American scientists recently reported – our own immune cells can contribute to the local inflammation and tissue damage.
A British study showed that people infected with H. pylori have:
- A lower concentration of the antimicrobial factor (beta defensin 1) – demonstrating the ability of the bacteria to manipulate the host’s immune system
- On the plus side these also play a beneficial role in protecting against diabetes and obesity
So what is the new identification process?
Alongside the traditional methods of detecting H. pylori, researchers from Denmark have come up with a new innovative way of identifying the infection. Cleverly constructed molecules interact with the bacteria resulting in luminescent green light showing the invaded areas of the stomach, which can be seen through a small examination camera.
How can H.pylori be treated?
The current ad hoc approach to treat H. pylori is to bombard the entire gut flora with 2-3 antibiotics to eradicate H.pylori and to reduce acidity in the stomach with the use of Proton pump inhibitors giving the stomach lining a chance to heal.
HOWEVER medical data shows that this treatment is ineffective in up to 30% of patients, who can relapse. One possible theory is that the patient is re-infected by the H.pylori that can remain present in the mouth pockets and which has now also become antibiotic resistant.
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