H-Pylori Facts: What Does This Bacteria Cause?

H-pylori is one of the biggest and most disturbing stomach illnesses that is living inside of half of the population today. Some people came in contact with the bacteria as a young child and have never noticed it living in their bodies until they’ve become sick in their adult years.

The symptoms that are associated with h-pylori are compared to IBS & gastritis. 

If you are a person that suffers from occasional or constant stomach pain or discomfort and if you know for sure that you have an ulcer then please read further. 

My only hope is that you find the best foods that will end all of your symptoms.  

What Is H-Pylori?

H-Pylori, known as Helicobacter Pylori and previously Campylobacter Pylori is a bacteria found in the stomach. These germs live in the digestive tract and cause inflammation and other serious conditions years later.

The body uses acid to digest food. If acid enters the stomach it would cause peptic ulcers. The lining of the stomach normally blocks any acid from entering. This is to protect the body.

When H-Pylori bacteria enters the stomach, it destroys the lining of the stomach making an entrance available for acid to enter. From this point forward a person would begin to feel very sick and would begin to experience symptoms leading to a doctor’s visit.

How Do You Get It?

H-Pylori spreads through saliva, contaminated food & water, and in unsanitary places. It is most common in countries or communities that lack clean water.

People who are currently living with the disease can easily pass it to another person through kissing or through other bodily fluids. The bacteria can also be found on utensils. Individuals who travel overseas have a higher chance of being exposed to the bacteria as well.

When Does H-Pylori Symptoms Start?

The bacteria usually live in the body for many years before causing symptoms. Symptoms come and go. You feel it more when your stomach is empty. You’ll feel much better as soon as you eat.

Most people have been living with h-pylori their whole life or since childhood. These people never develop signs or symptoms. According to Very Well Health, H-Pylori is found in about 50% of the world’s population and over 80% of individuals experience no symptoms at all.

The only way to know for sure is by getting tested and watching for signs of infection which are:

  • heartburns (especially in the beginning stage)
  • upper stomach pain or swelling
  • nausea
  • lost of appetite
  • unexpected weight loss

If an ulcer is present you may also experience:

  • bloody stools (can also be dark red or black)
  • trouble breathing
  • dizzy spells or fainting
  • fatigue
  • pale skin
  • sharp stomach pains
  • blood in vomit or something like coffee grounds

How To Prevent H-pylori?

These steps seem pretty simple:

  • wash your hands after using the bathroom and before cooking or preparing food
  • avoid contaminated food and drinks
  • avoid raw foods or foods that aren’t cooked thoroughly
  • avoid unsanitized people
  • avoid unsanitized areas

How Is H-Pylori Treated?

Currently, there’s not a cure to rid symptoms without treatment alone. Completing treatment will definitely improve symptoms within a few weeks.

It takes a combination of four different kinds of medicines, including two different types of antibiotics, to fully treat the h-pylori infection. H-pylori is treated with two kinds of antibiotics to prevent the bacteria from becoming resistant to the medications. Acid suppressors and blockers are used to coat and heal the lining of the stomach. 

Treatment lasts 1-2 weeks. Once treatment is completed your physician will schedule a 2nd test to make sure treatment was successful. All symptoms will end if the treatment did work.

If treatment was unsuccessful then your physician will begin a 2nd treatment to include a new combination of medications. The antibiotics will most likely be swapped out with another kind. The patient will repeat treatment for another 7-14 days. The medications could make a person become sicker. 

Here is a list of medicines used to treat the infection that’s caused by h-pylori:

  • antibiotics – (amoxicillin, clarithromycin (Biaxin), metronidazole (Flagyl), tetracycline (Sumycin), & tinidazole (Tindamax).
  • acid reducers – (Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix, & Aciphex. 
  • bismuth – a medicine that works along with the antibiotics.
  • acid blocker – (Tagamet, Pepcid, Axid, & Zantac)

Two of the prescribed medications will come from the antibiotics group. A person going through treatment could take up to 14-20 pills per day.  

The combination of the above medications has been the only way to successfully treat H-Pylori. There are many people who experience difficulties during treatment due to the number of pills they’re having to take per day.

The side effects of taking the medications for treatment are – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark stools, and headache. If treatment becomes unbearable then your physician may rearrange the medicines or may subtract one – depending on which could be causing the most discomfort. 

Be sure to speak with your physician about any side effects you may have from the medications. 

Is Treatment Worth The 14-day Antibiotic Side Effect?

Yes. It’s impossible to heal without medications. Researchers are still trying to find the cause and an effective cure for the infection.

For individuals who have recurrent conditions would be referred to have further testing done through an upper endoscopy. Biopsies of the stomach are also performed during testing as well. 

Your physician will test tissue samples to find out exactly which medicine would kill the bacteria.

Does H-Pylori Cause Stomach Cancer?

H-pylori does, in fact, cause stomach cancer if it is left untreated. We know that h-pylori also causes gastric ulcers as well. H-pylori is the highest risk factor for stomach cancer and is the 2nd leading cause deaths that is related to cancer.

H-pylori gets deep into the stomach lining and causes severe damage.  The reason this bacteria has lived so long in one’s body is because it has the power to stop the immune system from recognizing and eliminating it. 

It’s best to catch it while it’s early and before the infection becomes fatal. Cancer spreads and it spreads quickly, this is something that you’ll want to keep an eye on. 

One way to lessen your chances of getting stomach cancer is by monitoring your diet and including more fruits, vegetables, and fiber. 

Has Anyone Gotten Better After The 14-day Antibiotics Treatment For H-Pylori? 

Patients do benefit from treatment. There are not many recurrent cases out for the infection which is a good thing. 

I would like to share my personal experience which came out good. After receiving treatment, I no longer have those terrible symptoms – inflammation, upper stomach pain, sudden weight loss, IBS symptoms, ulcer symptoms, hungry but full at two bites, feeling worse when hungry, constantly belching, and heartburns. 

I was living with h-pylori for a year before finally making a decision to set an appointment with my family physician. I had been feeling sick to my stomach every single day for 1-year. Once I began to lose weight and it became hard to gain it back is when I thought it was time to see a doctor.

My physician told me that it sounds like I have an ulcer but because I’ve been sick for a long time, she wanted to test for h-pylori. At the time I had no idea what this was or ever heard of it. 

The test came back positive. My physician called me back in to discuss my treatment and to schedule an endoscopy for further testing. She wrote prescriptions for four different types of medications that I had to take 4- times per day for the next two weeks.

During the first week, I had an endoscopy performed and it went well. My cancer results were negative which was a reliever. I made sure to continue my treatment thereafter. 

During treatment, I was sick as hell. Well, I’ve become sicker. I plead and cried for help to the family. My physician told me to “hang in there”, the medicines were fighting off the infection which is why I was feeling worse. 

After two weeks I went back in for a check-up and to retest to make sure that the infection has left. At this time my symptoms have improved and were nearly gone. The test came back negative. 

My symptoms have continued to disappear for the next few weeks. This doesn’t mean that everything was getting back to normal. Everything I ate aggravated my stomach causing IBS symptoms and bloating. A lot of times I would feel nausea and other times I would experience diarrhea. 

I did a lot of research on IBS and gastritis. I found that many individuals suffer from these conditions due to their eating habits.

Low FODMAP Diet

During my research, I also read about the low FODMAP diet method. The FODMAP diet contains a list of foods to avoid and foods to include in your diet if you may suffer from IBS or gastritis symptoms. You don’t have to be diagnosed with these diseases to follow this diet. The goal is to eat a low amount of foods that are listed in the FODMAP group. Some foods may have to be eliminated because the body doesn’t accept it at all. 

I have found that cutting some of the foods out of my diet completely has greatly improved my stomach conditions. I have also been able to manage my conditions and haven’t experienced any inflammation or any other discomfort for so long now. 

It took me several months to figure out what to eat and how to grocery shop for the foods that weren’t making me sick. 

FODMAP Defined

FODMAP stands for:

Fermentable (broken down) bacteria.

Oligosaccharides (a few sugars)

Disaccharides ( two sugars)

Monosaccharides (one sugar)

Polyols (sugar alcohols) 

When foods in this group are poorly absorbed in high amounts this can lead to symptoms of gas, constipation, pain, and diarrhea.

You’ll start by identifying the foods that need to be either eliminated from your diet or should have limitation. Here’s a list of foods to give a better idea of what foods you should watch out for when creating your low FODMAP diet. 

  • Fructose – includes fruits, honey, & high fructose syrup
  • Lactose – dairy
  • Fructans – wheat, onion, & garlic
  • Galactans – beans, lentils, and legumes (soy)
  • Polyols – sweeteners containing sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, & stone fruits (avocados, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, & plums)

There are many more foods on the list. These foods cause issues in the small and large intestine sending additional fluids to the bowel. This creates an abnormal digestive system because food doesn’t get digested properly and is attacked by the bacteria. It is best to cut out the problem foods for at least 3-8 weeks and then later reintroduce the foods back in the body to see if things have changed.

I’ve tried this and have found that I am unable to reintroduce some foods as my body doesn’t tolerate them still. I love spicy foods which made my conditions worse during the time I was sick. After sticking to a low FODMAP diet, I am now able to eat jalapeno’s, hot sauce, and other spicy ingredients that I wasn’t able to eat before.

You’ll have to test all the foods that you are currently eating and also the ones that are on the list to see which one your body reacts to. The goal is to find the foods that is causing the most discomfort without taking out everything you eat. 

Foods I’m Unable To Tolerate After Experiencing H-pylori And Successfully Completing Treatment 

It’s been four years since I completed treatment and although my stomach is doing much better I still have to watch the way I eat. Some ingredients still don’t digest well in my body and I will become sick with symptoms of inflammation and irritable bowels right after I eat. It usually takes close to a week for me to turn back to normal after eating something bad. 

Foods/products to cut loose:

  • onions (white, red, yellow)
  • vegetable oil (butter, pastries, canned goods, pasta, processed foods & drinks,)
  • dairy (vitamin D milk, ice cream, butter, cheese)
  • cereal
  • grape jelly
  • gluten
  • fast foods
  • beef

The thing about it is, you must read the ingredients on everything you eat and drink for the fact that brands can carry the same kind of product but will differ in ingredients.

For example, I’m unable to tolerate ice cream as I did before I got sick. I am not lactose intolerant but after experiencing the h-pylori virus my stomach has become sensitive over dairy products. But for some reason, I am able to eat Kroger’s brand ice cream with no problems at all. 

Here’s another one. Several cereal brands have caused me diarrhea and bloating like Cinnamon Toast Crunch which contains soy lecithin, an ingredient that disturbs the gut very well. Many cereal brands also contain gluten and of course fructose which has been my top stomach killers. I am able to eat rice krispies cereal and any corn cereal just fine. 

I used to eat onions with most of my meals but now I am only able to tolerate spring onions. In the beginning, I would cut the white ends off and just ate the green part but now I am able to eat all of it. The other onions (white, red, yellow) causes me hell and I had no choice but to learn how to eat without them. 

I have substituted grape jelly for strawberry jelly. Also, I don’t eat many grapes. Purple grapes are fine but I can’t eat much of them. 

I cook with canola oil instead of vegetable oil. Canola oil has given me positive experiences. I also use it when baking cakes.

Maruchan Ramen Noodles were good at keeping me bloated for a week straight. They also contain gluten. 

I hardly eat processed snacks anymore and since I’ve lessened this habit my body now craves for healthy foods and snacks. Anytime I think of eating candy or a Little Debbie snack my mind & body automatically feels disgusted.

I’ve added a daily shake routine using my favorite fruits (strawberries & bananas) and coconut-almond mixed milk. This mixture soothes my stomach so good and it’s a great way to receive those nutrients as well.  

I still eat beef but not much. I notice the difference whenever I eat large amounts of beef. It keeps me full and a little bloated for a couple of days.

Fast Foods can harm your stomach at any given time. You never know how your food is being prepared and what ingredients are thrown in it. My favorites and most tolerated restaurants & fast food places are – Subway, Newk’s, Whataburger, Burger Street, Chic-Fil-A, Razoo’s, & Olive Garden. 

It takes time to find the foods that are okay for you to eat. Try not to stress yourself out during this process. Just look at it as you’re making changes to better your life by building a stronger core.  

How To Test For H-pylori?

Can I Test Myself For H-pylori?

There’s not a reliable way to test yourself for the bacteria. You must know and understand the symptoms. See a doctor immediately if you’re in pain or have suddenly lost a lot of weight. 

Tests Performed

  • blood test
  • breath test
  • stool test
  • scope test

Blood tests will show an active infection as well as a previous infection from h-pylori.

Before performing a breath test, you are given either a pill or drink (solution). You are to blow in a bag after the solution has settled. H-pylori is shown when the solution is released into the body whenever you exhale into the bag. This would be the initial test.  

A stool test is the best and most reliable test out. It gives accurate results. H-pylori is found in the stool through foreign proteins (antigens).

A scope (endoscopy) test is required when further testing is needed. The physician will perform a biopsy and test for stomach cancer or other abnormalities as well. 

Best Home Remedies That Cures H-pylori

There’s not a natural remedy that would cure or treat h-pylori. There may be ways to manage side effects. I found a group of natural remedies listed in Water For Health  Proven Natural Remedy article. These ingredients have been used to manage the h-pylori infection but there is no data to show any successful results.

Here are the natural ingredients:

  • mastic gum – found in 1998; contains antimicrobial agents
  • probiotics – to maintain healthy bacteria in the stomach
  • n-acetylcysteine (NAC) – a biofilm disrupter; kills the area where bacteria lives
  • broccoli sprouts – a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier
  • matula herbal tea – protects the lining of the stomach & kills bacteria
  • manula honey – has anti-microbial benefits
  • black seed – an anti-inflammatory & anti-microbial agent; favorited in Asia

I recommend getting professional treatment to make sure the infection disappears and to avoid further complications that are caused by the bacteria itself. 

Maintain A Healthy Digestive System

Be sure to add more healthy foods than bad in your diet. Pay attention to the listed ingredients in foods and drinks and watch out for signs of IBS, gastritis, and ulcers after eating. 

Dealing with h-pylori can be a frustrating task. Keep a journal on hand if you have troubles keeping up with the ingredients and list of foods.

Please keep up with regular doctor visits and routines to keep your conditions under control. 

I am available to discuss symptoms and to offer my advice anytime.

Please contact me by sending a message or email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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