Bacteria can weaken the protective inner wall of the stomach, allowing digestive juices to irritate the inner surface of the stomach. 
Helicobacter pylori is present in about two-thirds of the world’s population.


Diseases caused by helicobacter pylori

Most people who are infected with H. pylori never experience symptoms related to infection. 
H. pylori can cause active, chronic, atrophic and persistent gastritis in adults and children. 
H. pylori infection also causes stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers. 
Infected people are at increased risk of developing gastric cancer and MALT (mucosal associated lymphoid tissue) 2 to 6 times more than those who are not infected.


Causes of Helicobacter pylori infection

H. pylori bacteria can be passed from person to person through direct contact with saliva, vomit, or feces. H. pylori can also spread through contaminated water or food. The infection usually picks up in childhood.

How do you get Helicobacter pylori?

Many people get H. pylori when they are children. Rarely does the infection occur in adulthood. 
Risk factors for H. pylori infection are related to living conditions in childhood, such as living with so many people in a small space. If you live in a home with several other people, there is an increased risk of infection by h. pylori.

Risk factors:

  • Live in an environment without hot water available. 
    The availability of hot water can help keep the living room clean to reduce the risk of h. pylori.
  • Living in a developing country. 
    People living in developing countries, where unhealthy and overcrowded living conditions may be more frequent, are at increased risk for H. pylori infection.
  • Living with someone who has an H. pylori infection. 
    If someone living in the same household has H. pylori infection is more likely.

How Helicobacter pylori is transmitted

Infection occurs by ingestion of certain foods (vegetables, vegetables, etc.) contaminated by human faeces without washing hands or drinking from the same bottle or glass. 
The bacteria can enter the mouth with vomiting, but the mouth is just a transitional tank where H. pylori can not survive for long. So the transmission through the kiss was shown almost insignificant. 
Helicobacter is not transmitted:

  • With sex,
  • From animals to humans,
  • Making tattoos,
  • Through blood transfusions,
  • In dental practice.

Signs and symptoms of Helicobacter pylori infection

Anyone can get an H. pylori infection without knowing it since this disease is “silent” and produces no symptoms. 
When H. pylori causes the symptoms are usually the same as the gastritis or peptic ulcer. 
In children, the symptoms of gastritis may be nausea , abdominal pain and vomiting. 
However, these symptoms are seen in many childhood diseases. 
Helicobacter pylori, also known as campylobacter pylori, may also cause peptic ulcers (in the stomach and duodenum).

Children who have a peptic ulcer may have bleeding ulcers, causing hematemesis (vomiting of blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds) or melena ( black stools , similar to tar). 
Smaller children with peptic ulcers may have no visible symptoms, so their illness may be more difficult to diagnose.


Symptoms of Helicobacter pylori infection in adults

The most common symptom of ulcer is incessant pain or burning in the upper abdomen. Usually this pain occurs when the stomach is empty between meals and early in the morning, but it can also occur at other times. 
This can last from a few minutes to a few hours and can be relieved by eating or taking antacids.

Less common ulcer symptoms are gastroesophageal reflux , nausea, vomiting, white tongue and loss of appetite . 
Bleeding can also be seen, if prolonged it can cause anemia . 
Helicobacter pylori promotes the development of acne rosacea and there are studies on the possible link between bacteria and chronic urticaria . 
Patients also report bad breath . 
This bacteria does not cause intestinal symptoms like diarrhea , bloating  or abdominal bloating .
Among the novelties is a study published in the journal “Journal of Medical Microbiology” by Fukuoka Dental College in Japan. 
This research showed that Helicobacter Pylori can survive even in the mouth and lips. In addition, bacteria can cause a periodontal infection that causes the production of sulfites that cause halitosis.


Is Helicobacter pylori dangerous? Complications

Duodenal or stomach ulcer
H. pylori is the most common cause of duodenal and stomach ulcers. 
Around 3 people in 20 who are infected with h. pylori develop an ulcer. An ulcer is an injury to the mucosa and the wall of the stomach or duodenum. The injury is caused by the acid produced in the stomach. The consequence is that the underlying tissue is exposed to gastric acid. 
If you look inside the intestine, the ulcer appears as a small red crater inside the wall of the stomach or duodenum.

The exact way in which H. pylori causes ulcers in some infected people is not entirely clear. 
The stomach normally produces a reasonable amount of acid to aid digestion of food and to kill bacteria. This acid is corrosive. 
Some cells in the wall of the stomach and duodenum produce a natural mucus barrier that protects the stomach and duodenum from acid. 
There is usually a balance between the amount of acid produced and the mucus. 
If there is a change in this balance that allows the acid to damage the inner wall of the stomach or duodenum can develop an ulcer. 
In some people, H. pylori causes inflammation in the inner wall of the stomach or duodenum.
This allows the acid to cause an injury to the defense barrier composed of mucus. 
Helicobacter pylori can sometimes cause an increase in acid production.

Some authors believe that helicobacter pylori can cause  thrush in the mouth .

Non-ulcerous or functional dyspepsia
This is a disease in which recurrent bouts of indigestion (dyspepsia) occur that are not caused by an ulcer or inflammation. 
H. pylori is also present in people with non-ulcer dyspepsia. 
Generally, the cause of non-ulcer dyspepsia is not known.

Stomach Cancer
The risk of developing stomach cancer is greater with H. pylori infection that stays for a long time. 
However, it should be noted that more than a quarter of people in Britain are infected with this bacterium and the vast majority do not develop cancer in the stomach. 
The increase in risk is very small. The risk may be higher if you have H. pylori and at least one first-degree relative (mother, father, brother, sister or daughter) with cancer of the stomach. 
Lymphoma of lymphoid tissue associated with gastric mucosa is a rare and uncommon type of stomach cancer. 
H. pylori infection appears to play a role in the development of this disease.


How is Helicobacter pylori infection discovered?

The problem with this infection is that doctors often exchange it for simple gastritis. 
Sometimes patients treat gastritis for years before realizing that the real problem is this bacteria.

The diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection

There are some simple and  accurate tests for the detection of H. pylori infection. 
These include blood tests for certain antibodies, respiratory tests, antigen tests, and endoscopic biopsy. 
Blood tests for the presence of H. pylori antibodies (these are IgG and IgA values ​​in the blood) can be done easily and quickly. 
However, blood antibodies may persist for years after the complete elimination of Helicobacter pylori with antibiotics . 
Therefore, blood tests may be helpful in diagnosing the infection, but they are not good for determining if antibiotics have completely eradicated bacteria.

The breath test  is a safe, easy and accurate examination for the presence of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach. 
The breath test is based on the ability of H. pylori to naturally degrade the chemical urea to carbon dioxide that is absorbed in the stomach and is eliminated by respiration. 
10-20 minutes after swallowing a capsule containing a small amount of radioactive urea, a sample of the breath is collected and analyzed for radioisotope-labeled carbon dioxide.

The presence of radioactively labeled carbon dioxide in the breath (positive test) means that there is active infection. 
The test becomes negative (it does not have radioactive CO2 in the breath) shortly after the elimination of the bacteria of the stomach with antibiotics. 
From the moment some individuals are concerned about the minimal amount of radioactivity, the breathing test has been modified to also be performed with non-radioactive urea.

The kit is available at the pharmacy for a breath test. 
The air sample should be sent to the laboratory for analysis.

The normal values ​​of the respiratory test (negative test) are between 0 and 4, but the data may vary in different laboratories.

gastroscopy is a precision test for the diagnosis of infection by H. pylori, ulcers and inflammation it causes. 
For gastroscopy, the doctor will insert a flexible viewing tube (endoscope) through the mouth into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. During gastroscopy, small tissue samples (biopsies) may be removed from the stomach wall. 
A biopsy sample is placed on a glass slide containing urea. If urea is modified by H. pylori, the color changes around the tissue on the glass slide. 
This means that there is an infection by h. pylori in the stomach.

A recent test developed for Helicobacter pylori is an examination that looks for the presence of bacteria in a stool sample. 
The test uses an antibody to Helicobacter pylori to determine whether the bacterium is present in feces. 
Like the breath test, this can be used to determine whether eradication was successful shortly after treatment. 
In 2012, the FDA gave approval for the breathing exam in children between the ages of 3 and 17 years.

Treatment for Helicobacter pylori, which antibiotics are used?

There are several treatments for H. pylori infection:

  • Antibiotics to kill bacteria
  • Medications, including H2 receptor antagonists, also called H2 antagonists, and proton pump inhibitors to reduce the amount of stomach acid.

Among the H2 antagonists are

  • Ranitidina (Antak)
  • Famotidina (Famox)
  • Nizatidina (Axid)
  • Cimetidina (Tagamet)

Among the proton pump inhibitors are available in the market:

  • Omeprazole (Peprazole)
  • Lansoprazol
  • pantoprazole
  • esomeprazole

Antacids, H2 antagonists, and proton pump inhibitors do not eradicate Helicobacter pylori from the stomach, and ulcers often recur when the patient discontinues these medications.

Therefore, antacids, H2 antagonists and proton pump inhibitors should be taken daily for many years to prevent recurrence of ulcers and complications such as bleeding , perforation and obstruction of the stomach. 
Even as long-term treatments may be ineffective. 
Helicobacter pylori eradication usually prevents the recurrence of ulcers and their complications even when proton pump inhibitor medications (PPIs) are no longer taken.

The bicarbonate is an antacid that may be used in treating this infection, but the duration of the benefits is short.

Generally, H. pylori does not leave the stomach because it is able to develop resistance to the most commonly used antibiotics. Therefore, the physician prescribes two or more antibiotics in conjunction with an IBPs and / or medications containing bismuth to eradicate the bacteria (bismuth and IBPs have anti-H.pylori effects).

Examples of effective drug combinations are:

  • One IBPs, amoxicillin (Amoxil ®) and clarithromycin
  • One IBPs, amoxicillin and levofloxacin (Tavanic ®),
  • An IBPs, metronidazole, tetracycline or bismuth salicylate (Pepto-Bismol).

These drug combinations can cure 70-90% of infections. However, studies have shown that H. pylori resistance to clarithromycin is common among patients who have previously been exposed to clarithromycin or other chemically similar macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin). 
Similarly, resistance of H. pylori to metronidazole is common among patients who had previous exposure to metronidazole. 
In these patients, doctors found other combinations of antibiotics to treat Helicobacter pylori.

Pregnant women should take care as soon as possible not to transmit the bacteria to the child in the future.

Natural Remedies  for Helicobacter pylori

There is no miracle herb that kills all types of Helicobacter Pylori bacteria in the stomach, but there are a few methods that can make the environment inhospitable. 
We know that this bacterium survives only in an acidic environment, so the only way to defeat it without drugs is to change the environment in which it is found.

To reduce the acidity we can drink a lot of water that dilutes the gastric acids, the minimum quantity is 2/3 liters per day. 
If you drink away from meals, when the stomach does not produce the acids to digest the food, it is easier to get the desired result. 
This remedy is effective if you make few meals a day, for example 3: breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
Whoever eats every 3 hours continuously has a small amount of food and digestive acids in the stomach, this is the ideal environment for bacteria.

The guidelines defined by the American College of Gastroenterology to treat Helicobacter pylori are as follows:

Surgery for the treatment of ulcers 
Doctors usually advise against eating spicy, fatty or acidic foods. 
Usually diet has little or no effect on ulcers for most people. 
The smoke may interfere with the healing of ulcers and seems to have a role in recurrence. 
Proper treatment depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Age, health and medical history,
  • The severity of the infection and damage to the stomach,
  • The ability to tolerate certain medications or treatments,
  • Personal Preferences.

As with most diseases, the best treatment for H. pylori is prevention. There is no vaccine against H. pylori and given that doctors do not fully understand how the bacterium develops, there are no guidelines for prevention. 
However, to protect yourself from infection it is important to wash your hands well and often, eat healthy and well preserved food and drink drinking water from a safe source.

Preventing Helicobacter pylori infection

Since the origin of H. pylori is not yet known, there is no recommendation to avoid infections. 
Generally, it is always advisable to wash your hands carefully, eat the food that has been prepared properly and drink bottled water.

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