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Helicobacter pylorus (H. pylori) is a type of asymptomatic bacterium that causes infection in the stomach. It affects about two-thirds of the world’s population and may be transmitted by unclean food and water. If left untreated, it can cause peptic ulcers and even stomach cancer. Without proper medicinal examination, these bacteria are hard to detect.
How do you know?
H. pylori can produce various symptoms and the most common include burping, bloating, heartburn, esophageal reflux, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence and upper and mid-stomach discomfort. People generally mistake these symptoms for normal body manifestations.
H. pylori is the main reason for gastritis – an inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis accounts for 90% of duodenal ulcers and around 80% of gastric ulcers. H. Pylori can also trigger a number of other conditions that are not directly linked to digestion, such as cardiovascular issue, headaches and Raynaud’s sickness, which is impaired circulation in the hands and feet.
This bacterium can decrease serotonin levels in the brain thus triggering depression and nervousness.
It can happen to anyone, including you
The bacteria thrive mainly in the stomach lining and are believed to be transmitted by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated with human fecal material, or possibly through contact with the stool, vomit, or saliva of an infected person. Exposure to family members with H. pylori seems to be the most likely opportunity for transmission.
It’s advisable to check the conditions of any restaurant you go to.
What can you do about it?
- Pylori can be successfully treated in more than 80% of cases. Consult your doctor to get the appropriate therapy. Treatment usually involves a combination of antibiotics and drugs to reduce the amount of stomach acid produced, and these are taken for several weeks. Maintaining a proper dietary regime and plenty of vitamins A, C and E, along with zinc, is essential in order to protect your stomach lining. Taking probiotics such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium is also advisable.
Last, but not least, is maintaining proper hygiene like washing your hands frequently and properly. Drinking water from safe sources is also very important.