Helicobacter Pylori Treatment Options
H. pylori is a bacteria that lives in the stomach and small intestine.
It has a unique way of adapting to the highly acidic environment of the stomach.
Although the stomach produces highly concentrated gastric juice which readily digest food or kill microorganisms, H. Pylori has a unique ability to dig itself into the protective lining of the stomach mucosal.
Unfortunately, low levels of stomach acid increase the chance of this bacteria surviving.
This may be one of the more serious side effects of the popularly prescribed medicines for excess stomach acid.
We now have a national epidemic of people suffering with digestive problems.
These same medicines that are suppose to decrease or worse STOP the production of acid, may be exactly what the H. Pylori bug needs to survive.
Once H. pylori is safe in the mucus, it is able to fight the stomach acid that does reach it with an enzyme it possesses called urease. Urease converts urea, of which there is an abundant supply in the stomach (from saliva and gastric juices), into bicarbonate and ammonia, which are strong bases.
This creates a cloud of acid-neutralizing chemicals around the H. pylori, protecting it from the acid in the stomach. The breath test method of diagnosis relies on this reaction being present.
Contributing to the protection of H. pylori is the fact that the body's natural defenses cannot reach the bacterium in the mucus lining of the stomach.
How H. Pylori is Transmitted
H. pylori is believed to be transmitted orally.
Many researchers believe that H, pylori is transmitted orally by means of fecal matter through the ingestion of waste-tainted food or water.
Complication of Untreated H pylori
About 550,000 new cases of stomach cancer each year are attributable to Helicobacter pylori.
Tests to Detect H. Pylori
Besides the standard blood test, the following two tests should be considered
An ELISA method is used to measure serum IgG antibodies to Helicobacter pylori.
The Urea Breath Test is a cost effective, non-invasive, highly accurate 15-minute test to detect Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. Importantly, the Urea Breath Test detects active infection, and in contrast to blood serology tests, doesn't produce false positives results due to previous infection. The Urea Breath Test detects very low levels of H. pylori colonization and assesses the entire gastric mucosa. This patient friendly breath test provides definitive answers to rule out H. pylori infection.
The Premier Platinum HpSA, an enzyme immunoassay for the detection of Helicobacter pylori antigens in human stool, cleared by the FDA and CE-marked, is now widely used in many countries, as a valuable tool for the H.pylori patients' management
Action Steps to Treat and Eliminate H. Pylori
It is not recommended to treat H Pylori with a single medication so combination therapy should always be used. There are a number of combination therapies in common use e.g. dual, triple and quadruple, but at this time the most proven effective treatment is a 2-week course of triple therapy.
FDA Approved Treatments
Traditional "triple therapy", consisting of colloidal bismuth (found in the U.S. in OTC substances such as Pepto Bismol), tetracycline and metronidazole has resulted in 60-95% eradication of H. pylori.
In a Chinese study, administration of 300 mg berberine three times daily for six weeks resulted in suppression of H. pylori in at least 40 percent of a group of peptic ulcer patients.
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