Are you diagnosed with h. pylori infection? See a doctor as soon as possible to start the h. pylori treatment. Otherwise, your body will become resistant to the medications prescribed by your doctor. This blog has also discussed the diagnosis and prognosis procedure of the treatment for h. pylori and some matters of concern for pylori patients.
Helicobacter pylori or better known as h. pylori is a type of bacteria that causes serious health issues like peptic ulcers. The pylori bacteria attack the inner lining of the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. The presence of the bacteria is common among approximately 75% percent of the world’s population. Of which 30% to 40% are residents of the United States.
Most of the time, it does not show any symptoms but sometimes people do get affected. In such cases, if the affected individual gets any symptoms, they immediately need to visit the doctor for the treatment of h. pylori. So, what are the symptoms to be aware of?
Symptoms of h. pylori disease
Even if you have the infection, doesn’t mean it will get turned into something severe. But about 10% to 15% of infected individuals develop the symptoms of peptic ulcers. In rare cases, if the symptoms are untreated for a prolonged time, it leads to gastric carcinoma.
Stomach pain is the most common symptom, but depends on the individual too. The ache gets worsens with an empty stomach.
Other symptoms include,
- Extreme blenching
- A feeling of nausea all the time
- A sense of fullness even before meals
- Lack of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Dark or bloody stools
If you face any of the above symptoms, you should visit a health specialist for h. pylori treatment. But, what causes the infection?
Causes of h. pylori infection
pylori infection can spread from person to person, especially; it is more likely to happen in childhood. But if the infection is not treated, it stays like that or can cause more severe health problems.
However, it is not clear how the infection spreads from one to another, but here are some possibilities.
- Coming in contact with the saliva of an infected person
- Gastrointestinal tract illness
- Residing in an unhygienic area or consuming contaminated food
Apart from that, the bacteria trigger ulcers by,
- Damaging the mucous layer of the inner lining of the stomach and duodenum and then residing there.
- Inducing digestive acid secretion that destructs the inner lining and leads to developing ulcers.
The h. pylori stomach bacteria are also responsible to cause chronic inflammation in the duodenum (duodenitis) and the stomach (gastritis). Or worse, it triggers stomach cancer and a rare type of stomach lymphoma.
Diagnosis of H. pylori
As a part of helicobacter pylori treatment, diagnosis of the cause is extremely significant. Hence, doctors run a series of tests and examinations to determine the cause of the health issue.
As a starter, doctors check your medical history and the medications you have consumed. Then, the following tests and examinations are conducted on the infected individual.
- Physical examination
This exam is usually done by pressing certain points on the patient’s belly to check if there is an onset of pain.
- Blood tests
Blood tests help to understand the infection that causing the health issue.
- Stool tests
The stool tests also help to determine the pylori infection to comprehend its contribution to the patient’s health problems.
- Urea breath test
Here, you will be given to drink a special liquid that contains urea. Then you will be asked to breathe into a bag that is sent for lab testing. To check, if you have the h. pylori stomach bacteria, the urea will change to carbon dioxide. It will show a higher level of CO2 in your breath.
If you have ulcers, doctors are more likely to undergo,
- Upper gastrointestinal tests and endoscopy
In this process, for the test, you have to drink barium and the doctor will conduct an x-ray. This metal is used to take a clear picture of your stomach and throat. This is because the metal helps to stand out in the presence of any infection.
For endoscopy, an endoscope is used to look down your stomach, duodenum, and throat. The doctor then collects a sample to test for pylori presence. The procedure is done either in conscious or unconscious states but medicines are provided for the comfort of the patients.
- CT scan
A powerful x-ray is used to take pictures of your stomach, throat, and duodenum of your body.
And if you have symptoms of stomach cancer, which is rare, doctors might prescribe you to do a biopsy. In this process, a small piece of stomach tissue is taken as a sample to look if you have signs of cancer. Generally, it is done during endoscopy.
Treatment of helicobacter pylori
For treatment of h. pylori infection, and ulcers, doctors prescribe medications to kill the bacteria and to reduce the acid secretion from the digestive tract.
Make sure to always strictly follow the medical instruction, and make some healthy lifestyle changes, it will boost the healing process. Generally, the standard treatment duration is 10 to 14 days.
- Drugs are helpful to reduce acid secretion by blocking the tiny acid-producing pumps
- Bismuth to kill the helicobacter pylori bacteria
- Medicines that block the chemical histamine. The chemical induces stomach acid secretion
If you are diagnosed with h. pylori infection, in the beginning, you might have to take more than 14 pills daily. This is challenging, but it is required for your healing. Delay in the consumption of antibiotics can make your body resistant to them and it might become difficult to treat. In case, you suffer side effects from any of the medications, consult your doctor immediately.
One to two weeks after the treatment completion, your doctor might re-run tests to check if the h. pylori infection is fully cured.
Prognosis of h. pylori disease
If you take your medications, you have an excellent chance of curing your H pylori infection. You will have a considerably lower chance of getting another ulcer.
H pylori might be difficult to completely treat at times. Repeated courses of various therapies may be required. A stomach biopsy is occasionally performed to test the germ and determine which antibiotic would work best. This can aid in future h. pylori treatment planning. In certain situations, H pylori cannot be cured with any medication; however, symptoms can be minimized.
If treated, the infection may relapse in locations with inadequate hygienic conditions.
Some matters of concern for pylori patients
There are a few matters of concern for pylori-infected patients. Let’s see what those are and the answers to them.
- What is the first-line treatment for H. pylori?
Most individuals will benefit more from first-line bismuth quadruple therapy or concurrent therapy with a PPI, amoxicillin, clarithromycin, and metronidazole. If the first-line therapy fails, then a salvage regimen must exclude antibiotics that were previously utilized.
- What is the latest treatment for H. pylori?
Vonoprazan, a novel type of acid-suppressing medicine, was authorized by the FDA in 2022. This acid blocker operates a little differently than the PPIs. In addition, it seems to be more successful than standard PPIs in treating H. pylori infections.
- What is the most common treatment for H. pylori?
- pylori infection is generally treated with two antibiotics. Other than that, PPIs, H-2 blockers, and bismuth subsalicylate are also included in the treatment course of h. pylori stomach bacteria.
- What is the most effective h. pylori treatment?
The FDA authorized the first potassium-competitive acid blocker (PCAB)-based medication in May 2022, which comprises 14 days of triple therapy with the following: Vonoprazan, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin.
- Which probiotic is best for H. pylori?
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most often utilized probiotic microorganisms. Probiotics might promote H. pylori eradication and prevent negative effects during medication.
- What foods can aggravate the pylori condition?
According to some research, salty and fatty meals have been found to alter the stomach lining. High-salt diets can transform the cells within the stomach, making them more susceptible to helicobacter pylori infection. Heavy alcohol consumption can also contribute to stomach irritation and exacerbate symptoms.
- What foods to consume to boost the healing of pylori disease?
Probiotics are found in foods such as kimchi, kombucha, yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh. They may help ulcers by battling an H. pylori infection or by improving the effectiveness of therapy. You can also consume red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and fiber-rich foods.
- What you must avoid when you have h. pylori infection?
Avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs when you have been diagnosed with pylori disease. This is because these drugs can aggravate the possibility of developing cancer.
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