Helicobacter Pylori

Many people are familiar with upper abdominal pain, the dull burning pain that is sometimes diagnosed as a stomach ulcer but often goes undiagnosed, and becomes indigestion and acid reflux! More often than not it is caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori, that attacks the lining of the stomach leaving you vulnerable to corrosive stomach acids that burn ‘holes’ in the tissues causing ulcers.

Burning is one symptom but others are bloating, burping, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss.

Although H. Pylori is more prevalent in countries that lack clean water, even in developed parts of the world you can get it and spread it through saliva, or other body fluids. You can be infected for years before experiencing any symptoms and interestingly some people never go on to develop ulcers, whilst others do and suffer badly. There is no particular rhyme or reason, although I think the immune system plays a big part.

Once diagnosed the usual conventional treatment starts with antibiotics to kill the bacteria, proton pump inhibitors to reduce the production of stomach acid and a mineral called bismuth subcitrate.

Whilst these drugs are effective in destroying the ulcer-causing bacteria, the therapy comes with a host of side effects. Antibiotics kill the good as well as the bad bacteria and this disruption of the delicate gastrointestinal ecosystem can cause diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting.

Knowing the downsides of antibiotics a team of researchers wanted to know how supplementing with probiotics during the treatment could help in eliminating the ulcer-causing bacteria whilst also decreasing the risk of side effects. So patients were given either 28 probiotic capsules or a placebo and were told to take 2 capsules daily during their course of antibiotics. After 2 weeks they found a significantly greater number of patients were cured in the probiotic group versus the placebo group. Then after 15 days those in the probiotic group had less severe symptoms of pain, bloating, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and rashes.

They concluded that adding probiotics to the standard therapy for H pylori “significantly contributes to treatment efficacy and distinctly decreases the adverse effects of therapy and the symptoms of the underlying disease.”

This study shows that probiotics are so important if you are on antibiotics. The friendly microbes not only help to maintain balance and prevent side effects but also improve treatment outcomes. However the benefits don’t end there, in addition to maintaining digestive health, probiotics can help protect against blood sugar imbalances, control weight and enhance immunity as 50% of your immune system is in the gut.

Although you can find various strains of beneficial bacteria in fermented foods, such as certain yoghurts, to get a therapeutic dose you need to take a good supplement. One that contains a blend of different types of microbes, including bacteria from the friendly Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria families, and with at least 10billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per dose.

There is no downside to taking probiotics, they are a must when taking antibiotics, but can also be very helpful against many potential health concerns, so I recommend that you take them every day as a precaution.

I have spoken here about conventional antibiotics for the treatment of H. Pylori but it is also possible to take a natural antibiotic such as Hydrosol Silver that does not destroy the good bacteria but is very effective in killing the bad bacteria. There are herbs as well that can help such as berberine, and complex homeopathy.

To help heal the lining of the gut some L-Glutamine is good and this also improves the immune system so preventing further damage.

There is no need to suffer, take your health into your own hands and try some of nature’s remedies.

Wyndham Health