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H. pylori: Is it harmful? And what is its treatment?

H. pylori infection

H. pylori is a common type of bacteria that grows in the digestive system and enters the body through the mouth, attacking the stomach lining.

According to global statistics, approximately 60% of the world’s adult population is infected with these bacteria, but there is no need to worry, as most of it is harmless, but sometimes it can cause ulcers in the stomach and intestines.

The stomach lining protects the stomach from the acid that is secreted from the stomach cells. When it is attacked, the acid can easily penetrate it, causing inflammation that may reach ulcers.

Causes of H. pylori infection

The mechanism of transmission of H. pylori is still unknown, but it is believed that the infection is transmitted from one person’s mouth to another or from feces to the mouth, and it can also occur when a person does not wash his hands thoroughly after using the bathroom.

Children are more susceptible to H. pylori infection, but it can also infect adults.

Living conditions play a role in the risk of infection, such as:

  • Being in crowded places.
  • Sharing housing with people have H. pylori 
  • Living in difficult and unsanitary living conditions.
  • Water Pollution.

Symptoms of H. pylori infection

Most infections with H. pylori do not show any symptoms, but the infection may lead to ulcers, and in this case, symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain, especially if the stomach is empty, and this pain decreases when taking antacid medication
  • Excessive belching
  • Feeling bloated
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Fever
  • Anorexia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Pale skin
  • Bloody or black stools
  • Coffee grounds like vomiting 

If you experience these symptoms, and they persist for a long time, you should see your doctor.

What are the complications of H. pylori infection?

H. pylori can lead to peptic ulcers by destroying its protective lining, but the infection or the ulcer itself can lead to more serious complications. These include:

  • Internal bleeding: It occurs when a peptic ulcer penetrates the blood vessels and is accompanied by anemia.
  • Stomach obstruction
  • Perforation: occurs when an ulcer penetrates the stomach wall.
  • Peritonitis: An infection of the membrane surrounding the intestine, or the lining of the abdominal cavity.
  • Stomach cancer: Studies have indicated that people with stomach germs are more likely to develop stomach cancer.

How are H. pylori diagnosed?

There are several ways to diagnose stomach germs, including:

  • Blood test
  • Stool test
  • Breathing test
  • Endoscope
  • Barium test
  • CT scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Fecal occult blood test.

How are H. pylori diagnosed?

There are several ways to diagnose stomach germs, including:

  • Blood test
  • Stool test
  • Breathing test
  • Endoscope
  • Barium test
  • CT scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Fecal occult blood test.

How is H. pylori infection treated?

Treating H. pylori infection depends on two main axes: lifestyle changes and drug therapy.

The first axis of the treatment of stomach germs: changing the lifestyle

Doctors advise quitting the causes of irritation of the stomach lining, including smoking, alcohol consumption, spicy foods and acidic drinks, which reduce the effectiveness of drug treatment.

The second axis of the treatment of stomach germs: drug therapy

Drug treatment helps eliminate infection and heal ulcers and also has an important role in preventing the risk of stomach cancer.

For the treatment of H. pylori, it is preferable to use two or three types of antibiotics to kill the bacteria; In anticipation of resistance to a particular antibiotic.

In addition to antibiotics, antacids are used to reduce the acidity of the stomach and thus facilitate the healing of inflammation.

If two types of antibiotics are used with a type of antacid called triple therapy, and if three types of antibiotics are used with a type of antacid it is called quadruple therapy.

The use of drug treatment for H. pylori is done after consulting a doctor and making sure of the presence of germs in the stomach through one of the tests we mentioned earlier.

Prevention of H. pylori infection

Preventing H. pylori or even any other bacteria is not difficult, all we have to do is follow the following:

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water before using the bathroom and before eating.
  • Make sure to clean all the foods you eat and cook them thoroughly.
  • Make sure your drinking water is safe and clean.

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