Helicobacter pylori infection

Helicobacter pylori is a stomach infection. It is classified as a microaerophilic bacterium. It is responsible for most cases of peptic ulcers. This bacteria existence in the human body is very common. 20% people of the age of 40 are affected by this where almost 50% of people over 60 have it this bacterium. One half of the people of the world harbor this bacterium in them. Usually majority of the people affected with H.pylori does not demonstrate any obvious syndrome. However, some may develop unusual indigestion problems and in severe cases stomach cancer. How this bacterium gets transmitted is unknown, but scientists have found traces of the bacteria in the salvia so it could be passed on through oral activities such as sneezing, kissing etc.

Helicobacter pylori is considered to be one of the most widespread bacterium ever, covering almost one half of the entire world population. The presence of the bacterium is much higher in third world countries rather than western world. The level of presence of the virus largely depends on socioeconomics rather than race. Usually developing countries have poor sanitation system thus the bacterium has a better chance of spreading. Developed world are more hygienic also has a good practice of taking antibiotics.

The exact cause for transmitting Helicobacter pylori bacteria is still not clear. Scientists have found traces of it in feces and saliva. Usually the bacteria spreads between family or a close community, but the bacteria in the feces may contaminate the water supply thus affecting a large amount of people. That is why hygiene is so important when it comes to preventing Helicobacter pylori.

Scientists have established that this bacterium has been with mankind ever since the modern human was evolved in East Africa. Geographical patterns indicate that the existence of the bacteria decreases with the length away from East Africa. Although many scientists almost came across discovering the bacterium around the 19th century, it wasn’t until 1979 that the breakthrough happened in Perth, Australia. The bacterium was first officially discovered by Dr. Barry J. Marshall and Dr. J. Robin Warren. This particular work won them the Noble Price in Medicine and Physiology.

There are not much visible symptoms for Helicobacter pylori because it is asymptomatic. But if the bacterium causes ulcers there can be a number of symptoms. Such as abdominal pain, nausea, feeling stuffed, after petit meal, very dark colored feces, bloating etc. The presence of Helicobacter pylori in the body may jumble up stomach’s function which may lead to cancer.

Usually when ulcer occurs, at the preliminary stage doctor suggests a small doze of proton pumps, omeprazole along with some antibiotic. A study shows that consuming lactic acid can help reduce the effect of Helicobacter pylori. A cup of yoghurt after lunch and dinner is all it takes to prevent this bacterium from causing any severe harm.

A vaccination to prevent Helicobacter pylori is underway and is on the preliminary stage. It has shown a great deal of effectiveness against the bacterium but requires further study. But scientists have confirmed that broccoli sprouts help reduce the bacteria’s activity by 40%. A study in Korea also shows that due to the presence of bacterium strain in kimchi, it can fight against Helicobacter pylori and decrease its effectiveness by 40 to 60%.

Anyone diagnosed with this bacterium should be treated to make sure it does not take any serious form such as ulcers. Usually the doctor prescribes some oral medications that need to be consumed for 2 to 4 weeks. After the course is over the termination of the bacteria can be verified by a stool or breath test.

Last updated on Jul 31st, 2010 and filed under Digestive Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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