• Natalie Gibson

Helicobacter pylori infections


Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria that can infect the human stomach.

For a long period of time, many believed that the stomach was not a hospitable environment for bacteria but the discovery of H. pylori defies this belief.

H. pylori’s structure enables the pathogen to cross the mucous barrier of the stomach to reach the gastric epithelial cells and enhances colonisation of gastric mucosa and avoid extermination.

As we all know the stomach is an acidic environment, however H. pylori has evolved to adapt to the acidic environment by altering their own urea and adapting it to be ammonia viaurease with creates a neutral environment to envelope the bacteria protecting it from the acidic environment.

Transmission

How H. pylori is transmitted is unknown and it is suspected that 90% of the population have H. pylori however not everyone is symptomatic.

It could be via the oral route, the faecal-oral route but it is unconfirmed at this point so we need to focus on the treatment rather than prevention of the infection.

Symptoms

Symptoms are so varied and can effect people differently, however the most common symptoms are:

- reflux or heartburn

- food intolerances

- digestive disturbances

- oesophagus inflammation

There is a strong interest in treating H. pylori as this bacteria has been shown to go on to cause other diseases such as:

Inflammation of the lining of the stomach (gastritis)

• Duodenal ulcers

• Stomach (gastric) ulcers

• Some cancers of the stomach

Diagnosis

Unsure if you are suffering from H. pylori infection?

The easiest way is to visit your GP and have a non-invasive breath test.

Once a positive breath test has been conducted, we can proceed with treatment and support:

Treatment approaches

The conventional treatment is a triple or quadruple antibiotic approach as H. pylori is proven to be evasive. The difficulty with this approach is antibiotic resistance, the evasive approach of H. pylori, reinfection and the effects of such strong antibiotics on the gastrointestinal tract (side effects) and also long term effects to the microbiome.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are also routinely prescribed which lower the pH of the GI tract to reduce symptoms and alter environment to disturb the bacteria.

Natural treatment approaches include:

- herbal antimicrobials that are researched to target infestations of H. pylori whilst not causing further damage to mucosal barrier

- herbs and nutrients to reduce inflammation of the upper gastrointestinal tract

- polyphenols - polyphenols are phytonutrients in many plant sources such as fruit, vegetables, tea, cocoa, extra-virgin olive oil and some polyphenols have been shown to have antibacterial properties directed towards H. pylori

- symptomatic relief such as digestive enzymes to optimise gastric acid production and optimise food breakdown

- remove food and lifestyle triggers such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, cigarette smoking and other triggers which are individual to you

- repair gastrointestinal lining through diet, herbs and nutritional supplementation

- support microbiome and immune system to optimise function

If H. Pylori is bothering you, please get in touch for a natural supportive approach to eradicating H. Pylori and gastrointestinal repair.

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