Hello, everyone! Welcome to the Restorative Health Solutions blog. Today, we are going to talk about a very common bacteria that can wreak havoc in the upper gastrointestinal tract (stomach, top portions of your small intestine). Helicobacter Pylori or “H. Pylori” as it is famously known as.
H. Pylori is a gram negative bacteria found in the top section of the GI tract. This bacteria is said to be present in about 50% of the world’s population. The bacteria has been evolving in humans for well over 50,000 years, since it migrated out of Africa.
How Do You Get H. Pylori?
Some sources state that the exact way H. Pylori transmits is unclear. However, other sources state that fecal contamination, oral-to-oral and family inter-infection are the common modes of transmission.
H. Pylori is commonly acquired in childhood. Most people who have H. Pylori are asymptomatic, but others can have significant symptoms.
What are the common symptoms of H. Pylori?
- Indigestion (Dyspepsia)
- Abdominal pain
- Chronic gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms
- Acid reflux/heartburn
In the early phases of H. Pylori, patients may experience low amounts of stomach acid called hypochlorhydria. The stomach acid is called hydrochloric acid or HCL. HCL is made by the parietal cells in the stomach and allows you to breakdown proteins and digest them properly. If there isn’t enough HCL, proteins are not digested well and are clumped together, which can contribute to a host of symptoms.
What are the common symptoms of low stomach acid (HCL)?
- Excessive belching, burping or bloating
- Gas immediately following a meal
- Offensive breath
- Constipation or difficult bowel movements
- Sense of fullness during and after meals
- Difficulty digesting proteins and meats, which can cause undigested food in stools
- Acid reflux/heartburn
How Do I Test for H. Pylori?
There are many methods for H. Pylori testing. Traditionally, endoscopy with biopsy and the urease test are used as the “gold standard” for detecting H. Pylori.
We prefer a PCR method used in a stool test to look for H. Pylori. PCR has been proven to be superior to other methods and has shown sensitivity and specificity reaching that of the “gold standard” mentioned above.
How Do I Get Rid of H. Pylori?
Medically, antibiotics are typically used to address H. Pylori since it is a type of bacteria.
In the functional medicine world, the following ingredients are typically used in a supplement to address H. Pylori:
- Mastic Gum Extract
- Bismuth Citrate
- Zinc Carnosine
No matter what approach is used to address a positive H. Pylori test, retesting to make sure it is gone is most important. H. Pylori can be stubborn at times, so we are big believers in retesting to make sure it is no longer present so we can move onto the next phase of care. We use the PCR stool test, which is easy to retest just the H. Pylori portion of the panel.
Just remember that the gut functions on a hierarchy system. It works from the top-down. If the stomach isn’t functioning optimally due to low stomach acid caused by H. Pylori, we have to address that to make sure everything downhill from the stomach can also benefit.
For a more in-depth explanation of how the gut works from a top-down approach, click here to read a blog article about that topic.
In our experience, H. Pylori is very overlooked and missed in a lot of cases. If H. Pylori is present and is properly addressed, it can help naturally improve stomach acid levels. This then leads to improving digestion of food proteins, decreasing inflammation related to foods not being properly broken down and also provides some protection from bacterial overgrowth or foreign invaders being able to get through the GI tract.
What Can Restorative Health Solutions Do For You?
At Restorative Health Solutions, we strive to get to the root cause of the symptoms/condition and help patients reach their optimal health. We also guarantee to replace the one-size-fits-all approach with a personalized plan for YOU! If you or a loved one is having any digestive issues/symptoms or is interested in getting a thorough and complete work-up, we’d be happy to help. To schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with one of the doctors, please call 952-479-7801 or CLICK HERE to fill out our contact form.